Promise Indiana promotes saving for post-secondary education through a community-driven initiative.
College may seem far away to kindergarteners, but Hancock County is bringing post-secondary education and careers front of mind for kindergarteners and their families through a collaborative effort called “The Promise.” The “Hancock County Promise” program makes educational savings a reality by helping families to start a CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings account through their school. Current kindergarteners and those enrolling in kindergarten in the fall are eligible now to sign up for the “Hancock County Promise” and receive free funds that support their post-secondary education. Parents/guardians can sign up at www.HancockCountyPromise.org.
The Process: After signing up for the Hancock County Promise on www.HancockCountyPromise.org and opening a 529 savings account, each account will receive a deposit of $25 from Hancock County community partners. These partners include Hancock Health, NineStar Connect, Greenfield Bank, The EMS Group and Tyner Pond Farm.
Next, all Hancock County kindergarteners will visit Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the fall to learn about post-secondary education options. They will have a day of interactive learning and dynamic hands-on experiences called “Walk Into My Future.” IUPUI will host the inaugural event again this fall, with college students and faculty leading campus tours and activity stations for elementary-aged youth.
Teachers will continue lessons in the classroom on the importance of saving money. After each kindergarten account has $25 donated from their personal champions in their life (such as parents, grandparents, or relatives), kindergarteners will receive an additional $25 from local community partners, such as Meijer or local education foundations. The flyer is linked here.
Sign Up at Kindergarten Registration: Parents/guardians can also sign up at the Hancock County Promise table during kindergarten registration. The Mt. Vernon kindergarten registrations are from 12-7 p.m. on April 9 at Fortville Elementary, April 10 at McCordsville Elementary, and April 12 at Mt. Comfort Elementary. The Hancock County schools participating in the Hancock County Promise include Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Southern Hancock, Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation, Geist Montessori and St. Michael’s.
About the Hancock County Promise: The Hancock County Promise helps families take that first step to start saving, while also integrating college and career discovery activities in the classroom. Youth in the program not only build assets for post-secondary education and learn about college and careers, but the college campus activities involve the students in memorable, hands-on, engaging experiences.
The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation Superintendent, Dr. Shane Robbins, states, “The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation led the initiative county-wide under the leadership of Mr. Scott Shipley, Director of Special Programs. We are changing the county culture with nearly 1,000 kindergarteners per year and creating a culture that post-secondary education is possible for all. Through the years, the experience will have a positive impact on our community and the futures of all students.”
To start the Hancock County Promise program, a steering committee was assembled which included all Hancock County school districts, community and private foundations, local businesses and government, economic development groups, and nonprofits.
Research from the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion at the University of Kansas shows that youth with a college savings account in their name are between three and four and half times more likely to go to college than those without an account. CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings accounts can be used at any eligible institution—2-year community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, even trade and technical schools.
To date, over 10,000 youth around the state have started a CollegeChoice 529 direct savings account through the Promise program. To learn more or get involved with the Hancock County Promise, contact Scott Shipley at the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (317) 485-3100, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.HancockCountyPromise.com.