Child Support and College Savings

A college degree can greatly improve potential earnings and upward mobility. To secure a college degree for their children, many families invest in dedicated college savings funds; however, high-income families are much more likely to save for college than families at a lower income level.

Roughly two-thirds of the customers served by the Texas child support system are low-income families. To encourage savings among eligible custodial and noncustodial parents for their children’s college education, the Texas Office of the Attorney General – Child Support Division (OAG-CSD) and its partners began the Child Support for College Program (CS4C) pilot program. Through the program, eligible parents receive financial education and savings incentives to invest in a dedicated college savings fund for their children. The CS4C program is the first known example of a state child support office collaborating with partners to specifically promote the accumulation of assets designated for higher education among its customers.

Dr. Cynthia Osborne and CFRP conducted a process and outcomes evaluation to inform the CS4C partners and asset-building community of the factors associated with college savings among the child support population. The pilot period ended at the end of 2013. Click here for CFRP’s final evaluation report. The evaluation provided information on the challenges and successes of the CS4C program; described the characteristics of child support customers who participate in the program; and promoted a better understanding of why some customers successfully complete the program whereas others choose not to participate or exit the program without saving for their child’s college education.**Update January 2014: Evaluation of CS4C Program Leads to Policy Changes 

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