BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On Monday, Los Angeles officials gathered to announce the launch of the city-wide program called Opportunity L.A. It's a savings account program to prepare first-grade LAUSD students for higher education.
"We now have the largest children's saving account program in the entire nation, right here in L.A.," said Nury Martinez, the Los Angeles City Council president. "Young people will no longer have to be shut out of the ability to attend college due to their socioeconomic status."
According to city officials, the program has now opened 44,363 accounts for first graders across the region.
"I think it is wonderful news, particularly for our highest-needs families in LAUSD," said Maria Brenes, an LAUSD parent.
The students were automatically enrolled in the program, which already includes a $50 deposit.
"While fifty dollars isn't going to gain enough interest to pay for college in ten years, it's a start," said Council President Martinez.
Martinez said, this program comes after launching a pilot in spring 2021 when they did the same thing but for first-grade students in select high-need schools in LA Unified. The program accounts are through Citibank.
"After launching our pilot in the spring, we've seen parents and families step up and make consistent deposits into these saving accounts," said Martinez.
According to officials, there will be additional savings rewards for unhoused first-grade students in the program. And, the County of Los Angeles has been a key partner in funding the program.