Helping families prepare for the future

Parents often find themselves bending over backwards, and then some, to make sure their children are properly cared for and growing up to be happy and healthy. They do all they can to make sure every want and need is met from cradle to college, helping mold the next generation of community leaders. All too often, however, planning for what comes next after high school graduation seems like a distant and unimportant topic. Until it isn’t.

When meeting with constituents to talk about issues that matter most to them, time and time again I am told that college and career training affordability is the one of the most pressing issue for families.

While the General Assembly continues to work to make college and career training more affordable, I am happy to report on a relatively new program aimed at helping families with newborns jumpstart financial planning for their children’s futures.

On June 22, 2018, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law The Keystone Scholars program.  The program, under the direction of Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella, provides a $100 starter deposit into a PA 529 account for every child born or adopted to a Pennsylvania family on or after Jan. 1, 2019, to be used for future post-secondary education expenses.

The money will then grow through investments and can be used for a wide variety of qualifying secondary education expenses, such as trade school, vocational programs, community colleges and universities. If proper investments are made by families, the funding has the potential to grow to approximately $10,000 by the age of 18.

I’m happy to share that the program also requires zero funding from taxpayer dollars. Rather, funds are invested as part of the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan and funded by surplus investment earnings and donations from across the commonwealth.

As the father of a newborn daughter, I am all too familiar with the countless tasks and concerns on a new parent’s mind day in and day out. By allowing the state to help take care of distant, but equally important tasks, we are able to spend more time cherishing and nurturing our children while they are still precious and young.

This program is working to help families adequately plan for the future and providing them with the tools needed to make sure they are ready to take on the cornerstone of adulthood. Before we know it, we’ll be swapping out the diapers for caps and gowns and pretending it’s the sun in our eyes, not tears.

To get a head start on planning for your children’s futures, I encourage you to visit the Keystone Scholars website at www.pa529.com/keystone to learn more about this incredible program. New and expecting parents can pre-register today!

I hope you find these issues as important as I do. As always, please contact my office at 570-342-4348 if you have any questions or comments on these bills, or on any state-related matter. Hearing what issues and causes are most important to you helps me develop and fine tune my policy standpoints.