More than 13,000 Los Angeles Unified School District first-graders will receive free $50 savings accounts this spring under a program introduced Friday by city, county and district officials, with the effort expanding to more than 35,000 LAUSD students in the fall.
“Last year showed why we need ‘Families First’ policies,” Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez said. “Families struggled to stay afloat this pandemic and we know that 40% of families do not have $400 in savings to address an emergency -- let alone save for college. Not only do we need to make sure families are stable, but we need the next generation to have greater opportunities and to break the cycle of poverty.”
Under the OpportunityLA program, overseen by the city's Housing+Community Investment Department, students will receive a deposit-only Citibank savings account with an initial deposit of $50.
The program will begin with 13,000 first-graders at 196 schools this spring, then expand to all 519 LAUSD schools with enrolled first-graders in the fall, reaching more than 35,000 students.
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The deposit-only accounts are intended for use after students graduate so the money can be put toward their post-secondary education, helping pay for books, tuition or other costs.
Parents will receive an account number so additional contributions can be made during their children's education.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the program sends a message to children that “we have your back.”
“You can concentrate on your studies. Don't worry about being priced out of an education,” he said.
LAUSD board member Nick Melvoin said the program is “truly starting to close the gaps and helping to plant the seeds early so our kids know that college is possible and is expected.”
Additional information on the program is available here.