Small-dollar accounts, children's college outcomes and wilt

Author(s): 
Song, Hyun-a
Nam, Ilsung
Project(s): 
Children's Savings Account
Publication type: 
Journal Article

This is paper four of four in the Small-Dollar Children's Savings Account series, which studies the relationship between children's small-dollar savings accounts and college enrollment and graduation. This series of papers examines three important research questions using different subsamples: (a) Are children with savings of their own more likely to attend or graduate from college? (b) Does dosage (i.e., having no account, only basic savings, savings designated for school [of less than $1, $1 to $499, or $500 or more]) matte? And (c) is having savings designated for school more predictive than having basic savings alone? In this study we use a sample of children who expect to graduate college prior to leaving high school as a way of looking at wilt. In this study “wilt” occurs when a child who expects to graduate from college while in high school does not graduate college by 2009. Using propensity score weighted data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and its supplements we created multi-treatment dosages of savings accounts and amounts to answer the previous questions. We find that in the aggregate children who expect to graduate college prior to leaving high school (high-expectation children) and who designate savings for school of $500 or more are about two times more likely to graduate college than high-expectation children with no account. High-expectation low- and moderate-income (LMI) children who designate school savings of $1 to $499 and $500 or more are about three times more likely to graduate college than LMI children with no account. Further, high-expectation black children who have school savings of $500 or more are about two and half times more likely to graduate from college than their counterparts with no savings account.

Citation: 

Elliott, W., Song, H-a*, and Nam, I. (2013). Small-dollar accounts, children's college outcomes and wilt. Children and Youth Services Review, 35 (3), p. 535-547.

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.”

Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • 44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
    —ALA
  • 23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times