Pennsylvania’s State Treasurer today announces a new program to help kids in the Commonwealth afford to go to college. It’s a grant program that begins at birth.
The Keystone Scholars Program grants children $100 at birth to go toward their higher education. It’s available in just six counties now, but lawmakers are already working to expand it statewide.
Since she was a young child, Millersville University Freshman Evelyn Days has been worried about her family’s financial situation. “I’ll never forget the day I was at the store with my dad, and I asked him ‘are we poor?'” She grew up with seven siblings in a single parent home. She worried what it would mean for her education. “No child should be limited in education because of how much their parents make annually.”
On Monday, State Treasurer Joe Torsella announced the Keystone Scholars Program. Torsella saying, “the higher education that propelled my family’s American dream, like so many of yours, has become staggeringly expensive.” It will provide a $100 grant at birth to go towards the child’s higher education.
Senator Vincent Hughs says, Investing early, on the front side, at birth, makes absolute sense.”
Torsella says, “research shows that if a child has a higher education saving account at birth, that child is three times more likely to pursue training or education after high school.”
The money would be available for the child until they turn 29 and wouldn’t just be for a four year college. Senator John Gordner says, “It is for trade schools, it is for technical schools, it is for community colleges.”
Right now, Keystone Scholars is a demonstration project, available to children born in 2018 or 2019 in the aforementioned six counties. Lawmakers now hoping to pass legislation this year to expand it across the Commonwealth.
If the Keystone Scholars Program is expanded statewide, it’ll cost about $14 million a year. The money will not come from the state’s general fund, but instead, be donated by partners and private citizens.
–Matt Heckel, Jet 24 Action News