The Bright Future Booster is a new program which provides an extra $50 for babies born between January 1 and June 30, 2021 to moms enrolled in WIC at the time of the child’s birth. Learn more.

Get a Head Start on Education Savings with $100 from Keystone Scholars!

Keystone Scholars is available for every baby born to a PA family after December 31, 2018!

A child with education savings is three times more likely to enroll in a two- or four-year college and four times more likely to graduate.1

That’s why PA Treasury is investing $100 to be used for the baby’s future higher education expenses.

New and expectant parents will be able to register for online access approximately 5 months after the child’s birth using information from the child’s PA state birth certificate.

Baby wavying

Who is Eligible?

  • All babies born to a PA family after December 31, 2018.
map of the counties

Frequently Asked Questions

Keystone Scholars is an investment in every Pennsylvania baby’s bright future, including yours.

Keystone Scholars provides $100 for every baby born to a PA family on or after January 1, 2019 to be used for your child’s future post-secondary education expenses. The $100 is invested and will grow alongside your child. Your Keystone Scholars account can be used for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, fees, books, and more at a vocational or technical school, apprenticeship, community college, or four-year university.

Pennsylvania Treasury creates and funds the accounts on a monthly basis with birth data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Keystone Scholars families receive instructions in the mail on how to view their account about 5 months after their child is born.

By viewing your Keystone Scholars account online, you can track your funds’ growth and link it to your own PA 529 account to see all your child’s education savings in one place.

The Keystone Scholars funds can be used once the child turns 18 up until age 29.

By the time your child is ready to use the funds, they must be the beneficiary of an individual PA 529 account to request a withdrawal, and they must be a resident of Pennsylvania.

Keystone Scholars account funds can be used for qualified higher education expenses including tuition, fees, books, and more at a vocational or technical school, apprenticeships, community college, or four-year university anywhere in the country and at many schools abroad.

Family deposits cannot be made directly to the child’s Keystone Scholars account. In order to save additional funds for your child’s postsecondary education, you can open a PA 529 account. Doing so when your child is young gives your family the most time to save and for the money to grow. There is no minimum amount required to open or contribute to a PA 529. Learn more and open an account at pa529.com. Once your PA 529 is open, link it to your Keystone Scholars account to see all your education savings in one place.

Keystone Scholars families receive instructions in the mail on how to view their account about 5 months after their child is born. If you are expecting or you have not yet received your new parent letter, you can pre-register here to receive periodic reminders and program updates.

If your child is six months or older and you don’t have your letter, you can still log in to your account using your child’s PA birth certificate number. Contact us if you need assistance.

Our commonwealth’s future economic stability and job growth will be stronger if more families expect and plan for their child’s future education, whether that be vocational training, apprenticeships, community college, or four-year university. Currently, Pennsylvanians have one of the highest student loan debt loads nationwide and many families find it hard to get started saving when faced with many other household expenses.

Our goals are threefold:

  1. Maintain high parental expectations for their child’s future.
  2. Cultivate a future-focused identity in children.
  3. Jumpstart family savings for postsecondary education as early as possible.

Every dollar counts when it comes to paying for education. The $100 is meant to help families jumpstart their savings as soon as possible. If a family saves just $25 per month starting when their child is born, by age 18 that could grow to approximately $10,000.*

It’s also not just about the money. Research shows that when children have some money set aside for future education, their parents are more likely to expect them to go on to study after high school, and they in turn, are too.

* Assuming a 6% annual rate of return.

Pennsylvania Treasury administers Keystone Scholars through its PA 529 College and Career Savings Program.

529 plans help families save for education and provide special tax breaks to account owners as defined in Section 529 of the IRS tax code.

The Pennsylvania 529 College and Career Savings Program (PA 529) offers two different plans. The PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) is a lower-risk plan that helps your savings keep pace with rising higher education tuition. The PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) lets you choose from a number of investment options from Vanguard. Over the past several years, the IP has consistently received top ratings from Morningstar in its annual review of 529 plans.

Find out more at pa529.com.

By law Keystone Scholars cannot use any taxpayer funds. It is funded by surplus investment earnings from the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan. Philanthropic donations and other resources support targeted additional deposits like the Bright Future Booster.

Yes, several states such as Maine, Massachusetts, and Nebraska have similar Child Development Account (CDA) programs. Pennsylvania was the first state to enact a law providing for a state-wide universal, automatic (opt-out) CDA program at birth. The Keystone Scholars legislation has been lauded by experts as a model for other states.

Pennsylvania Treasury has no information on who may be in a foster situation. If a child is born to Pennsylvania residents on or after January 1, 2019, there is a Keystone Scholars account in that child’s name. Legal guardians can register and access the child’s account as long as they have the child’s birth certificate number, birth date, and zip code of the address used at the time of the child’s birth. If the account has previously been registered by another parent or guardian, we can assist you in resetting the login information upon verification. Contact us at Keystone@pa529.com or 800-440-4000.

All children born on or after January 1, 2019 who are subsequently adopted by Pennsylvania residents are eligible for a Keystone Scholars account. If the child has a PA birth certificate, their account can be registered online at pa529.com/keystone using the child’s birth certificate number, birth date, and zip code of the address used at the time of the child’s birth. If the child was born out of state, we will need a copy of the child’s birth certificate and a copy of parent driver’s license, as well as the completion of the “Keystone Scholars Adoption and/or Out-of-State Birth Questionnaire” form. Contact us for more details.

Yes, as long as the child was born on January 1, 2019 or after and the parents or legal guardians are Pennsylvania residents, they are eligible. To establish their account, we will need a copy of the child’s birth certificate and a copy of parent driver’s license, as well as the completion of the “Keystone Scholars Adoption and/or Out-of-State Birth Questionnaire” form. Contact us for more details on how to register your child.

To open a PA 529, the account owner must provide their Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as well as U.S. address, and meet the IRS definition of U.S. citizen or resident alien. The 529 account owner does not have to be the parent or legal guardian.* 

While it is best to open a PA 529 early in life to give savings the most time to grow, a child with a Keystone Scholars account can open a PA 529 account at age 18 using only their own SSN or ITIN in order to utilize their Keystone Scholars funds. 

*All assets in a PA 529 account, regardless of the source, become the property of the Account Owner. The purpose of the PA 529 is to provide a tax-advantaged way to save for the education of the beneficiary, but it is possible for the Account Owner to take a non-qualified withdrawal for another purpose.

Research shows that when children have some money set aside for future education, their parents are more likely to expect them to go on to study after high school, and they in turn, are too. One study found that a low- or moderate-income child with school savings of less than $500 is over three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate than a child with no savings account.

But CDAs like Keystone Scholars are more than just a savings account. Researchers believe that educational savings has this effect through increasing motivation and educational engagement. In addition, CDAs have been found to reduce maternal depressive symptoms, improve parent-child interactions, and improve the social-emotional development of children. These effects are even more significant among low-income families.

For more information on the evidence base for CDAs, read this research summary.

Connect With Us

Phone: 800-440-4000
Email: Keystone@PA529.com

 

Keystone Scholars
613 North Drive | Room G-06
Harrisburg, PA 17120