Enhancements to CollegeBoundbabysm partnership with RIHEAA Will Offer Universal Children's Savings Accounts at Birth, Becoming 1 of 3 States Leading Statewide Initiatives Providence, R.I. (December 10, 2014) - Governor-Elect Gina Raimondo, in partnership with the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority (RIHEAA), today announced an effort to help Rhode Island families save and pursue higher education opportunities for their children.
Starting January 1, 2015, it will be easier than ever for Rhode Island families to take advantage of a $100 CollegeBoundbaby Grant. This initiative makes Rhode Island one of only three states in the country to provide universal children's savings accounts.
"Rhode Island families are struggling, and so we are making it easier for them to save for their child's college education," Raimondo said. "To rebuild Rhode Island's middle class, we have to improve access to higher education. This initiative will help level the playing field with a direct investment in every child's future."
CollegeBoundbaby is a program offered through CollegeBoundfund®, the state's 529 plan. Through the newly enhanced CollegeBoundbaby program, parents of newborns check "yes" on their in-hospital Birth Certificate Worksheet to allow the Rhode Island Office of Vital Records to release the necessary contact information to RIHEAA to authorize the CollegeBoundbaby Grant for their child. If a child is adopted by a Rhode Island resident, the adoptive parent may self-enroll their child within the first year of adoption.
The $100 contribution will be held and invested by RIHEAA in a CollegeBoundfund master account on behalf of the child until the child is ready to attend a higher education institution - whether it is a college of trade, technical, or vocational school. The grant and any associated earnings can be withdrawn for the purpose of funding qualified higher education costs.
"The steps we have taken to provide every child born or adopted in Rhode Island with the opportunity for higher education will have a lasting and far reaching impact - strengthening our ability to guide students and families onto a path of college success and a brighter future," said Faith LaSalle, chair of RIHEAA Board of Directors.
Treasurer-Elect Seth Magaziner added, "This is a true example of how the Treasurer's office and other government agencies can work together to help Rhode Island families succeed and save for their future. I look forward to continuing this great work."
Investing in higher education is one of the best ways for Rhode Island to succeed in the future. A strong economy depends on a skilled workforce. Median earnings of college graduates are at a level that is nearly twice as high as that of workers with only a high school degree. People with a college degree are more likely to be employed than those without one, and more likely to be employed in a job that provides quality of health and retirement benefits.
The announcement, held at the Community College of Rhode Island, including Heather Hudson, Treasury's director of financial empowerment; Dr. William Elliott III, an associate professor at the University of Kansas (KU) and founder of the Assets and Education Initiative; Melinda Lewis, LMSW, an associate professor at KU and assistant director of the Assets and Education Initiative; and Margaret Clancy, policy director at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. Also participating were Patricia Roberts, managing director for AllianceBernstein Investments, Anthony Poore, community development manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and Leigh Tivol, senior director of programs for the Corporation for Enterprise Development in Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the newly enhanced CollegeBoundbaby program, please contact RIHEAA at 401-736-1141, via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit collegeboundbaby.com.
About CollegeBoundfund® CollegeBoundfund is Rhode Island's 529 college savings program designed to encourage individuals and families to save and invest for a child's future higher education expenses at an accredited college, university, vocational or trade school. CollegeBoundfund's benefits include low investment minimums to get started, tax-free earnings growth, an annual RI state tax deduction for contributions up to $500 for single filers and up to $1,000 for married couples filing jointly, no annual account fee and a wide range of investment options. The Office of the Rhode Island General Treasurer oversees the plan's investments, which are managed by AllianceBernstein, and sponsored by the Rhode Island Higher Education Assistance Authority. For more information, visit: www.collegeboundfund.com/ri.
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