Children’s Savings Accounts

About this Policy

All children should have the opportunity to thrive. A Universal Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program provides both the hope and the means to expand educational and economic opportunity for Illinois families. With a CSA provided at birth, every child will start off on the right foot.

Policy Highlights

    Illinois CSA Program

    In 2019, HB2237 was signed into law, creating a statewide CSA program in Illinois, with a $50 seed deposit provided into a 529 account for every child born or adopted in the state. Expected to launch in 2023, this is a monumental step forward after years of advocacy from community organizations and advocates.

    In 2022, our coalition advocated for $2.5 million in General Revenue Funds so that the program can be implemented as planned in January 2023. We also advocated for the passage of SB3991, a bill to promote equity in the statewide CSA program. It requires the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office to collect the racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic data of CSA program participants so that we can better understand who is taking up in the program and whether CSAs are reaching the communities that would most benefit from a jump-start in their higher education savings. It also gives the State Treasurer’s Office the option to provide automatic bonus deposits into the CSAs of children from financially insecure households, signaling our coalition’s long-term vision for equity within the program.

    To build this into a program that advances equity and helps families unlock opportunity, it will take continued efforts and investment from partners and funders throughout the state, and ongoing work for the State Treasurer’s Office to ensure that the program is implemented in an equitable and accessible way. Download our recommendations for implementation of the CSA program.

    Benefits of a CSA Program

    CSAs Create a Pathway to a College Degree for More Children: CSAs help build the aspirations of children that they can complete college or vocational training. Youth participating in a CSA program are more likely to plan to attend college, and having childhood savings is correlated with a college-bound identity.

    CSAs Support Early Childhood Development & Maternal Health: Accumulating savings within a household positively affects a parent’s outlook on their child’s future. This real hope for the future has been shown to reduce maternal depression symptoms and support early childhood development. CSAs increase children’s social-emotional functioning, with similar effect size as Early Head Start. CSAs also increase school attendance rates and improve standardized test scores.

    CSAs Result in Financially Capable Children: Children enrolled in a CSA program and receiving financial education scored significantly higher on financial capability tests than those receiving only the education.

    CSAs Can Advance Racial Equity. If CSA programs are designed with equity in mind, they can also help address the growing racial wealth divide. Our 2017 report on CSAs in Illinois showed that with the right features, CSAs could reduce the racial wealth inequities in our state.

    Content related to this policy

    Parent Leaders, Advocates Celebrate That Children’s Savings Account Program, Signed into Law in 2019, is Finally Funded in Illinois Budget

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    Support Children’s Savings Account Funding

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    Children’s Savings Account Implementation Recommendations

    In 2019, HB2237 was signed into law, creating a statewide CSA program in Illinois, with a $50 seed...

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