Statewide Educational Savings Program Provides $50 Deposit to all Newborns
Deputy Communications Director
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WORCESTER – State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg kicked off her press tour at UMass Memorial Medical Center for the BabySteps Savings Plan, which launched on January 1st. The Treasurer will be visiting hospitals across the Commonwealth in 2020 to raise awareness for this groundbreaking program, which encourages families to plan and save for their children’s future. Through the BabySteps Savings Plan, every child born or adopted in Massachusetts is eligible for a free $50 seed deposit into a post-secondary education or vocational training savings account.
“BabySteps began with a pilot in Worcester and helped hundreds of families begin saving for their children’s future,” said Treasurer Goldberg. “We learned so many important lessons from working with such a diverse and innovative city. And now we are excited to roll out our BabySteps Savings Plan statewide.”
Treasurer Goldberg met with new parents to discuss BabySteps and how this program can help families start saving for their children’s future. All new parents/guardians in Massachusetts will have one year after the child is born or adopted to open a U.Fund 529 college savings account in order to receive the $50 deposit. This program also provides free financial education resources and tools to any family, regardless of their participation in BabySteps.
“We are honored that the Treasurer selected UMass Memorial Medical Center to help highlight this very important program,” said Douglas Brown, President of Community Hospitals and Chief Administrative Officer for UMass Memorial Health Care. “Here in Worcester our Medical Center delivers about 4,400 babies annually so the contribution to our patient families alone will be about $220,000. This is a significant investment in the future of our tiniest patients and it is a great reminder to new parents that it is never too early to start planning for the future of their newborns.”
“BabySteps Savings Plan expands on the amazing opportunity SeedMA provided to the Worcester community. A college education is a game changer,” said State Senator Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “I am so pleased that families across the Commonwealth will now receive access to the tools and support they need to help their children reach college.”
“I was honored to attend the launch of the BabySteps Savings Plan with Treasurer Goldberg,” said Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “Amidst all our efforts to eliminate barriers to college access, ensuring students have college savings accounts is proven to have radical success. By implementing this program for all of the Commonwealth’s youngest residents, we can give future students and their families the time and information to start their journey towards a great education.”
“Seeing the impact a college education can have on students who grew up in poverty inspired me to seed fund the BabySteps program,” said Bob Hildreth, Founder of Inversant and the Hildreth Institute. “This initial deposit is not just my commitment to making college more accessible for Massachusetts students. It's also a challenge to foundations and philanthropists: Join me in pledging additional resources and motivating families to open savings accounts and save for their children's future!”
“Saving for college can help every child reach his or her dream, and starting to save as soon as a child is born will give families a head start. Through MEFA’s U.Fund 529 plan, recognized as ‘best-in-class’ among savings plans across the country, aspirations for a college education have become a reality for 20 years,” said Tom Graf, Executive Director of MEFA. “Planning early will provide children and families more options when it comes time to pursue that college dream.”
The Department of Public Health has helped make this a seamless process. By adding the sign up to their official birth certificate forms, all parents have to do is check off the box to get the process going. For more information on the BabySteps Savings Plan, please visit BabyStepsSavingsPlan.org.
The BabySteps Savings Plan is offered by the MA State Treasurer’s Office of Economic Empowerment (OEE). On her first day in office, Treasurer Goldberg created OEE, led by a deputy treasurer, with the deliberate goal of implementing a range of economic empowerment initiatives that include closing the gender wage gap, increasing access to financial education, improving college affordability, and investing in STEM careers and education.