BOSTON, Mass. - Monday was the first day of school for kindergarteners in Boston public schools and each one got a special gift: $50 in their very own savings account.
The money is meant to get families started saving for college and is part of a citywide program called Boston Saves.
Gosia Tomaszewska manages Boston Saves and said that over 4,000 kindergartners received the seed money. It started as a pilot project three years ago in eleven schools and now covers all public schools in Boston.
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Each student is automatically enrolled in Boston Saves. They can't touch the money until after high school and only for college or other job training. Parents can also earn additional incentive payments.
"They get incentives for linking their accounts. They get incentives for saving regularly," Tomaszewska told WBZ.
The seed money is held at a credit union, but it won't grow for the child. Any interest earned goes back into the program.
Of course, $50 won't even buy most college textbooks, but the goal is something bigger.
"We are giving people a tool and money. But really what we're trying to do is start parents and kids thinking about the future early on," said Tomaszewska. "What is a better way to invest in the future of Boston and Boston families than investing in our kids?"
The cost of Boston Saves is about $200,000 for the city each year. Contributions also come from the private sector and nonprofits.
The state is piloting a similar program that goes statewide next year.