The growth and spread of children’s savings accounts in New England
Boston Fed partners with Brandeis University for case study on CSA policy and practice
Children's savings accounts (CSAs)—savings accounts established for children early in life (or at birth) to help them meet the costs of postsecondary education—are becoming increasingly popular among state and municipal policymakers, researchers, philanthropic organizations, and community development professionals alike. According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), by the end of 2016, 313,000 children in 29 states had CSAs and this number continues to grow.
New England is home to rapid growth and innovation in CSA policy and practice. Building on previous academic research, a new case study by Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets & Social Policy tells the story of New England’s collaborative, regional approach to CSA development and innovation. Under the leadership of the Boston Fed’s Regional & Community Outreach Department, stakeholders across New England formed a Consortium in 2014 through which they work together to learn about, develop, and advance CSA policy. Today, all six New England states have taken steps toward adopting large-scale CSA programs.
This type of rapid policy growth is impressive, given the range of programmatic models, the complex and cross-sector nature of CSA design and implementation, and the long-term public and private investment required. This study identifies “the factors that enabled New England leaders to learn from each other and advance CSA policies in their own jurisdictions.” The study also examines the Boston Fed’s role in facilitating the spread of CSA policy in the region, and identifies key takeaways for practitioners, legislators, funders, and community members interested in advancing CSA policy that encourages stakeholders to actively diffuse knowledge and findings from their policy processes to achieve greater impact and scale.
For more information about the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston work on CSAs, click here.