Children's Savings Account (CSA)
AEDI’s research has helped to make the case for asset investments in children’s educational attainment, as a lever with which to catalyze upward mobility. Today, policymakers, funders, advocates, and program practitioners rely on AEDI’s findings regarding the potential for children’s savings to improve outcomes along the educational pipeline, while AEDI’s application of Identity-Based Motivation and its utility for explaining the potency of even small-dollar accounts is informing CSA design. As Children’s Savings Account initiatives gain traction throughout the country, AEDI’s research and consultation with CSA programs continue to make critical contributions to the evolving knowledge base and growing asset constituency. Today, AEDI is actively engaged in Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, Kansas City, and San Francisco, in addition to fielding inquiries and requests for assistance from established and emerging CSA efforts alike. AEDI’s identification of promising research venues has taken a regional approach to scaling and institutionalizing CSAs, modeled on what we have seen take place in the six New England states. This approach also maximizes the efficiency of AEDI’s deployment of resources. While it is impossible for the Center to provide support for all CSA programs, by supporting programs in different regions of the country, advising programs facing critical questions about designing for scale, and asking questions that will help the field as a whole learn from these developments, we hope to see continued growth in the sophistication, progressivity, and fiscal and political viability of CSAs, as a cornerstone of a revitalized economic mobility system. Below, is a brief description of each CSA program where AEDI’s efforts will be concentrated in the coming year, with generous support from key partners, including the Charles S. Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.