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San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College program (K2C) is the first universal Child Savings Account program in the country. Founded in 2011 by Mayor Gavin Newsom (now Governor) and Treasurer José Cisneros, K2C automatically opens a savings account seeded with $50 in public funds for every child entering kindergarten in SF’s public schools, putting students on a path to college from their first day of school.

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Research on College Savings Account programs like K2C

Savings—even small amounts—can improve the odds that San Francisco students will attend and graduate from college. Low- to moderate-income children with savings set aside for college are up to three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate from college than those without an account.  

Programs like K2C cultivate college-going identities. Many low-income students and students of color fail to transition to college despite having the desire and ability to go. Savings is linked to increases in math scores among youth; better health and education outcomes; and the development of a “future orientation.

In adulthood, people are more likely to save if they saved in childhood, and programs like K2C can connect children to assets such as retirement accounts, real estate, and other investments. College savings help children avoid student debt, an important outcome since indebted college graduates accumulate less wealth than do graduates who never borrowed to finance their degrees.