Statewide Initiative Helps Families Save for Higher Education with the Oregon College Savings Plan
Elementary-aged students eligible for $100 college savings account and free school supplies
SALEM, Ore., May 15, 2019 — Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read today announced the successful completion of the Oregon College Savings Plan's school-based outreach program, Be College Ready, for the 2018-2019 school year. Wrapping up its second full year as a statewide program since the 2015 launch of the pilot, Be College Ready progressed toward its goal of reaching every elementary-aged student in Oregon and their families—with more than 80 elementary schools in over 40 school districts across the state participating.
The Be College Ready program aims to educate families about the value of saving for higher education early in a child's life, providing an easy means to begin that savings journey through the Oregon College Savings Plan. Schools participating in the program range from Medford to Ontario—partnering to reach tens of thousands of Oregon families.
As part of the program, parents with an elementary-aged child had the opportunity to win a $100 Oregon College Savings Plan account through the sweepstakes, which opens in the fall each year. More than 350 families entered the sweepstakes, with one hundred awards benefitting children in each congressional district—20 winners per district.
Through Be College Ready, elementary school teachers and administrators are able to distribute free school supplies and information to parents about making higher education expenses more affordable. The program is open to all public and private elementary schools, as well as to homeschooled children across the state. During the most recent school year, Be College Ready served more than 34,000 families with almost 5,500 of those from Spanish-speaking families.
"We will continue investing in programs that increase awareness of college saving opportunities statewide—prioritizing outreach to underserved communities and making it easier for them to save," said State Treasurer Tobias Read, who chairs the Oregon 529 Savings Board. "My goal is to make sure every Oregon child is saving for college so that nothing stands in the way of their dreams."
There was an increase in account openings of 8 percent over last year, with a 9% increase in new account contributions, totaling more than $38M in the participating districts alone. The Oregon College Savings Plan is making a measurable difference through outreach to families looking for a simple means to save and make college more affordable.