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Making Education Work for the PoorThe Potential of Children’s Savings Accounts$
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Willliam Elliott and Melinda Lewis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190621568

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190621568.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 June 2021

Children’s Savings Accounts’ Influence on the Opportunity Pipeline

Children’s Savings Accounts’ Influence on the Opportunity Pipeline

5 (p.103) Children’s Savings Accounts’ Influence on the Opportunity Pipeline
Making Education Work for the Poor

Willliam Elliott

Melinda Lewis

Oxford University Press

The rapid proliferation of Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) around the United States has somewhat outpaced research into how early children’s assets influence multiple aspects of children’s lives. As they contend with operational details and the challenges inherent in trying to make disconnected systems cooperate in the interests of children and their families, practitioners in the field often lack nuanced understanding of how a particular incentive might work or what to expect as a benchmark outcome at a specific stage of child development. Their efforts rest, however, on a burgeoning body of research that provides a sense of how CSAs may differ from other forms of financial aid and how these differences could make them powerful tools for facilitating children’s success. According to this research, CSAs are understood to begin working early in a child’s life, thereby affecting not only college affordability but also early preparation and achievement. Also distinct from other financial aid approaches are CSAs’ effects on students’ asset holdings and overall economic positions. When taken together, CSAs demonstrate unique potential to alter both educational and financial outcomes. More specifically, as articulated here, CSAs are understood to affect children at four stages of what we are calling the opportunity pipeline: (a) early childhood, (b) school years, (c) college years, and (d) post-college years. Success in all four stages is crucial to the realization of strong returns on postsecondary educational attainment and the construction of a solid ladder of equitable upward mobility. By introducing the phrase “opportunity pipeline,” we intend to expand the notion of what financial aid really is or, at least, should be. CSAs are an investment in the ideal that every child in America should have an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream. Given education’s role in facilitating equitable chances at economic well-being, we see this as the standard to which financial aid policies should be held.

Keywords:   Promise Indiana, SEED for Oklahoma Kids (SEED OK), common sense test, depression, maternal, early childhood CSAs, educational expectations, children's, opportunity pipelines, social welfare, asset-based

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