If you enrolled a student in elementary school in Wabash County this year, chances are you noticed new station during school registration. The Wabash County Promise and the Wabash County YMCA had tables set up at each school to get students set up with CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings accounts. This Friday, Sept. 27, The Wabash County Promise in partnership with Indiana State Treasurer Richard Murdock will host a “Walk Into My Future” event on the campus of Manchester University to celebrate the new matching grant program.
As of July 2013, only 6 percent of kindergarten through third graders in Wabash County had college savings accounts. With the support of presenting sponsor Beauchamp McSpadden, over 1,060 students in kindergarten through third grade established a CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings account during registration in August. Students received a $25 initial gift into their new accounts from Parkview Health, enrollment sponsor of the Promise. Today, over 65 percent are now saving thanks to the efforts of the Wabash County Promise.
“We all want the children in our lives to have the brightest future possible,” said Indiana State Treasurer Richard Murdock. “This is a wonderful way to help them with a gift that will last a lifetime – money to help them afford higher education.”
This has been a primary focus for the Wabash County YMCA over the past several months. They have found that when children have a savings account in their name, they are seven times more likely to attend college than similar youth who do not have an account. This prompted a serious look at the CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings account program.
Leading up to the “Walk Into My Future” event, students will ask champions (friends, family, neighbors, mentors) in their life to make a gift of $5.29 or more into their college savings account. Students who raise $25 or more receive a matching gift of $75.
During September, “College Savings Month” in Indiana, Wabash County students are completing activities in their classrooms to begin to identify career aspirations and understand how education beyond high school will help them achieve success. The month of college and career-themed activities culminates with the “Walk Into My Future” event, where the county will collectively celebrate students’ aspirations and champions’ contributions. Manchester University will host the event where students will see and experience the many facets of campus life.
”Manchester University is excited to be the very first university that many of our Wabash County students visit," said Jo Young Switzer, President of Manchester University. Switzer believes "dreaming of college when children are six can make it a reality when they are 18."
Parents and community members are invited to get involved and show support for the students. Parents can contact their student’s school to find out how they can help. Community members who would like to attend can contact YMCA Director of Academic Engagement Amanda Jones-Layman at 260-563-9622.