PHOTO GALLERY: Dollars for College program unlocks saving opportunities for families at three Richardson ISD schools

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Richardson ISD officials celebrated North Texas Giving Day by announcing a new initiative to help low-income families save for their children’s futures.

The Dollars for College program allows parents of kindergarten and first grade students at Audelia Creek Elementary School, RISD Academy and Forest Lane Academy to open educational savings accounts at no cost. Each account will be seeded with $50. Parents who sign up by Oct. 18 will receive an extra $25 deposit, according to the Dollars for College website.

“We strive to have all of our students ready for life after high school, and this new partnership helps us do just that,” Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a Sept. 19 release.

Parents can contribute to their child’s account at any time and will be eligible for deposit matching over the first two years. During that time, a Dollars for College account can grow to $500, according to a handout distributed at a Sept. 19 launch event.

Staggering statistics underscoring the limits on access to college in Texas is what set Dollars for College into motion, said Greg Mangum, vice president of economic mobility at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, one of several partners in the initiative. Only 5% of elementary-aged students in Texas have a dedicated college fund, he said.

“This is a day we have been waiting for for a very long time,” Mangum said at the launch event.

The program is part of a larger undertaking by Communities Foundation of Texas to increase access to post-secondary education for the 70-plus% of economically disadvantaged students living and studying in Dallas County.

“We know that by investing in students early in their academic careers, we will spur their success in life overall,” said Dave Scullin, President and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, in the release.

Students who have even a small college savings account are three times more likely to attend a post-secondary institution and four times more likely to graduate, according to the handout.

“This is planting a seed for the future of kids we believe in, and we want them and their families to know that we are going to help them go to college,” Stone said.

Those interested in donating to Dollars for College can visit this link.

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Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.
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