Get a Head Start on Education Savings with $100 from Keystone Scholars!

Keystone Scholars is available for every baby born to or adopted by a PA family after December 31, 2018!

A child with education savings is three times more likely to enroll in a two- or four-year college and four times more likely to graduate.1

That’s why PA Treasury is investing $100 for every baby born to or adopted by a PA family after December 31, 2018 to be used for the baby’s future higher education expenses.

New and expectant parents will be able to register for online access approximately 5 months after the child’s birth using information from the child’s PA state birth certificate.

*As part of a demonstration project, babies born in 2018 in six counties may also be eligible, but must claim their Keystone Scholars grant by the child’s first birthday.

Baby wavying

Who is Eligible?

  • All babies born to or adopted by a PA family after December 31, 2018.
  • Babies born or adopted in 2018 to families who resided in one of six pilot counties.
map of the counties

Frequently Asked Questions

Keystone Scholars is Pennsylvania’s investment in your baby’s bright future.

PA Treasury is investing $100 for every baby born to or adopted by a PA family after December 31, 2018 to families to be used for the baby’s future higher education expenses.

A child with education savings is three times more likely to enroll in a two- or four-year college and four times more likely to graduate.1

The $100 will be invested by the PA Treasury Department and will grow through the years right alongside your child. Your Keystone Scholars account can be used for qualified expenses when your child pursues higher education. These expenses include tuition, fees, books, and more at vocational or technical school, community college, two-year college, four-year college, and more.

Statewide Program

For PA families with babies born or adopted in 2019, there is nothing that you need to do to receive the $100. Keystone Scholars recommends that you access your online account once you receive a letter from PA Treasury with instructions on how to complete the online process. By accessing your Keystone Scholars online account, you can track the growth of your funds and to link a PA 529 account so that you may review all your college savings in one place.

Before your child is ready to use his or her Keystone Scholars funds, you must open a PA 529 account. You can start a PA 529 account with as little as $15. For more information about the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, please visit us at PA529.com.


Demonstration Project

As part of a demonstration project, babies born or adopted during 2018 may be eligible if they are from families that live in the following PA counties. For babies born or adopted in 2018, you must claim by the child’s first birthday.

The Treasury Department will administer the Keystone Scholars program through its PA 529 College and Career Savings Program.

Nevada, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine all have statewide higher educational savings plans like Keystone Scholars.

Absolutely. Pennsylvania families know that every dollar counts when it comes to paying for education. The $100 is meant to help families jumpstart their savings as soon as possible. If a family puts in just $30 per month starting when their child is born, by age 18 that would grow to approximately $10,000 (based on our investment assumptions).

Statewide, 7 percent of eligible households are savings for higher education using a PA 529 account. This is actually above the national average of 3 to 4 percent. But that’s not nearly enough to meet the needs that Pennsylvania families have in paying for post-secondary education, which is why we’re working to build a stronger program.

Like the four other states with similar universal programs, we won’t use general fund revenues. The demonstration project is privately funded through the generous support of key partners in the philanthropic community. The full program will use a modest portion of Treasury investment earnings in years when those are available, as well as possible fees and continued philanthropic support.

Pennsylvanians currently have the highest student loan debt load per person of any state in the nation. And many families find it hard to get started saving faced with their many other household expenses.

Our Commonwealth needs more families to know that there is a future for them after high school, whether that’s through vocational training, community college, or a university. And they need ways to save that are convenient, cost-effective, and that help jumpstart their future. That’s what Keystone Scholars is here to do.

To preregister your baby, please click here.

The demonstration project is available to families residing in Delaware, Elk, Indiana, Luzerne, Mifflin, and Westmoreland counties whose baby was born in 2018 who claim the funds before the baby’s first birthday and use by the beneficiary’s 29th birthday. As part of that launch, $2.25 million has been raised privately that has been designated for any baby born or adopted in 2018 to families living within the six-county area. All funds for the demonstration project are coming from philanthropic sources that include the PHEAA Board of Directors and the Neubauer Family Foundation.

The counties were chosen to represent the diversity of the commonwealth as a whole. Treasury used a variety of criteria in selecting the six counties. First, the demonstration project population needed to accurately reflect the population as a whole. At just under 14,000 births a year in the six counties, it represents about 10% of annual births statewide. It was also important to have a diverse geographic sample so the counties cover all four corners of the map. It also includes all kinds of communities: urban, rural, suburban. The counties also vary in terms of higher educational graduation rate, poverty rate, and PA 529 participation. Where Mifflin County is among the lowest statewide for higher educational attainment and 529 savings, Westmoreland County is a top performer for 529. Delaware County is home to both affluent Philadelphia suburbs and Chester, one of the poorest cities of its size in PA. The regional requirements of funders, some of whom have geographic restrictions on where they fund programs, were also taken into account.

This will allow Treasury to create scalable outreach and marketing programs, and gather data on outcomes and impacts. This demonstration project gives us a special opportunity to learn how better to engage the families who are not thinking about higher education for their newborn babies. If Treasury can learn how to communicate with them, how to engage them, how to turn their minds to a higher-education-bound mentality, it creates an opportunity to improve life for every Pennsylvanian. This program will also allow Treasury to help families who are ready to save optimize their behavior: start saving earlier and reap the maximum benefit from compound interest; save using an automatic deduction to a PA 529 plan to lower the barriers to saving as far as possible.

1 William Elliott, Hyun-a Song and Ilsung Nam, Small Dollar Children’s Savings Accounts, Income and College Outcomes (St. Louis, MO: Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis, 2013). https://csd.wustl.edu/publications/documents/wp13-06.pdf

Connect With Us

Phone: 800-440-4000
Email: Keystone@PA529.com

 

Keystone Scholars
613 North Drive | Room G-06
Harrisburg, PA 17120