Consentino Launches State Pilot Program for Savings and Financial Education

(File photograph.)

Consentino seventh-graders are partnering with Haverhill High School business students next week as part of the state's new SoarMA program, an initiative designed to provide financial education and help low-income families save for college. (File photograph)

Haverhill is just one of five Massachusetts communities tapped by the state to participate in the SoarMA program, a two-year pilot program funded through public-private partnerships designed to help low-income families save for postsecondary education and to provide a financial education curriculum.

The Massachusetts State Treasurer, the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, and Inversant, Inc. have partnered to make the SoarMA program available to students in five pilot cities: Haverhill, Lowell, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester.

One middle school has been selected from each city and each seventh grade student enrolled in one of these schools during the 2017-2018 school year is eligible to participate. In Haverhill, the program is being launched at Consentino Middle School.

Business students from Haverhill High School will be working with the seventh graders at Consentino the week of April 23, 8:45 – 10:15 a.m., doing fun activities that teach the middle schoolers about finances and budgeting. A team from the state treasurer’s office is expected to be there on Wednesday, April 25 to observe.

According to the SoarMA website, www.soarma529.org/about/, “research shows that establishing a college savings account may make a child up to seven times more likely to attend college.”

The accounts offered through SoarMA are eligible for certain tax advantages that are designed to encourage savings for higher education. The accounts are offered through MEFA’s U.Fund, which is sponsored by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and managed by Fidelity Investments.

Eligible seventh-graders will be provided with a $50 seed deposit and the program will match up to an additional $400 of savings deposited into the student’s U.Fund account for up to a year after the account is opened.