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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 12, 2018 02:51 PM
From: Representative Duane D. Milne
To: All House members
Subject: Keystone Scholars Program Grant Program
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to establish the Keystone Scholars Program, which will create a PA 529 post-secondary education account for every newborn Pennsylvanian, beginning with those born on or after January 1, 2019. This education savings plan does not rely on general fund appropriations. The initiative is supported by State Treasurer Joseph Torsella.

This legislation would authorize the State Treasurer to deposit $100 into a PA 529 account in the name of each newborn. This principal will grow with interest during the youth of the student and, hopefully, provide the incentive for parents to open their own PA 529 account. The program will be funded through Treasury investment earnings, donations and endowments from the philanthropic community. This legislation will not require any contributions from the General Fund.

The Treasury Department will soon announce a Keystone Scholars Demonstration Project in certain counties which will be funded from PHEAA resources and donations from the philanthropic community. My legislation would make the program available in all 67 counties.

By way of background, since the Great Recession of 2009, 18 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy. Of those 18 million, 17 million have required post-secondary education whether it be trade and vocational certificates/degrees or two or four year college degrees.

On average, Pennsylvanians who pursue post-secondary education end up approximately $35,000 in debt - higher than any other state in the country. However, it has been shown that those who have a higher education savings account at birth are three times more likely to pursue post-secondary opportunities and are four times more likely to graduate from a post-secondary institution.

Please join me in this effort to support families in strategizing for their children’s future, to do so in a fiscally-responsible manner and to help reduce the student loan debt crisis! - Dr. D. Milne

Introduced as HB2248