Wabash County Promise exceeds goal

by Kalie Ammons

School registration throughout the county is underway, and already the Wabash County Promise has exceeded their goal to have 50 percent of students in grades K-3 sign up for a CollegeChoice 529 savings account.

Nine hundred and thirty students in grades K-3 have signed up for the savings account, which equals approximately 60 percent of the students in those grades. The students signed up during registration from the following schools: Manchester; OJ Neighbors; Metro North; and Southwood. Students from St. Bernard’s and Emmanuel Christian have not yet been calculated into the results. The Y will hold an open house for three nights for those who were unable to attend school registration.

Sixty-seven percent of these 930 participants were from O.J. Neighbors and Manchester, with the other third coming from the county schools.

There were a total of 1044 students in all grades K-12 who signed up for the savings accounts.

“This is phenomenal response and each school did an amazing job. The success is a result of our countywide collaborative, Presenting Sponsor, Beauchamp & McSpadden, Inc and Enrollment Sponsor, Parkview Health,” Clint Kugler, YMCA CEO, said in a press release.

The Wabash County Promise is in its pilot for this 2013/2014 school year. The Promise states, “Wabash County will support all youth in the development of their college and career identity through college and career discovery, academic readiness and educational savings.”

All students in grades K-3 are eligible to participate in the program, which even includes a community-matching grant.

The CollegeChoice529 savings account is just a small step in the overall Promise. While the money is helpful to the child’s cause, the Promise will focus on altering the preconceived notion that college is an unreachable goal by bringing “the county together to reduce the cultural bias against education.”

The first Promise event will be held Sept. 27, when all students in grades K-3 will go to Manchester University for “Walk into My Future.” Students will have the opportunity to see what a college campus is like. All students, whether they are signed up for the Promise or not, will attend the event. “Champions” are encouraged to attend with the children.

Champions can be grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles or any adult who takes interest in the child’s education and future. They may donate money or just give verbal or written words of encouragement to support the child in his or her journey towards college.

“We believe that every student in Wabash County deserves encouragement that his or her life matters. We also believe that it is our role to support the hopes and dreams our students hold for their future,” explains W. Parker Beauchamp, president of Beauchamp McSpadden.

The CollegeChoice 529 savings account can be used towards tuition, fees, and some room and board in any state. A 529 account is not based on income and can help further the dream of any student.

But what if the student doesn’t go to college? 529 has set up an option for the parents to designate another “member of the family” to use the funds for educational purposes.

With a 10 percent excess of the original goal for students signing up for the pilot year, it looks like Wabash will be able to fulfill this promise.

Posted on 2013 Aug 13