What does your child dream of? Last month, in a vibrant classroom filled with eager second grade students, I heard a bustling chorus of students shout, “Doctor! Teacher! Police officer!” as they were encouraged to share their own answers. It was a moment charged with excitement, and I felt hopeful knowing that we had just brought these P.S. 169 Sunset Park School students one step closer to making their dreams a reality.
Together with school communities across the five boroughs, we were celebrating NYC Scholarship Month, the first opportunity for new families in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program to activate and view their children’s new NYC Scholarship Accounts, each funded with an initial $100 seed investment for college and career training. This month, nearly 75,000 students received their accounts, increasing the number of families who now have a financial asset for their child’s college and career future to more than 200,000 students, with nearly $30 million invested across their NYC Scholarship Accounts.
The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a community tool New Yorkers can use to build wealth in their neighborhoods and support the college and career dreams of their children, no matter their family income or immigration status.
If you have a kindergartner, first grader, or second grader in a Brooklyn public school, or at any public school, including participating charter schools, in the city, this financial asset is ready for you.
Building Block 1: Activate and view your child’s NYC Scholarship Account online.
Visit nyckidsrise.org/activate and click “Activate Account” to go to the online Savings Tracker, create a profile, and fill out the introductory Survey. Families will need their child’s nine-digit Student ID Number, date of birth, a current ZIP code, and email address. After the account is activated, NYC Kids RISE will add a $25 reward toward your child’s NYC Scholarship Account.
Building Block 2: Open and connect your own college and career savings account.
Open a college and career savings account of your own, and connect it to your child’s NYC Scholarship Account, and NYC Kids RISE will add another $25 reward toward your child’s NYC Scholarship Account. Families can open a NY 529 Direct Plan Account or an Amalgamated Save for College Bank Account.
Building Block 3: Make your first deposit.
Put at least $5 into your child’s connected college and career savings account outlined in Building Block 2, and NYC Kids RISE will add another $25 reward toward your child’s NYC Scholarship Account.
After families have completed the three fundamental building blocks, they, along with their community and NYC Kids RISE, can keep saving together over time. Beginning on a child’s first day of first grade until the last day of fifth grade, NYC Kids RISE will match the money a family deposits into their connected college and career savings account dollar-for-dollar, up to a maximum of $100, in their child’s NYC Scholarship Account. Members of the community can also contribute to a set of children’s accounts through Community Scholarships.
We know how much this matters: research suggests that children with a college savings account of just $1 to $500 are three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate. This signifies an investment in the financial and social resiliency of families and neighborhoods and provides a new way to drive financial assets toward communities that have been systematically excluded from wealth-building opportunities.
Students can use NYC Scholarship Account money for their future education—for qualified education-related expenses, including at eligible two-and-four-year colleges, trade and vocational schools, eligible apprenticeship programs, and online degree programs across the country (the scholarship funds can be used for tuition, fees, equipment, some room-and-board expenses, and even textbooks, which are often not covered by other scholarships).
Debra-Ellen Glickstein is the Founding Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE.