The Nevada College Kick Start Program


In the fall of 2013, the State Treasurer’s Office launched an exciting new pilot program aimed at instilling the dream of a college education in the minds of Nevada school children. The Nevada College Kick Start Program (“Program”) established 529 college savings scholarship accounts for all new fall 2013 kindergarten public-school students in 13 of Nevada’s most rural communities. In February 2014, the Nevada College Kick Start Program expanded statewide to include all public-school kindergarten children in Nevada. As of September 2019, more than 208,000 students have been added to the Program statewide.

The Nevada College Kick Start Program does not cost parents anything and parents are not able to contribute to the account. It truly is a free $50 college savings scholarship account for your child. The Program uses a portion of program management fees, not taxpayer dollars, to open an SSGA Upromise 529 college savings account with an initial deposit of $50 for every public-school kindergarten student in Nevada. The funds are held in a Master Account, with the State Treasurer’s Office as the account owner. The Master Account is managed by Ascensus College Savings, the program manager for the College Savings Plans of Nevada.

The Nevada College Kick Start scholarship accounts are established automatically based on information provided by the Nevada Department of Education or the individual school districts to the Treasurer’s Office, including the child’s name and school district ID number. The Nevada College Kick Start scholarship account will expire, and all funds will be returned to the Program if the account is not claimed by August 1st following the child’s 4th grade year. Please visit NV529.org to learn how to “claim your child’s account”. Once the account has been claimed, the available funds will need to be used for qualified higher education expenses before the child reaches the age of 25 or those funds will be returned to the Program.

Research conducted by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis outlined in, “The Role of Savings and Wealth in Reducing ‘Wilt’ Between Expectations and College Attendance,” found that children with a college savings account are up to seven times more likely to attend college than those without an account. Similarly, a study conducted by the University of Kansas’ School of Social Welfare found that college savings send a strong message to children: “You are a college saver. You are college-bound.” The study also concluded that “Even small accounts, in many cases inadequate to even buy books for a semester, increase perseverance and improve academic preparation.” It is important to note that such conclusions applied regardless of family income, ethnicity, or the educational attainment of the child’s parents.

According to a study by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University by 2020 65% of jobs will require post-secondary education. As of 2011, only 28% of Nevada adults hold an associate degree or higher, one of the lowest college educated populaces in the nation. As Nevada works to diversify the local economy, creating high level jobs with better pay and benefits will require a more educated workforce to fill those positions. In order to develop a workforce that is able to compete in a global economy, it is essential more Nevadan’s plan for higher education.

Therefore, the concept behind the Nevada College Kick Start Program can play an important role in creating a “college-going culture” by planting a seed in the minds of Nevada kindergartners and their parents that attending and graduating from an institution of higher learning is a goal within reach.