Aspirations for the New Year

Monday, December 22, 2014

What are your resolutions for 2015? We have ambitious goals for what we will accomplish in the new year, as further steps towards our goal of helping to galvanize commitment to children’s asset-building as a transformative intervention and a powerful investment in their futures. We are working on a book about college debt that will provide further weight to our assertions that the student loan program is an indefensibly poor backbone of U.S. financial aid policy. That book will include new empirical evidence from our ongoing analysis of the lasting financial implications of reliance on student loans. We are seeking to include more voices in our work, strengthening the operation of AEDI to better equip ourselves to play needed scholarly and leadership roles in the CSA field, and cultivating promising students who can make contributions to our work. We’re planning for a CSA convening in New England in March, continuing our conversations with Canadian colleagues about additional outgrowth of that collaboration (and co-releasing a policy piece on Canada with our colleagues at New America!), and dialoguing with child support officials around the country exploring Child Support Savings Initiatives. AEDI Faculty Director for the Financial Inclusion Project Terri Friedline will provide key leadership to a local CSA pilot here in Lawrence, and Faculty Director for the Wealth Transfer Project Emily Rauscher’s work will pursue new analysis and its policy implications.

But we look toward 2015 not only with an eye to our own expectations, but also with great hopes for our shared field. We anticipate that the new year will bring new CSA policy progress in at least a few states, and we hope to work with others to ensure that those efforts deliver the outcomes of which we know children’s savings are capable. Congressional action on tax policy may bring opportunities to reform education tax credits, which may, in turn, open up resources to support children’s savings. Continued national attention to inequality and stagnant economic mobility should allow CSA advocates to leverage momentum for these interventions, including, hopefully, new allies. And, of course, we hope that more families around the country will have a chance at a Children’s Savings Account. The promise that CSAs hold for disadvantaged children—and the imperative, then, to get accounts to all—is what drives us every day, this year and in the next.

What do you hope to see in 2015? What are you committed to doing to realize these aspirations? And how can we work with you toward our common goal of children’s savings for all?

 
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New Book Released

Today’s student loan system is in place because of a political compromise, and growing discontent with student debt may signal that this arrangement has run its course. While there are resources and organizations in place to help those struggling with debt, the time has come to consider a new direction for financial aid, William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis argue in “Student Debt: A Reference Handbook.”

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