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College start-up funds for kindergartners

Cuyahoga County will create a one hundred dollar savings account for children starting school.

Kevin Niedermier
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald
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Cuyahoga County is set to become the first in the country to give all its kindergarteners a college savings account.  County Executive Ed FitzGerald has announced a plan to award one hundred dollars toward college tuition to every child starting kindergarten.  The money will go into a trust fund.

FitzGerald says the county’s new government charter mandates that a scholarship program be established.  And this program will cost about two-million dollars a year.

Hear FitzGerald on college funds for kindergartners

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FitzGerald: "And we've saved that money, it's already in the budget, by trying to make county government more efficient. It's a big step forward. Now, it doesn't guarantee free college tuition, but it's an important first step for people, especially, to have the expectation that they can go to college. And we're helping them on that journey... I hope."

Studies show a child is four times more likely to go to college if they know from a young age that funding is available. FitzGerald says the tuition program is also an economic development tool for the county.

About 15-thousand kids will get the money when they start kindergarten next fall. Besides earning interest, the account can be supplemented with funds from other government or non-profit agencies, and from businesses and a student’s family and friends.   

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