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Small-dollar children's saving accounts and children's college outcomes by race


  • Friedline, Terri
  • Elliott, William
  • Nam, Ilsung


This is paper three of four in the Small-Dollar Children Accounts series that studies the relationship between children's small dollar savings accounts and college enrollment and graduation. The series uses different subsamples to examine three important research questions: (a) Are children with savings of their own more likely to attend or graduate from college? (b) Does dosage (no account, only basic savings, savings designated for school of less than $1, $1 to $499, or $500 or more) matter? And (c) is designating for school more predictive of college enrollment or graduation than having basic undesignated savings alone? Using propensity score weighted data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its supplements we created multi-treatment dosages of savings accounts and amounts to answer these questions separately for black (n=404) and white (n=453) children. White children's savings are not significantly related to their college outcomes. Differently, compared to black children without savings accounts, black children are three times more likely to enroll in college when they have school savings of less than $1 and six times more likely when they have school savings of $1 to $499. Further, black children with school savings of $1 to $499 are four times more likely to graduate from college and black children with school savings of $500 or more are three-and-a-half times more likely to graduate from college, compared to those with no savings account. We suggest Child Development Accounts (CDAs) may be a promising tool for helping black children get to and through college.

Suggested Citation

  • Friedline, Terri & Elliott, William & Nam, Ilsung, 2013. "Small-dollar children's saving accounts and children's college outcomes by race," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 548-559.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:35:y:2013:i:3:p:548-559
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2012.12.007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arthur B. Kennickell & R. Louise Woodburn, 1999. "CONSISTENT WEIGHT DESIGN FOR THE 1989, 1992 AND 1995 SCFs, AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(2), pages 193-215, June.
    2. Huang, Jin & Guo, Baorong & Kim, Youngmi & Sherraden, Michael, 2010. "Parental income, assets, borrowing constraints and children's post-secondary education," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 585-594, April.
    3. Long, Mark C., 2010. "Changes in the returns to education and college quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 338-347, June.
    4. Diego Restuccia & Carlos Urrutia, 2004. "Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1354-1378, December.
    5. Eide, Eric R. & Showalter, Mark H., 2011. "Estimating the relation between health and education: What do we know and what do we need to know?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 778-791, October.
    6. Cutler, David M. & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2010. "Understanding differences in health behaviors by education," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-28, January.
    7. Elliott, William & Destin, Mesmin & Friedline, Terri, 2011. "Taking stock of ten years of research on the relationship between assets and children's educational outcomes: Implications for theory, policy and intervention," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 2312-2328.
    8. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
    9. Tomz, Michael & King, Gary & Zeng, Langche, 2003. "ReLogit: Rare Events Logistic Regression," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 8(i02).
    10. Nam, Yunju & Huang, Jin, 2009. "Equal opportunity for all? Parental economic resources and children's educational attainment," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 625-634, June.
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    1. repec:eee:cysrev:v:85:y:2018:i:c:p:253-263 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Elliott, William & Lewis, Melinda & Grinstein-Weiss, Michal & Nam, IlSung, 2014. "Student Loan Debt: Can Parental College Savings Help?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 96(4), pages 331-357.
    3. Elliott, William & Song, Hyun-a & Nam, Ilsung, 2013. "Small-dollar accounts, children's college outcomes, and wilt," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 535-547.
    4. Despard, Mathieu R. & Perantie, Dana & Taylor, Samuel & Grinstein-Weiss, Michal & Friedline, Terri & Raghavan, Ramesh, 2016. "Student debt and hardship: Evidence from a large sample of low- and moderate-income households," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 8-18.
    5. Rauscher, Emily & Elliott, William & O'Brien, Megan & Callahan, Jason & Steensma, Joe, 2017. "Examining the relationship between parental educational expectations and a community-based children's savings account program," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 96-107.


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