Bipartisan amendment to ESEA supported by Opportunity Nation promotes college savings accounts•
In recent days, it has been exciting to see the U.S Senate and House of Representatives focus on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It has been more than 15 years since the nation’s largest and most important K-12 education bill has been debated on the floor of either House of Congress, and ESEA is in dire need of updates and improvements.
At Opportunity Nation, there are things we like about the bills being considered. We also see room for improvement. We were thrilled this week when Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) along with Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced amendment #2127 to the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015, the Senate ESEA reauthorization bill. This amendment authorizes a pilot program based on their bipartisan bill, the American Dream Accounts Act , which promotes college savings accounts for low- and moderate-income children, a step that has been shown to dramatically increase the likelihood that these students will attend post-secondary institutions after high school. The American Dream Accounts Act encourages partnerships among schools, colleges, non-profits and businesses to develop secure, Web-based student accounts that contain information about academic preparedness, financial literacy and high-impact mentoring. Each account would also be tied to a college savings account.
The rising costs of higher education present a daunting challenge for young Americans today. This is especially true for low-income and first-generation college students who face significant barriers to starting and completing programs. They need and deserve support and guidance.
Studies show that low- and moderate-income students with savings accounts in their names are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate. By utilizing funds currently available through the U.S. Department of Education for the grants, we can expand college savings accounts with no additional cost to taxpayers. By creating online college savings accounts combined with financial planning resources and support for families, more students will have the opportunity to get the post-secondary degrees and training that will enable them to pursue careers that provide economic security and social mobility.
We need 60 Senators to realize how important college savings accounts paired with financial support are to increasing opportunity for thousands of young Americans. Please call your Senator today and let them know to vote yes on amendment #2127 and let’s make sure the nation’s overarching education law includes support for these accounts.