News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

College Savings Program helps students achieve dreams

The Oregon College Savings Plan (OCSP), a program of the Oregon State Treasury, is celebrating the success of its community outreach programs, Baby Grad and Kinder Grad. Launched in 2018 and 2019, respectively, these initiatives have been instrumental in encouraging Oregon families to begin saving for their children’s educational futures by incentivizing them to open an OCSP account. 

On Aug. 1, OCSP announced that these programs have collectively led to the opening of more than 17,000 accounts for Oregon children, with $146 million saved for higher education expenses.

Baby Grad and Kinder Grad offer Oregon families a $25 incentive to sign up for an OCSP account before their child’s first birthday or when their Kindergartner is 5 or 6 years old. By providing this financial encouragement, the programs aim to foster a culture of saving for higher education and empower families to plan ahead for their children’s future success. 

The average account balance now stands at $8,548, highlighting the substantial progress families have made in building a strong financial foundation for their children’s higher education aspirations.

Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read lauded the success of the programs, saying, “I am always thrilled when we can support more Oregon kids getting started on the way to achieving their educational aims. Baby Grad and Kinder Grad are unleashing all kinds of Oregon talent, and that’s a good investment for everyone.”

According to research by Washington University in St. Louis, students with a college savings account are 2.5 times more likely to go to college than those with nothing set aside, no matter the account balance.

Baby Grad and Kinder Grad were designed with these findings in mind and to encourage families to start saving early, giving their child’s account more time to grow, tax-free. When a new OCSP account is opened for an Oregon Kindergartener, or an Oregon baby prior to their first birthday, $25 is automatically contributed to their account. Anyone can open the account, but only the first account to list the child as the beneficiary will receive the contribution.

“We believe in the power of small incentives to ignite big ambitions,” said Ryan Mann, Executive Director of the Oregon Treasury Savings Network. “By offering a modest $25 incentive, we can nudge families towards the path of saving for education and training. But it’s not about the money; it’s about planting the seeds of possibility and empowering Oregon’s kids to pursue their dreams.”

The success of Baby Grad and Kinder Grad follows a year of strong performance, which brought in more than $261 million in contributions to nearly 135,000 accounts from across the state, ending 2022 with $2.58 billion in assets under management.

The Oregon College Savings Plan (OCSP) is a program of the Oregon State Treasury that helps families save for future education expenses. OCSP offers a range of investment options and tax benefits to help savers prepare for the costs of education and training after high school. Savings grow tax-free and can be used to pay for trade school, college, certification programs, and so much more. It’s easy to get started at OregonCollegeSavings.com.

The Oregon Treasury Savings Network, part of the Oregon State Treasury, was launched in 2001 to administer the Oregon College Savings Plan. It has since expanded to administer the Oregon ABLE Savings Plan and national ABLE for ALL Savings Plan, and the first state-run retirement program, OregonSaves.

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