OAKLAND, CA – Families who are eligible for Medi-Cal and receive seed funding for a college fund for their newborns are healthier, less stressed, and more likely to aspire to education and college for their child at 18 months, according to the first study to assess the impact of integrating a 529 college fund program and financial coaching with a medical home.
The Brilliant Baby program, part of Oakland Promise – a nonprofit organization that aims to advance economic and educational mobility through cradle-to-career services – seeds $500 college funds for Medi-Cal-eligible babies, provides families with financial coaching free of charge and offers educational programming for caregivers.
In a randomized controlled trial co-led by NORC at the University of Chicago and UCSF Benioff Children’s, researchers found a positive effect on parents’ hopes and educational aspirations for their child in families with infants who received college savings accounts, as well as improved health and lower stress among the caregivers. In those families who received personalized financial coaching, the program also improved caregivers’ perceptions of financial well-being and led to greater participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
Nationwide, in concert with scholarships and grants available to college students, Child Savings Accounts (CSAs) have become a cornerstone for preparing young children and their families with expectations and resources to complete the post-secondary education needed to secure job and career opportunities.
“This research supports implications for wider impact at the state and national levels,” says Sandra Ernst, CEO of Oakland Promise. “With the mission of creating equity, CSAs are getting more attention and investment, such as with the new CalKIDS College Savings program in California, to help college become a reality for all children.” Read the full report HERE.
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To achieve our mission, we are a(n):
We strive to make college and career technical education (CTE) affordable for families through scholarships, college savings accounts (CSAs), advocacy for lower tuition policy and partnerships.
We support students to and through post-secondary education by providing resources, mentorship, guidance, college-culture expectations and community.
We share information, expectations, resources, and financial guidance with parents and caregivers so that they feel confident in supporting their student to make college or career technical education a reality.
We provide guidance and advisory support to help families plan for the financial commitments needed for post-secondary education completion.
Over 79% of Oakland Promise funding goes directly to the young people and families in Oakland. Since the founding of Oakland Promise in 2016, here are some highlights:
Families of infants and kindergartners set up a 529 college savings account (CSA) for their child, seeded with funds from Oakland Promise.
Elementary school students have a $100 Kindergarten to College (K2C) Early College Scholarship Fund.
Middle and High school students receive targeted college and career readiness supports.
Students receive $17 million in OP scholarships and persistence supports. Over 1,300 Scholars were paired with a Mentor. 88% of OP Scholars persisted from first year to second year of college.
Here are just a few of them
I am impressed by the bold and comprehensive approach of the Oakland Promise which has pulled together best practices from around the country. As former US Secretary of Education, I've seen many initiatives across the country ---- Oakland Promise is one of the most strategic and effective and has the potential to be a national model... it leverages private philanthropy for public dollars and has already achieved outstanding results. OP changes the trajectory of our Oakland students from the time they are born, through the time they graduate from college and enter the workforce. Oakland Promise is truly a game changer for Oakland and its future generations.”
Former Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama (2009-2015)