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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 23, 2018 03:03 PM
From: Senator John R. Gordner and Sen. Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Creating the Keystone Scholars Program which will Establish a Post-Secondary Education Savings Plan for All Newborn Pennsylvanians

In the near future, we will be introducing legislation, that is supported by State Treasurer Joseph Torsella, to establish the Keystone Scholars Program which will provide for the creation of a PA 529 post-secondary education account for every newborn Pennsylvanian. This program would apply to infants born on or after January 1, 2019.

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.

This legislation would authorize the State Treasurer to deposit $100 into a PA 529 account which will grow with interest during the youth of the child 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. This legislation would make the program available in all 67 counties.

Please contact our offices if you have any questions regarding this proposed legislation.

Introduced as SB1130