—Kate Marshall, NV State Treasurer (Candidate for NV Secretary of State)
I wanted to share my recent op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal on my College Kickstart program–a non taxpayer funded college savings account for our school age children here in Nevada. Ensuring that everyone has access to higher education, is a personal mission of mine, and I am proud that soon we will expanding this program statewide.
Nearly 81% of the jobs of the future will require some sort of post secondary education. Yet only 30% of Nevadans have some sort of post secondary Education. This needs to change and I am committed to ensuring our kids not only know that they can achieve a college degree but are given tools to achieve that dream.
Take a moment to read my personal story in the op-ed below and join my campaign team so we can continue to create opportunities for our kids to succeed.
From Reno Gazette Journal on February, 12th 2014
Kate Marshall: Make college education a reality
As a young child, I thought the most I could strive for in life was to get a job with benefits. College just wasn’t part of my picture. It wasn’t until a nun from my school showed up at my house to talk to my mother about me, and my future, that my outlook changed.
When you grow up in a family, or in a place, where college isn’t openly discussed, a child needs to be told what possibilities there are for his or her life. Children need to be told that they can reach further than just a job, or just a job with benefits.
With that in mind, my office has launched an exciting new initiative aimed at instilling the dream of a college education in the minds of Nevada schoolchildren. The Nevada College Kick Start Program (CollegeKickStart.nv.gov) has established 529 college savings accounts for all 2013-14 public school kindergarten students attending school in Nevada with an initial deposit of $50.
Studies have shown when a child has a savings account with his or her name on it — no matter how much is in the fund — that child is seven times more likely to go to college. College savings send a strong message to children: “You are a college saver. You are college-bound.” That is true, regardless of your family income, where you grew up, your ethnicity or whether your parents went to college.
The accounts were established with fees paid to the state by private investment firms, not taxpayer dollars.
The funds can be used for any institute of higher education, whether it’s culinary, technical; Truckee Meadows Community College; University of Nevada, Reno; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Harvard or any accredited institution of higher learning. It cannot be used for any other purpose than to pay higher education expenses.
We have also partnered with our Nevada College Savings Plans program manager, Upromise, to drastically reduce the minimum amount needed to open a SSgA Upromise college savings account. Parents can set up a 529 college savings account with as little as $15 — reduced from $250. And for those families making less than $75,000, the state will match up to $300 a year for five years, within the availability of funding.
Parents or other caregivers can open this parallel account and deposit whatever they can afford into that account so they’ll be better prepared when the time comes for their child to attend an institution of higher learning.
An educated workforce is critical as we work to diversify our economy and create jobs with better pay and benefits. It is essential that more Nevada families begin discussing and planning for college now so that more of our youths will attend and graduate from an institution of higher learning.
We need to let all children know that they can go to college. Let’s put everyone on the same starting line and make a college education a reality for thousands of Nevada’s children.
Kate Marshall is Nevada state treasurer.