Starting this Fall, DeKalb County Promise is expanding their focus, offering financial incentives for families enrolling children in 529 career savings accounts through grade 12. This means that once families enroll a child, age 4 through grade 12, in a 529 career savings account, the community will make the first deposit of $25. When children raise $25 to match that initial deposit, through family members or champions who believe in them, the community will deposit an additional $75 into their 529 career savings accounts.
According to Melanie Beer, DeKalb County Promise Coordinator at the Community Foundation, “we will be partnering with all DeKalb County schools for on-site enrollment at a variety of back-to-school events that have been identified by each of the schools.” Parents/guardians may also e-mail Promise@CFDeKalb.org to find out when Promise representatives will be present at their child’s school and to receive the bi-monthly DeKalb County Promise newsletter to keep them informed.
“Most Indiana counties focus on grades K-3, but DeKalb County has been working on this much bigger vision. We found that the community, our donors, and our schools were behind supporting all students. We always intended to demonstrate that we believe in every student once we were up and running, and we are ready to expand through grade 12. Think of it like a small scholarship, but for every student in the county who enrolls,” said Matt Bechdol, Board President of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County, the convening organization.
These dollars come from a student account fund for new Promise students, held by Community Foundation DeKalb County as the convener for DeKalb County Promise. Children then have a minimum balance of $125 in their 529 career savings accounts to add to and grow over time. Any gains on these accounts are tax-free to families, and Indiana offers a 20% tax credit for families’ deposits.
The University of Kansas cited three measures of success associated with students who have career savings accounts.
- They are 60% more likely to graduate from high school.
- Low- and moderate-income youth with an account balance of just $1-499 are three times more likely to attend some post-high school training, and 4 times more likely to graduate.
- Of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunch, simply having a Promise Indiana 529 account was related to higher reading and math scores.