LA City Council approves program to fund student savings accounts

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Students in Los Angeles, city leaders say, will greatly benefit from Opportunity LA's children's savings account.

The LA City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the program.

"I think it's due time that the city of LA expects more. And make sure that every child has access to higher education and a place in our city's future," said LA City Councilman David Ryu.

Ryu and LAUSD educators believe having some sort of college savings is crucial to a student's long-term success.

"We see experiments across the country - none as large as this one. The college rate of those who have invested early is almost three times that of those that don't start thinking about college at the earlier state," LAUSD Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said.

Their research also found children with savings accounts are four times more likely to graduate from college.

First graders enrolled in LAUSD will be automatically enrolled into the program.

They will receive a savings account with $50, regardless of ZIP code or immigration status.

And over the course of time, students can earn additional savings through matching funds programs and incentives like perfect attendance or good grades.

The pilot program will roll out next school year, covering 10% of the city's first graders.

The program is fully funded for the first two years through state and federal grants.

But after that - things could get tricky.

With an estimated 40,000 first graders in the LA school district, providing savings accounts will cost the already underfunded district roughly $2 million every year.

City leaders are hoping to get private donor support.
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