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Small-dollar children’s savings accounts and children's college outcomes by race

Author(s): 
Friedline, Terri
Nam, Ilsung
Project(s): 
Children's Savings Account
Publication type: 
Journal Article

This is paper three of four in the Small-Dollar Children Accounts series that studies the relationship between children's small dollar savings accounts and college enrollment and graduation. The series 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 dosage (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 for school more predictive of college enrollment or graduation than having basic undesignated savings alone? Using propensity score weighted data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its supplements we created multi-treatment dosages of savings accounts and amounts to answer these questions separately for black (n = 404) and white (n = 453) children. White children's savings are not significantly related to their college outcomes. Differently, compared to black children without savings accounts, black children are three times more likely to enroll in college when they have school savings of less than $1 and six times more likely when they have school savings of $1 to $499. Further, black children with school savings of $1 to $499 are four times more likely to graduate from college and black children with school savings of $500 or more are three-and-a-half times more likely to graduate from college, compared to those with no savings account. We suggest Child Development Accounts (CDAs) may be a promising tool for helping black children get to and through college.

Citation: 

Freidline, T., Elliott, W., and Nam, I. (2013). Small-dollar children’s savings accounts and children's college outcomes by race. Children and Youth Services Review, 35 (3), p. 548-559. 

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