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College Set offers matching savings to low-income students

10,000 Degrees scholars participating in national initiative to build better futures

(San Rafael, CA) –Juma Ventures, with seed funding from BlackRock, Inc., has created a national initiative, CollegeSet, to help build better financial futures for low-income students. CollegeSet will provide college savings accounts to young people across the country by 2012, beginning with 1,000 lowincome students in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. 10,000 Degrees scholars will be participating in the dollar-for-dollar match of deposits into their savings accounts.
The program will incentivize students to save for higher education through a dollar-for-dollar match of deposits into their individual development accounts (IDA). Participating students will receive academic and college-readiness support from a consortium of nationally-recognized nonprofit organizations, including Bottom Line, Children's Aid Society, City University of New York, College Track, Harlem Children's Zone, Upward Bound, and 10,000 Degrees.

The initiative is a response to a growing educational and financial crisis. Over a third of America’s college students, and over half of all minority students, fail to earn a degree, even after six years. Last year student loans surpassed revolving credit as the single greatest source of debt for American families. The average cost of tuition rose nine percent in 2011. Nationally, student loans total more than $850 billion. The goal of CollegeSet is to close this opportunity gap by helping to eliminate the financial barrier to a college education.

“The transformation from student-in-need to college graduate is inspirational to witness,” said 10,000 Degrees’ President Kim Mazzuca. “But it doesn’t happen nearly enough. Too many kids in marginalized communities never get the chance to pursue higher education. There is huge need and there is huge promise. We believe CollegeSet can help bring the promise of a better life through education to fruition.”

Here’s how it works:

• Each student receives a college savings account through Citibank, as well as a financial literacy education to ensure that they make the most of that account.

• CollegeSet creates a multiplier effect that encourages students to save. Participants receive a dollar-for-dollar match of their own college savings. They also receive a $250 deposit into their savings accounts whenever they complete a key milestone on the path to a four-year degree.

For more information about the CollegeSet program, please contact 10,000 Degrees: 415-451-4017 or Nick Hutchinson, Chief Development Officer at Juma Ventures: 415-371-0727 x311

10,000 Degrees (www.10000degrees.org) has more than 30 years of providing college access programs, scholarships and college completion support to students in need of all ages.  Since 1981, 10,000 Degrees (formerly Marin Education Fund) has distributed more than 27,000 scholarships to Marin residents totaling more than $36 million. The low-income and traditionally underrepresented students who receive support are typically the first generation of their family to go to college. 10,000 Degrees has expanded programs to Sonoma County and Solano County to serve more students in need.

JumaVentures (www.juma.org) is a job-training and placement program serving more than 2,800 young people who have earned in excess of $3 million in wages and saved more than $2 million for higher education.

BlackRock (www.blackrock.com) is risk and investment management service for institutional and retail clients worldwide. Headquartered in New York City, the firm has approximately 10,2000 employees in 27 countries.

Download a PDF version of this press release.

Marin Independent Journal 11/11/2011 article: http://www.marinij.com/sanrafael/ci_19307382