April 2023

April is Financial Literacy Month

April is Financial Literacy Month, and it’s a great time to remind families of the free $100 investment their children have in a Keystone Scholars (KS) account for postsecondary education and training. As you interact with families in April, please share KS Resource Materials and encourage them to log in and view their child’s account.

It’s always an excellent time for families to open a PA 529 College and Career Savings Program account and link it to their child’s KS to jumpstart saving for the future. Pennsylvania families who open and contribute to a PA 529 account will be able to claim a deduction on their 2023 state taxes next year!

New How-To Register Video

We’re continuing to simplify the Keystone Scholars account registration process for families. Last quarter, Treasury introduced a unique code that families can use to access their child’s account as an alternative to locating a birth certificate number.

Make sure to watch this new video that walks you through how to complete KS online registration. We’re hopeful that as KS partners, you’ll use all of your communications outlets to share this video with families and any staff assisting in accessing KS accounts. Please share challenges, solutions, and ideas of how to continue to make the login process seamless. We want your input!

Why is logging in to the KS account so important? Interacting with a Children’s Savings Account (CSA) like Keystone Scholars is thought to help stimulate high parental expectations for their kids’ futures, with profound effects on parental well-being, as well as children’s development of a college- and career-bound identity. Check out this research summary to learn more!

PA Treasury’s Transparency Portal Now Hosts County-Level Keystone Scholars Data

Here’s an exciting new feature you can use to keep an eye on how many KS families in your county – and across the Commonwealth – are accessing KS accounts and linking to a PA 529 account. Treasurer Stacy Garrity added county-level data for all of Treasury’s consumer savings programs last month on our Transparency Portal. Data will be updated quarterly. To view KS data, visit the Transparency Portal, click on “County-Level Data” on the left-hand side, then select “Keystone Scholars” on the top right.

keystone map

“Unleashing the Power of Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs): Doorway to Multiple Streams of Assets”

Last month, the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion (AEDI) at the University of Michigan School of Social Work published a paper by Dr. William Elliott alongside a series of CSA case studies, one of which featured Keystone Scholars.

Each case study focused on a CSA program that provides multiple deposits into children’s accounts. The main paper, “Unleashing the Power of Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs): Doorway to Multiple Streams of Assets,” encourages readers to think of CSAs like Keystone Scholars as “community accounts”:

‘[…] despite being assigned to individual children which may be important for producing some of those social and psychological affects […] CSAs are really community accounts opened on behalf of a child. In this way they may provide a policy structure that can bring to life the idea that it takes a community to raise a child” (p. 20).

Keystone Scholars Director Anne DeCecco spoke about the program’s work with community partners to make additional targeted deposits to low-income children during a webinar in March along with representatives of the other CSA programs featured in the case studies.

You can view the main paper, its executive summary, all case studies, and a recording of the webinar here.

Bring the KS Outreach Team to Your Neighborhood

PA Treasury has a regional outreach team that is available to work with your organization and community at events and gatherings to help grow KS awareness and registrations. To discuss options or scheduling, reach out to Barbara Holbert, Director – Outreach & Marketing at bholbert@patreasury.gov or call Tiffany Thomas (717) 705-4073. You can visit www.pa529/keystone/ for more details.

Partner Spotlight

Community Advocate Cathy Palm from Berks County

When Cathy Palm learned about Keystone Scholars, she made it her personal mission to spread awareness, not just of the accounts themselves, but of the much-needed hope for the future and associated social and emotional benefits they provide to families. Volunteering her personal time and creative energy, she has brought together a coalition of community organizations in Berks County. Called “Planting Promises,” this core group of community organizations has convened state legislators, donors, and media outlets, to name a few. Together they are working to advance and grow the awareness and usage of Keystone Scholars accounts for Berks County children. This coalition is also strategizing ways to raise additional funds for Berk County children’s accounts. Thank you, Cathy!

Keystone Scholars Partner Resources

Our website has partner resources and supplies, such as print, video, PowerPoint slides and e-resources, or you can contact us for in-person and virtual presentations. Let us help the kids in your community start their savings journey!

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