Universal accounts at birth: building knowledge to inform policy

Sherraden, Michael and Clancy, Margaret and Nam, Yunju and Huang, Jin and Kim, Youngmi and Beverly, Sondra and Mason, Lisa and Wikoff, Nora and Schreiner, Mark and Purnell, Jason (2015) Universal accounts at birth: building knowledge to inform policy. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 6 (4). pp. 541-564. ISSN 1948-822X

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Abstract

Objective: This article summarizes the design, implementation, and early findings of a statewide randomized experiment of Child Development Accounts (CDAs). The SEED for Oklahoma Kids experiment (SEED OK) is testing a concept for a universal, progressive asset-building policy with potential for national application. CDAs can start as early as birth, providing structured opportunities (e.g., financial access, information, incentives) to encourage asset accumulation for postsecondary education and other developmental purposes. Theory and evidence suggest that CDAs can improve educational outcomes, especially among disadvantaged youth. Method: Participating in a rigorous randomized controlled design, primary caregivers of children born in Oklahoma in 2007 completed a baseline telephone survey before random assignment to the treatment group (n = 1,358) or control group (n = 1,346); these caregivers completed a followup survey 4 years later. For children in the treatment group, the SEED OK experiment automatically opened an Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OK 529) account with a $1,000 initial deposit. In addition, low- and moderate-income families in the treatment group were eligible for a savings match for deposits to their own OK 529 accounts. Results: Findings indicate that CDAs can be implemented universally in a full population to increase the accumulation of college assets. The CDA in SEED OK greatly reduces disparities in OK 529 asset accumulation associated with socioeconomic characteristics. The CDA also has positive effects on parental educational expectations for children, maternal depressive symptoms, and children’s social-emotional development. Conclusions: In contrast to college savings programs that require parents to open an account, SEED OK’s universal, automatic, and progressive CDA model gives all children the opportunity to benefit from college account and asset ownership.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Winter 2015 issue.
Keywords: asset building, Child Development Accounts, child savings accounts, college savings, 529 college savings plans, experiment, SEED for Oklahoma Kids, wealth, child development, education
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Identification Number: 10.1086/684139
Depositing User: Wikoff, Nora
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2017 11:48
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 08:32
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/46622

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