Child Support and College Savings

CFRP Report | R.001.0812

August 2012  

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The child support program provides essential financial resources to children and families, and it ensures that both parents are financially responsible for their child’s healthy development. A key element of healthy development is post-secondary education; indeed, a college degree is associated with higher levels of subsequent employment, income, health, and wealth.1

Many families in the child support system have low levels of income and wealth and therefore have difficulties saving for their child’s education. Asset building strategies provide avenues for accumulating savings and wealth and are a primary vehicle for college savings. For some families, child support contributions from the noncustodial to the custodial parent may provide the necessary infusion of resources to seed and support college savings.2

Child Support for College (CS4C) is a pilot program of the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and other partners aimed at linking child support customers to financial coaching institutions. The goal of CS4C is to promote parent savings for their child’s future college education. This goal is in sync with the OAG’s broader goal of promoting family economic security through the child support system. An evaluation of the CS4C program will determine whether there are opportunities for using the program as a model for longer-term, larger-scale collaboration between child support systems and the asset building community.

This report provides a broad rationale for linking asset building strategies to the child support population and an explanation of how the CS4C pilot program is structured. The report begins by discussing the primary goals of asset building and various strategies that are used to help families build assets, including those that are directly linked to saving for college. Next, the report gives an overview of the child support system and population. The report ends with a discussion of the strong alignment between the goals of asset building strategies and the child support system, an analysis of the CS4C pilot program, and the potential of the program to boost outcomes related to both child support and asset building.

Click here to read the full report.

1 College Board. (2005). Education pays: Update. Retrieved from 
2 Custodial parents have primary physical custody of the child. 
3 Barr, M., & Blank, R. (2009). Savings, assets, credit, and banking among low-income households: Introduction and overview. In M. Barr & R. Blank (Eds.), Insufficient funds: Savings, assets, and banking among low-income households (pp. 1-22). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

PDF Version

Child Support and College Savings (PDF)