Joins Senator John Gordner and partners in Columbia County to highlight program
Berwick, PA – Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today was joined by Senator John Gordner, a key legislative partner, to celebrate the passage into law of Treasury’s new scholarship grant program, Keystone Scholars. The program becomes available to all Pennsylvania families statewide in January 2019.
“Keystone Scholars is about telling every Pennsylvania child that we believe in them, and we’re willing to back that up by investing in their future. This is a bipartisan idea, and I’m proud to have joined with Senator Gordner to make it possible.”
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
Designed to help encourage higher education and to help families start saving early, Torsella created the Keystone Scholars program to provide a $100 scholarship grant account at birth for every child born or adopted in Pennsylvania to be invested in a PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) account for higher education expenses. The program does not use any taxpayer funds, and operates through a combination of surplus funds from the GSP and philanthropic donations.
Treasurer Torsella participated in several events while at McBride Memorial Library in Berwick including a press conference, tour of the library and reading a book to children gathered for the library’s story time.
“Millions of jobs have been added nationwide since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. A vast majority of those jobs require some sort of post-secondary education, whether it be a college education or training attained through a trade or technical school. These funds can become the catalyst for achieving that necessary education and this investment demonstrates the Commonwealth’s strong partnership with every young person in our state.”
Treasurer Torsella unveiled the Keystone Scholars program in February 2018, which included the announcement of a 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. At the announcement, Torsella was joined by Senators Gordner and Vincent Hughes, who co-sponsored the legislation in the Senate.
In June, the Keystone Scholars legislation was passed as part of the FY 2018-19 budget legislation package. Governor Tom Wolf later signed it into law making the program available statewide to every baby born or adopted on or after January 1, 2019.
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 most trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges, and universities in or outside Pennsylvania.