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Small-dollar children’s saving accounts and children's college outcomes by income level

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

This is paper two of four in the small-dollar children's savings account series in this issue that examines the relationship between children's small-dollar savings accounts and college enrollment and graduation. This series of papers uses different subsamples to examine three important research questions: (a) Are children with savings of their own more likely to attend or graduate from college; (b) Does dose (no account, only basic savings, savings designated for school of less than $1, $1 to $499, or $500 or more) matter; and (c) Is designating savings for school more predictive than having basic savings alone. Using propensity score weighted data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its supplements we created multi-treatment doses of savings accounts and amounts to answer these questions separately for children from low- and moderate-income (below $50,000; n = 512) and high income ($50,000 or above; n = 345) households. We find that low- and moderate-income children may be more likely to enroll in and graduate from college when they have small-dollar savings accounts with money designated for school. A low- and moderate-income child who has school savings of $1 to $499 prior to reaching college age is over three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate from college than a child with no savings account. These findings lead to policy implications that are also discussed.

Citation: 

Elliott, W., Song, H-a*, and Nam, I. (2013). Small-dollar children’s saving accounts and children's college outcomes by income level. Children and Youth Services Review, 35 (3), p. 560-571.

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