ICYMI: FitzGerald Launches Nation's Largest Universal College Savings Initiative

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Media contacts:   
Rich Luchette:  (216) 698-5637, (216) 797-0931, or rluchette@cuyahogacounty.us

CLEVELAND - Yesterday, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced that every public school kindergartner in Cuyahoga County now has a $100 college savings account established through KeyBank. Below is a sample of what Cleveland-area media outlets are saying about the start of the nation's largest universal college savings account program: 

NBC 3 - This is the first countywide college savings account program in the country. "Young people today will be competing in a global economy, and we need to do everything we can to provide them with every possible opportunity to succeed," FitzGerald, the program's sponsor, said. He just made a goal to launch the program by the end of the school year. Money can only be used for college or trade school. It cannot be withdrawn to pay bills or for other purposes. The idea is to encourage savings and help lower and middle income families who may not have college savings plans in place. Studies show only 27 percent of low-income families and 40 percent of middle income families now have plans to save for college. 

ABC 5 - Thousands of Cuyahoga County kindergarten students now have $100 in a special savings account for college. In this first-of-its-kind program, the county is investing $100 for every child who enters kindergarten each year as a way of promoting higher education. 

Fox 8 - We all know college can get expensive, and now, Cuyahoga County is hoping to help with that. They’re opening college savings accounts for the kindergarten class of 2013-2014. 

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Thousands of parents of Cuyahoga County kindergartners enrolled in public schools soon will receive notices informing them a $100 savings account for educational expenses has been opened in their child's name. The mailings will mark the official beginning of County Executive Ed FitzGerald's long-discussed, taxpayer-financed universal college savings account program. 

Associated Press - The county that includes Cleveland has put $100 into bank accounts for 10,000 public school kindergartners to encourage them and their parents to save for college. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald says it is the largest such program in the country. He says accounts will be created for 15,000 more public and private school kindergartners this fall. 

NPR State Impact - Aside from just providing money, FitzGerald thinks this move will help stress the importance of higher education. “We’re also creating a different culture in Cuyahoga County that post-secondary education is not just a goal, it’s a realistic opportunity for every child in this county,” he said. 

WCPN - The Cuyahoga County College Savings Account program is being created with more than 10,000 savings accounts, each with a $100 deposit. The accounts are for kindergarten students enrolled in the county’s public schools. Families are encouraged to invest more funds to the accounts over the years, and students will only be able to tap into the money to pay for their higher education plans. County executive Ed FitzGerald said he hopes the program will encourage more financial responsibility for students and families as they look towards the future. 

WTAM - The Cuyahoga County College Savings Account program is the first such initiative to establish universal savings accounts at the county level of government. Welcome packets will be sent out within three weeks to roughly 10,500 households with students in public districts along with a book of deposit slips to promote participation in the initiative.