Boston Public Schools

Boston Saves gives BPS students money for their future

This month, a special promotion lets eligible public school families earn an extra $25 for their child’s college fund.

A working mother of two young children, Maimouna Bah knows just how hard it is to pay for higher education. 

The Dorchester mom recently graduated from UMass Boston. She hopes to put aside what she can each year so her kids, a ninth-grader and a kindergartner in the Boston Public School system, have a head start when college rolls around.

“Even if someone saves just $5 or $10 a month, it helps,” said Bah, who recently signed up for the Boston Saves program on behalf of her 5-year-old. 

Boston Saves is a children’s savings account for Boston Public School families that helps them save for their kids’ college or career training. The program is currently open to BPS students from K2 kindergarten through second grade. 

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Through Boston Saves, every eligible student is set up with a seed savings account of $50. A special January promotion lets families who log in for the first time before Jan. 31 earn an extra $25 for their children’s savings account. When families save $25 of their own money per quarter, the city will add $5 to their Boston Saves account. 

The program also motivates families to earn more money for their little ones through incentives, like reading programs, that provide an additional $5 per quarter.

“I read to my kids all the time,” said Bah. “So it’s really a win-win for us. The kids are learning, and getting something more out of it too.”

By the time a Boston Saves student graduates, they’d have saved $2,000 to help them pay for college or career training. According to the program, children who have a savings account are three times more likely to go to college, and four times more likely to graduate. 

Bah says any kind of financial boost is welcome as she plans for her kids’ higher education.

“After graduating (in 2020), I ended up with a lot of loans to pay off. As a working mom, Boston is very expensive. At the end of the day, it’s easy to forget about saving for your kids’ future. I worry about things getting more expensive every year. I am hoping these savings will help a little bit.”

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Since 2019, the program has provided $682,550, including $48,845 in family-earned incentives, to more than 11,000 eligible students. But so far, only about 2,750 families have actually logged on to take advantage of the program.

Currently, all K2, first, and second-grade students in BPS have Boston Saves accounts set up and ready to go. Administrators hope more families will take advantage of the free money — the January promotion is part of that push.

Since the city announced the promotion on Thursday, over 100 new families had logged on for the first time, said Sasha VanDerzee, senior program manager for Boston Saves.

“We want to make sure families know that it’s basically free money. We want to give money away,” said VanDerzee.

The program is also getting the word out via “family champions” who are parents or guardians in the school system. Their goal is to inform BPS families about their eligibility.

Bah has a similar message to other eligible BPS families: don’t miss out.

“People should take this opportunity. The money is there,” she said. “Then when your kid is ready for college, the money goes toward the school they choose. Every little bit helps.” 

How to participate in Boston Saves

Families of BPS students in kindergarten through second grade can visit bostonpublicschools.org/bostonsaves and click ‘log into the savings center” to join the program. Once a family logs in, they can:

  • See the $50 seed money in their child’s Boston Saves account
  • Link their own bank account to the Savings Center to track all their savings for their child in one place
  • Earn more money for their child’s Boston Saves account by reading with their child, or saving regularly

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