35,000 LAUSD 1st graders to receive free $50 savings accounts

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- This spring, some 13,000 Los Angeles Unified School District first graders are each set to have $50 deposited for free into a savings account established in their name.

According to Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, the accounts are part of a program called Opportunity L.A. The $50 is a start to help begin saving for college or vocational training after the students graduate from high school.

"A child with a college savings from a dollar to $499 is three times more likely to go to college and four times more likely to graduate," she said. "However, 40% of families do not have $400 in their savings account to even address an emergency, let alone having a savings account to go to college."

Funding for the program comes from the California Student Aid Commission, Mayor Eric Garcetti's budget and Martinez's contribution of over $1 million from her reinvestment funding program.

Here's how it works: the first graders and their families will receive materials to set up the account. Families can make deposits into the account. The funds can only be used for schooling after high school graduation.

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"You see, this is an investment and a vision -- to not just say you're important but to prove it by putting the resources in the pathway in all our zip codes for all of our people," Garcetti said. "This is about racial justice, this is about economic opportunity. This is about a stronger economy and, yes, emerging from this pandemic."

The accounts will be available to students regardless of their parents' income or immigration status.

The rest of the school district's first graders will receive their savings accounts in the fall, bringing the total to just over 35,000 students in the LAUSD participating in the program.
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