Pa. Program to Encourage College Attendance — Keystone Scholars — Is One of the Largest in the Nation

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Pennsylvania’s Keystone Scholars program, which automatically provides each newborn in the state with $100 in a college savings account, is one of the largest educational seed programs in the nation. Tara Siegel Bernard looked at its long-term success for The New York Times.

The program, started in 2018, is guided by research suggesting that even a small sum in a dedicated college account can increase a child’s likelihood of pursuing higher education significantly.

For Devon Tiller, a single mother of two, receiving the letter explaining that a college account had been opened in her now six-month-old son’s name was a surprise. The letter also contained instructions on how she could set up one on her own.

Tiller, a Lancaster resident who recently started a second job as a warehouse material handler, knew this was a great opportunity for her son’s future.

“I had talked to my mom about it, and she and I thought it would have been an amazing thing to get started for my son,” she said.

With hardly any preparation in high school, she struggled with community college before dropping out.

“I know life is hard,” she said. “I don’t want to see [my son] struggle like I have to.”

Read more about Keystone Scholars in The New York Times.