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All LAUSD 1st graders getting savings accounts with $50 deposits

All first graders in the Los Angeles Unified School District are getting savings accounts with $50 seed deposits.

It’s part of a program meant to help families start planning for their children to go to college.

The program, Opportunity L.A., will automatically provide Citibank accounts with the money to every first-grade student at all 519 elementary schools at the nation’s second-largest school district.

Officials said the program in 2021 began providing savings accounts with $50 deposits to children in select high-need schools. It was expanded this year to include all first graders in the district.

With the program having opened 44,363 accounts on behalf of children, it’s the largest children’s savings account program in the nation, L.A. city officials said.

“Too many children simply can’t afford higher education,” L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez said in a statement. “Because of the work we’ve done here and the funds we’ve invested, 44,363 children can now plan for a future that includes higher education.”

Officials say savings accounts for children can help with reducing educational and economic inequality, and cite research that found that children with savings accounts are up to seven times more likely to attend college than those without accounts.

“This historic program does more than give kids and families a financial boost toward making college more affordable and accessible—it also instills a college-going mindset in our students from an early age,” LAUSD School Board Member Nick Melvoin said in a statement.

In addition to the automatic $50 deposit for students, families will also be able to receive a dollar-for-dollar Tax Time Savings match, up to $25, when their parents or guardians file their taxes with Free Tax Prep Los Angeles and make a deposit of at least $5 during tax season into their student’s OLA account.

The program will also provide an additional savings reward for unhoused first-grade students in the program.

The savings accounts are available to students regardless of their families’ income level or immigration status, authorities said.

Families will get a welcome packet with program information and their student’s account number to immediately start making contributions.

More information on Opportunity L.A. can be found at opportunityla.com.

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