Nevada College Kick Start Pilot Program Introduced in Washoe Co. - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nevada College Kick Start Pilot Program Introduced in Washoe County

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Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall has launched a program for some of our young students in Nevada, called the Nevada College Kick Start program.

On Monday, families came out to an event at the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows to learn more about the pilot program their children are a part of.

Marshall tells me the program looks to improve the Silver State's graduation rates at higher learning institutions.

"I think we facilitate a college-bound culture here in Nevada," she said. "These children are our future."

She says the program establishes a $50 college savings accounts for each 2013-2014 public school kindergarten students in 13 rural Nevada counties, along with around 440 student children in seven Washoe County schools. The Nevada State Treasurers Office says the chosen Washoe County schools are Corbett, Kate Smith, Lemelson S.T.E.M. Academy, Libby Booth, Lincoln Park, Veteran's Memorial and Natchez.

It's important to note, the student does not have to use the money in Nevada. They can go to college out of state or attend a trade school. Marshall says she wants the program to be statewide in the future.

"You put $50 in an account, and it tells that child in a tangible and real world way they're college-bound," she said. "They're seven times more likely to go to college because they know there's money there, and they know they have a future."

Marshall says it doesn't come out of the taxpayers' pockets. The $50 in each participating students' accounts was provided as a grant by groups like Charles Schwab Bank.

After the money is put into the account, it's up to the families to continue putting money in with a variety of options to make it grow. Marshall also encouraged parents to open another college savings account with as little as $15. Marshall says she lowered that starting fee from $250.

"The cost of college just keeps escalating that middle class families, upper-middle class families, working-class families, everyone feels it's out of reach, and this is a way for us to extend a helping hand and say, 'we're there with you,'" Marshall said.

She told the crowd of a way to help those families that make less than $75,000 a year, and still try to put money away for school.

"If you make less than $75,000 a year, and you put money in a college savings account, I will match it dollar-for-dollar up to $300 a year, for five years," she said. "You must start before your child is 14."

I talked to parents who say it's a great program to help their children have a better future.

"It's important for him to go to college because now he has a better chance of going than when we did when we were younger," said Trisha Chandler of Sparks. "Now, you have to work multiple jobs to pay for tuition, but then they have the $50 that starts the program."

"This Nevada College Kick Start program is a very good program for the kids," said Sheldon Calloway of Reno. "It gives them the opportunity to do things that some other people never had. ...College education gives them a very good well-being of knowledge."

On Thursday, there will be another meeting at Natchez Elementary School (1 Highway 447, Wadsworth), starting at 6 p.m.

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Written by Adam Varahachaikol
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