Pacione-Zayas is spearheading a measure to help families afford higher education

SPRING FIELD – To increase accessibility to higher education, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) has proposed a measure allowing the office of the state treasurer to make payments to savings accounts for children specifically for students from financially precarious households.

“Historically, Black and Latino families have faced systemic barriers to higher education, including affordability, and we need to make sure the programs we put in place to help children are as equitable as possible. “, said Pacione-Zayas. “Children’s savings accounts are a great mechanism to help students pay for their education costs, but we need to make sure families who need help get help. »

The Illinois Children’s Savings Account Program will take effect in 2023. Under the current program, eligible families will receive an initial deposit of $50. Senate Bill 3991 allows the Office of the State Treasurer to supplement CSAs for financially insecure households with additional funds.

“As a parent of three children, I spent years advocating for a statewide children’s savings account program. I didn’t go to college, but my son was lucky enough to receive a scholarship,” said Liliana Olayo, Co-Chair of POWER-PAC IL and Steering Committee Member of Financial Inclusion for All Illinois. “With a statewide CSA program that promotes equity, more families like mine will have hope for the future and an investment in their children’s potential early on.”

In addition, the legislation also requires the treasurer’s office to collect more data on program participants to track the social and geographic makeup of the community. This will help ensure an equitable deployment of the program.

“When kids know their state and parents are investing in a Children’s Savings Account, they’re more likely to believe in themselves and their future. Through the Illinois CSA Program, we can give back to students hope that has faded over the past two years,” said Amy Eisenstein, leader of the Coalition for Financial Inclusion for All Illinois. “Now is the time to fund and implement the program Illinois CSA with the fairness measures included in SB3991, which we are pleased to have passed the Senate.”

SB 3991 passed the Senate on Wednesday and is going to the House for further consideration.

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