CSA Program Spotlight

Texas CSA gives a boost to children

A Texas children’s savings account (CSA) program is making a difference in its community by helping families build college savings and foster pathways toward postsecondary education.

Dollars for College, a CSA program sponsored by Communities Foundation of Texas and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, opens my529 scholarship accounts for participating kindergarten and first grade students in two North Texas school districts. Each scholarship account starts with $50 in seed money, and scholarship accounts link to family-owned my529 accounts set up by parents and guardians online through the my529 platform. Participants can grow savings with opportunities for performance incentives and matching deposits. In addition, the my529 CSA suite provides online access so program administrators can log in, track progress and generate reports. my529 reports make it easy to determine which participants are eligible to receive matching deposits.

Lancaster Independent School District (LISD), the first school district with which Dollars for College collaborated, has a student population “where more than four-fifths of students qualify for subsidized lunches, and where math and science test scores are far below state averages” (edtx.org).

So far, over 80% of Lancaster kindergarteners have scholarship accounts through the CSA program. The families of more than half of those students have opened family-owned accounts. The district is so committed to Dollars for College, the school trustees elected to designate the $50,000 prize from the HEB Academic Excellence Award to support the seed and incentive funds awarded to LISD kindergarten students.

This fall, Dollars for College plans to expand the program to Richardson Independent School District. Both Lancaster and Richardson ISDs were selected for Dollars for College due to their successful implementation of STEM programs funded by the Texas Instrument Foundation, and their strong focus on college/career readiness.

Scholarship account funds with my529 can be used for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, fees, books, supplies, computers, equipment and even internet access. Funds must be used at an eligible educational institution—college, university or technical school—in the United States or abroad that is qualified to participate in federal student aid programs.

For more information about Dollars for College, visit https://portal.cftexas.org/dollars-for-college or email Mark Hamm at Mhamm@unitedwaydallas.org. To learn more about my529 and my529’s CSA platform, email csa@my529.org or call 800.418.2551.