Keystone Scholars helps spur higher education savings with $100 starter grant
Media, PA – Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today visited Delaware County to launch Treasury’s Keystone Scholars program at the Jerome S. Parker Advanced Technology Center at Delaware County Community College. Torsella was joined by Senators Tom Killion and Daylin Leach along with a representative from Senator Tony Williams’ office, Representatives Alexander Charlton, Maria Donatucci, Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Jamie Santora, Chris Quinn, and a representative from Brian Kirkland’s office. In addition, Dr. Paula Pitcher, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Delaware County Community College, and representatives from local partner organizations were also present. Designed to encourage higher education aspirations and to serve as a catalyst to help families start saving early, Torsella launched the Keystone Scholars program to provide a $100 scholarship grant to every child born or adopted in Pennsylvania to be used towards higher education expenses. A six-county demonstration project—financed through private funds—is available now; proposed legislation would make the scholarship grant program available to every child statewide.
“Since the Great Recession, 95% of new jobs went to people with some form of education beyond high school. If we want future generations to learn here and stay here, we’ve got to invest in them. The Keystone Scholars program tells every child born in Delaware County that we know they can achieve great things, and we’ll help them get started on the path to a brighter future.”
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
Following the press event, Karen Kozachyn, Dean of the College’s Workforce Development and Community Education program took Treasurer Torsella on a tour of the Jerome S. Parker Advanced Technology Center to review their state-of-the-art technical training facility and meet with current students, teachers, and administrators.
“Finding ways to help students and families afford the education they need is an important part of the mission of Delaware County Community College. And one of the best ways to help students – particularly students who are the first in their families to attend college – is to get them thinking early about saving for college. That is why we are pleased that the state treasurer has selected our county, Delaware County, as one of six counties in the Commonwealth to participate in this innovative college-saving program.”
Vice President for Enrollment Management at Delaware County Community College, Dr. Paula Pitcher
Joining the Treasurer at the event were member of the Keystone Scholars County Advisory Committee including Clarifi, Crozer Keystone Health System, Delaware County Community Foundation, Delaware County Family Center, Field Center for Children's Policy, Foundation for Delaware County, Main Line Health, PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development, Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania, Project ELECT Programs, and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
Treasurer Torsella unveiled the Keystone Scholars program in February 2018, announcing the demonstration project for all families living in Delaware, Elk, Indiana, Luzerne, Mifflin, and Westmoreland counties. Treasury raised $2.25 million in private funds to finance the demonstration project, so that every baby born or adopted from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019 within the six-counties will be eligible for a $100 scholarship grant. Families have until the child’s first birthday to claim the Keystone Scholarship.
The scholarship grant will grow through investment. Families have until their child turns 29 years old to use the funds. The scholarship grant – and any additional college savings each family saves by opening a PA 529 account – can be used for any qualified higher education expense at an approved institution of higher education, including trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges, and universities in or outside Pennsylvania.
All funds for the demonstration project are coming from philanthropic sources that include the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Foundation and the Neubauer Family Foundation. The demonstration project also includes The National Philanthropic Trust and research support from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and Duke University’s Common Cents Lab.
Families can preregister their child for Keystone Scholars at www.pa529.com/keystone/ by clicking on Sign Up. Once they have received their child’s birth certificate, they can log back in to finish their registration. Keystone Scholarships are available to children born in 2018 and 2019 to families living in the six demonstration project counties.
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