HOWARD COUNTY; WHERE EVERY CHILD HAS HOPE FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
07/10/2015HOWARD COUNTY; WHERE EVERY CHILD HAS HOPE FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
Contact: Beth Rattray, 457-6691
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Kokomo, IN July 10, 2015/Press Release/ - - When should we start talking to our kids about college? Elementary-aged children are already dreaming about what they want to be and some are planning a career as early as age 5. In hopes of increasing post-secondary education enrollment, it’s time to talk to kids when these aspirations start. That’s where the Howard County Promise steps in.
The Promise was developed by the Wabash County YMCA, which now serves as the lead agency. As of July 2013, only 6% of Kindergarten through 3rd graders in Wabash County had college savings accounts. Today, over 65% of students are now saving, thanks to the efforts of the Wabash County Promise.
In Howard County this fall, college savings and hope for extended education will become a reality for over 1,200 kindergarteners as they established College Choice 529 Direct Savings accounts during school registration. The accounts are part of the Howard County Promise, a countywide collaborative, to create a college-going culture.
How do we inspire families of kindergarten students to register for a college savings accounts? The following three components contribute to the success of the program:
For many families, the initial incentive to begin saving for their kindergartener’s education will be a $25 gift from the Community Foundation. This is important because when children have a savings account in their name, they are seven times more likely to attend college.
“This financial support allows students to concentrate on their ambitions. We want students to know that their community is supporting them. We hope this encouragement builds confidence as they pursue their goals,” said Hilda Burns President of the Community Foundation of Howard County, the enrollment sponsor of the Promise.
Duke Energy, a supporter of economic development efforts, became the initial sponsor of a 3:1 community match. Grandparents, neighbors, family friends, mentors and teachers can become champions, who will make an investment in a College Choice 529 account and provide encouragement to students. Students who raise $25 in champions’ contributions will receive a matching grant of at least $75 from Duke Energy.
Quote from Duke:
During September, “College Savings Month” in Indiana, Howard County students will complete activities in their classrooms to begin to identify career aspirations and understand how education beyond high school will help them achieve success.
College and Career Discovery
On Friday, October 2, every kindergarten in Howard County will visit the Indiana University Kokomo campus for a day of activities. The event is the culmination to an awareness push for post-secondary education, a chance to meet people working in a field of interest, and can be a real motivator for students to do well academically. For the youngest students in Howard County, college is no longer simply something they imagine—it is a place they have visited and have seen for themselves.
For more information on the Howard County Promise, how to register or become a financial contributor, contact United Way 2-1-1 or Jim Leslie of United Way of Howard County at 765.457.6691.