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New Utah bill would create savings plans for kindergarteners in poverty

A small stack of coins grows overtime into a large jar of coins.
Pixabay
Stacks of coins growing overtime

A Senate bill that would create a savings plan for kindergarten students facing inter-generational poverty was introduced into the Senate Rules Committee on the first day of the Utah General Legislative Session. The bill was moved to the Senate Education Committee where bill sponsor Sen. Lincoln Fillmore explained why he feels the bill is important.

“Students are much more likely to go on to college, even if they have as little as $500 in a college savings account,” Sen. Fillmore said. “And for students in inter-generational poverty, even that small amount can be a high hurdle to clear.”

Sen. Fillmore explained how this bill would take 3% of the $30 million a year the state gains in unclaimed property, and seed that money into 529 college savings accounts for kindergarteners who are stuck in a cycle of poverty with their parents and grandparents.

“This is a very inexpensive way to really try to break that poverty cycle with that generation, by providing the means and a real incentive for two things to happen,” Sen. Fillmore said. “One is for the kid to go to college, and two, train the parents in financial management and savings.”

After parents attend a financial education course, Sen. Fillmore said each child would receive $500. Once parents contribute $50 of their own, the state would match them with another $50. This money then grows overtime into something the child can use for their college education.

“So for an investment of $550 per kid, I think we can really provide an incentive that has the chance to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty,” Sen. Fillmore said.

The bill has been placed on the Senate 2nd readings calendar.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.