January 2023

Highlights from the Keystone Scholars Annual Report

If this headline gives you Déjá vu, it’s not you…

We’ve updated the reporting timeline to follow the state’s fiscal year, ending June 30, so the Keystone Scholars (KS) annual report is now issued in the fall.

This year’s report includes metrics depicting registration and linked PA 529 account data by urban and rural areas, as well as by birth year and the WIC status of KS babies’ mothers. A logic model for the program, as well as monitoring and evaluating outcomes, guided the creation of these metrics. Partners are encouraged to use this data to raise awareness of the KS program and track engagement among different demographic groups.

Together we are making great strides in raising awareness among families across the state about KS! Click here to download a copy of the annual report! Additional highlights include:

  • Reaching new and diverse audiences remained a priority for KS. Data indicates PA 529 account ownership increased in nearly all rural counties in the three years after the program launched as compared to pre-program years.
  • KS’s leadership team was active in thought leadership in the Child Development Account field. Staff highlighted our work at multi-state events and promoted the idea of a national CDA policy that could build upon state 529 plans the way KS does.
  • We continue to focus on deepening local partnerships and building new ones to raise program awareness.

    One important initiative is a partnership with WIC provider Adagio Health and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation in southwestern PA, that provides extra deposits into the KS accounts of babies born in 2021 for each year they continue participation in an eligible WIC program.

    This model of celebrating important milestones in children’s lives is something KS seeks to continue to do, along with identifying new organizations interested in making additional deposits for children in their communities.
  • A group of community-based organizations in Berks County, as well as the office of state Senator Judy Schwank, met regularly to find innovative ways to raise KS awareness for Berks County children. In particular, the Reading School District developed co-branded KS promotional materials in English and Spanish to send home with the district’s 17,000 students. You can find examples of these in the annual report’s appendix.
  • Outreach staff promoted KS at numerous community events and county fairs, at gatherings with state legislators, community leaders, community organizations, libraries and more.
  • KS continued to be marketed to families across the commonwealth through diversified media including billboards, digital, and TV and radio advertisements. The redesign of PA 529’s website included a revamped KS page with improved functionality and a more robust FAQ section.
  • Emails were sent to families who have pre-registered, as well as those who have registered for KS but not yet opened a PA 529 account.
  • About four to five months after the birth of a child, Treasury mails each eligible family a letter introducing their child’s KS account and encouraging registration. In the first six months of 2022 over 54,000 letters were mailed.

Fast Facts

As of December 31, 2022:
483,815 PA children had funded Keystone Scholars accounts

Registration Rates by birth year:

It is encouraging to see registration rates for each birth year go up as the children age. Thank you for helping to ensure families know about the program and register!

New Unique Code

As an alternative to using the PA birth certificate number, All Keystone Scholars children now have a new unique code that can be used to register their account online. Either number may be used on the Keystone Scholars registration page.

A secondary code was created in response to feedback that requiring the birth certificate number has been a hurdle for families to register accounts. The unique code is not linked to any sensitive data and does not require families to use a birth certificate.

Families of all newborns will begin to receive this unique code, and this code can be provided to partner organizations to assist families in registering children’s Keystone Scholars accounts online.

We hope this new option is a helpful solution and would appreciate your feedback about its use!

Keystone Scholars Champions Have a Huge Impact

Consider being a KS Champion! Being a champion is a caring and impactful investment for the families and children in your community. Champions can be any organization or individual that makes additional deposits into Keystone Scholars accounts for children in their community.

  • Individuals (non-family members)
  • Employers
  • Community-based Organizations
  • Government Entities
  • Support Agencies
  • Faith-based Organizations
  • Philanthropic and Educational Foundations

Champion Deposits

  • Can be a one-time contribution
  • Multiple deposits to highlight milestones in children’s lives
  • Champions can be a key player in building on the initial $100 investment to help children grow wealth, confidence and envision a bright future. 
  • Can be targeted to all children within a particular community, or for certain segment of the population i.e.: low-income, faith-based, minority, or affiliate to the Champion

Interested in serving as a Keystone Scholars Champion? Contact Anne DeCecco, Director – Keystone Scholars at adececco@patreasury.gov for more information.

Bring the KS Outreach Team to Your Neighborhood

PA Treasury has an outreach team that is available to work with you in your community at events and gatherings to help grow KS awareness and registrations. Reach out to Barbara Holbert, Director – Outreach & Marketing, to discuss options and scheduling at bholbert@patreasury.gov or call Tiffany Thomas (717) 705-4073 or visit www.pa529/keystone/ for more details.

Partner Spotlight

Special recognition to Dr. George Dalembert, Dr. Zoe Bouchelle, Kate Morrow, and Katie Gwynn of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for their continued outstanding partnership. Through its work at CHOP’s Medical Financial Partnership, this group has undertaken numerous initiatives to promote KS, including publishing an op-ed celebrating KS as a “gift of education—and health,” integrating information-sharing about the program into well-visit checklists, dedicating a Resource Navigator to assist families in registering their accounts, and surveying and interviewing CHOP families about the program. This has yielded valuable feedback for improvements.

Thank you, George, Zoe, Kate, and Katie, for helping to strengthen the Keystone Scholars program and ensure that families are capturing its benefits!

Keystone Scholars Partner Resources

Our website has partner resources and supplies, such as print, video, PowerPoint slides and e-resources, or you can contact us for in-person and virtual presentations. Let us help the kids in your community start their savings journey!

View Resources View Partners