It Takes a Village: The Importance of College Savings Month
We all remember our first day of school. The butterflies. The excitement. Our first step on a journey of discovery and learning away from our families and the familiarity of home. For many of us this moment was the beginning of a path that would lead us to academic achievement and eventually college success.
Along the way we likely had someone in our corner, encouraging us to set goals, to plan ahead and to dream big. A parent, teacher, counselor, coach or even a close friend inspired us to channel our deepest passions and use education to unlock our potential.
Some of us were the first in our families to go to college and may have had to navigate the process on our own. Others may have left their home country for school, taking a leap of faith and immersing themselves in a brand-new culture while holding firm to their values and traditions to guide them along the way. No matter how our journeys began, we remember the friends, family and communities that helped us to make our college dreams a reality.
September is College Savings Month. Across the country, organizations are promoting the importance of saving for college early. For low-income children, especially children of color, paying for college can be a daunting task as tuition costs at public and private universities continue to rise at a faster rate than wages. Getting a head start can make a tremendous difference in a child’s life and set them up for future success. A 2013 research study indicates that children with college savings are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate.
Right now, the 1:1 Fund and its Children’s Savings Account (CSA) partner organizations are holding their #BacktoSchool fundraising campaign. During the week of September 9-13, donations made to 1:1 Fund partners will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500 per donor. These programs do amazing work year-round and with the contributions of donors they can provide more savings incentives to participants each year. Donating directly to children’s education opens the door to new opportunities and helps make college more accessible for them and their families.
So this September, think back to your first day of school. Reflect on the community of people who made your dreams possible and stood by you every step of the way. Remember the sacrifices and guidance that helped mold you into a successful student, graduate and leader in your community. Get involved today and make an impact by spreading the word about College Savings Month using this toolkit for activities and social media or donating to your state or local CSA program. Because when we send our children to college, we help them actualize their potential and make an investment in their future and in our communities.