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San Francisco Creates College Accounts for Kindergartners

The city of San Francisco is making a direct investment in the educational future of the city's kindergartners. City officials joined with education and philanthropic officials to announce the Kindergarten to College program, which creates college savings accounts for the city's public school kindergartners.

The city will automatically open a savings account for parents when their children start kindergarten and deposit $50 for most students and $100 for those from lower-income families. The families will be provided with the account number so they can also make deposits.

The philanthropic community will help boost the college savings accounts by making deposits as the program rolls out. EARN, a local nonprofit, has committed to match the first $100 parents add to their child's account. Others will plan to make other matches and incentives available later.

Citibank is helping the city launch the program, with 1,200 accounts to be opened for children this year. The program starts with the kindergarten classes of 18 schools this year and is expected to be in every San Francisco public school by 2012.

A recent study found similar savings programs have in fact worked, not only in helping parents build assets for children, but in encouraging positive behaviors.

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