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Treasurer Goldberg and the Department of Transitional Assistance Announce Education Saving Benefit for participants in the BabySteps Savings Plan and SNAP

Residents enrolled in both the BabySteps Savings Plan and SNAP will receive additional funding to save for their children’s future
BOSTON – State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg and the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) announced a new benefit for participants in both the BabySteps Savings Plan and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Starting September 1st, every Massachusetts baby enrolled in both the BabySteps Savings Plan and SNAP within one year of their birth or adoption is eligible to receive an additional monthly deposit of $10 to their MEFA U.Fund 529 account for one year. This benefit is added to the $50 seed deposit provided when signing up for BabySteps, making total deposits $170 in the first year.

Parents, guardians, or relatives can enroll the child up to 18 months after their birth to receive the additional monthly $10 benefit. Anyone interested in this opportunity can visit mass.gov/SNAPIntoBabySteps to learn more and complete the online form.

“For the past three years, the BabySteps Savings Plan has helped families to start saving for their children’s post-secondary education,” said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg. “By expanding support to many who are the most vulnerable, we are making higher education and vocational training accessible for even more Massachusetts residents.”

Last year, the State Legislature and Governor approved an amendment, passed by Senator Paul R. Feeney, to provide an additional $500,000 in funding for BabySteps to lessen barriers to savings programs for those who reside in low-to-moderate income cities and towns across Massachusetts. The Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation, led by Bob Hildreth, a champion of equity in higher education, donated $300,000 for the effort. Aside from the monthly deposits, this funding will be used to increase engagement with more families in vulnerable communities.

“BabySteps is a valuable savings tool aimed to get more children to pursue post-secondary education or vocational training. With this funding, we will be able to reach more Massachusetts families where they are through progressive incentives and community-driven outreach,” said Bob Hildreth, Founder of Inversant and the Hildreth Institute.

“College or trade school can be prohibitively expensive for many families. By helping parents start saving early, BabySteps sets kids across Massachusetts up for success,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh. “This new partnership is going to increase economic mobility and access to education for many low-income Massachusetts families. I’m grateful to Treasurer Goldberg and the DTA team for their efforts to make postsecondary education more achievable for more low- and middle-income students.”

“SNAP Into BabySteps is a fantastic opportunity for families receiving SNAP benefits to help save for the future. We are thrilled to engage with the Treasury department and we hope families take advantage of this exciting program,” said DTA Commissioner Jeff McCue.

“BabySteps has been a tremendous success in helping families learn the value of saving early,” said Tom Graf, Executive Director of MEFA. “With SNAP into BabySteps, our teams will reach even more families throughout Massachusetts, and we are excited to connect with community organizations to help spread the word about this important program.”

Treasurer Goldberg created the BabySteps Savings Plan with the intent of creating a bright future for Massachusetts children. According to the Institute for Economic and Racial Equity (IERE) at Brandeis University, at-birth Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs), like BabySteps, help foster positive social-emotional health and postsecondary identities in children. Over 1.2 million families are saving through CSAs nationally.

Features of CSAs, like the free $50 seed deposit provided when families open up a U.Fund 529 account through BabySteps, make saving early accessible to more people. Low-to-moderate-income families, who have historically been excluded from postsecondary education, can begin to invest in their children’s future at a young age. The Institute on Assets and Social Policy and Prosperity Now found that children from low-income families with $1 to $499 in college savings are three times more likely to enroll in and four times more likely to complete college.

Since 2020, the BabySteps Savings Plan has helped over 26,000 families start saving for their children’s education, vocational training, and apprenticeships. Families have received over $1 million through the free $50 seed deposits. To learn more about the program, visit mass.gov/BabySteps.

About the Office of Economic Empowerment

Treasurer Goldberg created the Office of Economic Empowerment, led by a deputy treasurer, with the deliberate goal of implementing a range of economic empowerment initiatives that include closing the race and gender wage gap, addressing racial equity, increasing access to financial education, and creating pathways to economically stable futures for all residents across the state.

About the Department of Transitional Assistance

The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) assists and empowers low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, improve their quality of life, and achieve long term economic self-sufficiency. DTA serves one in seven residents of the Commonwealth with direct economic assistance (cash benefits) and food assistance (SNAP benefits), as well as workforce training opportunities.

About the Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation

The Hildreth Stewart Charitable Foundation is dedicated to empowering low-to-moderate-income families by providing them with educational opportunities, social support systems, and financial resources necessary for their well-being. We believe in upholding the dignity of all individuals, demonstrating empathy toward those in need, and actively challenging ignorance, incivility, and systemic inequities.

Driven by a spirit of curiosity and informed by thorough research, our foundation remains open to a broad selection of causes and projects. We believe in taking calculated risks and supporting ventures that align with our mission, displaying our unwavering commitment to dismantling structural barriers to success.
The projects our donor, Robert Hildreth, initiated exemplify our mission, reflecting our willingness to tackle challenging issues and our deep passion for creating a more equitable society.

About MEFA

MEFA is a state authority, not reliant on state or federal appropriations, established under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 15C. MEFA’s mission, since its founding in 1982, has been to help Massachusetts students and families access and afford higher education and reach financial goals through education programs, tax-advantaged savings plans, low-cost loans, and expert guidance. All of MEFA’s work aligns with the ever-present goal to support the independence, growth, and success of Massachusetts students and families. Visit mefa.org to learn more or follow MEFA on Twitter @mefatweets, on Facebook at mefaMA, and on Instagram at @mefa_ma.

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