When school closures and city lockdowns began in March 2020, Future Bound Miami was about to launch its second activation period of free children’s savings accounts for young students in the City of Miami. Thousands of brochures and piggy banks were packed back into boxes and the activation period was put on hold as the school district determined how it would move forward in the midst of a pandemic.
Nearly a year later with students beginning to return to classrooms, but the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects still looming, brochures went out again to all eligible students within the 30 participating City of Miami schools.
For many still recovering from the economic crisis and trying to make ends meet, long-term goals such as homeownership or a post-secondary education seem far out of reach. Yet, despite the current climate, nearly 1 in 3 eligible students in the City of Miami this year began saving for their own post-secondary education by activating their free Future Bound Miami savings account. Additionally, every eligible student received financial literacy education in their classrooms through Future Bound Miami’s partnership with Junior Achievement, a non-profit providing economic empowerment through education.
Launched in the Fall of 2019, Future Bound Miami is Florida’s first universal Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program. By offering free savings accounts to kindergarteners for their postsecondary education, the program is helping to instill a “future bound” mindset in both the students and families, some who previously might not have considered college a feasible possibility.
Future Bound Miami’s free accounts, which will stay with the students until they graduate from an M-DCPS high school, contain up to $50 in seed deposits to help families get started on saving. Parents and family members can earn interest on any savings for their child’s education and participate in rewards incentive programs to earn additional money into their accounts.
For many in America, the economic crisis caused by the pandemic raised an alarming red flag in the area of savings and financial education. At the start of the pandemic, the Marketplace-Edison report found that 41% of Americans said they wouldn’t know how to pay a sudden expense of $250. Even now, 61% of Americans say the savings they do have won’t last through the end of 2021, according to CNBC.
Research shows that savings accounts like these, even those with small account balances, have a significant impact on a child’s likelihood to attend post-secondary education and even their likelihood of graduating. During a time of unparalleled financial uncertainty, these programs—coupled with financial literacy offerings for the whole family—are on their way to creating a savings revolution and setting up our future generations for success.
For more information about children’s savings accounts and Future Bound Miami, please visit www.FutureBoundMiami.org/about.