College Kids Frequently Asked Questions
What is College Kids? ||
How does the College Kids account work? ||
My child is Kindergarten already? Can we still get an account? ||
How do I start saving in my child's account? ||
How much should I save? ||
Why should I save for College? ||
What are the College Kids bonuses and rewards? ||
How often can you receive the incentives for my child's account? ||
Where do the funds for incentives come from? ||
How do I sign up for bonus and incentive program? ||
How do I check my child's account balance? ||
I contributed a few days ago. When will I see this contribution on my students activity page? ||
What type of account is the College kids account? ||
How does the city own the account if I'm depositing my own money in it? ||
Do I need to take steps to open my child's account? ||
Can I deposit part of my tax refund into my child's account? ||
Why can't I withdraw the money from my College Kids account? ||
Will a College Kids account disqualify my child for college financial aid? ||
Will a College Kids account affect our family's eligibility for public assistance? ||
Are there any tax implications with this account, and do I have to report it on my taxes? ||
What happens if my child moves out of the district or City schools ||
Can I use the funds for any kinds of costs? Does it have to be tuition? ||
What will happen to the account if my child doesn't go to college? ||
Can I transfer the account to a different family member if the funds go unused? ||
Can I use College Kids funds outside of the United States? ||
Who is the Beneficiary if my child dies? ||
WHAT IS COLLEGE KIDS?
A: College Kids is an initiative by the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office to provide Children’s Savings Accounts for all kindergartners entering St. Louis Public Schools and St. Louis charter schools. Each eligible child starts kindergarten with a savings account at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union that has an initial deposit of $50 and is specifically designed for postsecondary education expenses, such as tuition, books or test fees.
HOW DOES THE COLLEGE KIDS ACCOUNT WORK?
A: When a child starts kindergarten in a St. Louis City public school, the City Treasurer’s Office sets up a college account for the child with its first $50 deposit.
Parents and guardians will receive a welcome kit with program information and an account number. Once you receive the account card, the account is active and you can start saving.
MY CHILD HAS ALREADY ENTERED KINDERGARTEN. CAN HE OR SHE STILL GET A COLLEGE KIDS ACCOUNT?
A: Unfortunately at this time we do not have the capacity to open accounts for students that entered school before the 2015-2016 kindergarten class.
HOW DO I START SAVING IN MY CHILD'S ACCOUNT?
A: There are three ways you can make contributions to a College Kids account:
In Person: Contribute at any designated 1st Financial Federal Credit Union location or Shared Branch Network location. Bring your deposit (cash, check or money order) and your student’s account number with you. Credit union staff will not be able to provide information about your account number or current balance. Please contact College Kids directly at 314-622-4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you need additional account information.
By Mail: Make out your check or money order to your child and write their account number in the memo line. Do not send cash in the mail.
Send the deposit to:
1st Financial Federal Credit Union
1232 Wentzville Parkway
Wentzville, MO 63385
By Direct Deposit: Direct deposit is a service that can automatically deposit funds from any regularly scheduled payment, such as your paycheck, into your student’s savings account. It is convenient and saves you from worrying about lost or stolen checks and puts saving first before spending. Complete the direct deposit form here and submit the form to your company’s Payroll department (or other payor, such as Social Security).
Using Online Bill Pay: You can make a deposit using Online Bill Pay from your bank or credit union by following these steps:
Contact your financial institution (bank or credit union) about setting up Bill Pay.
Add the student’s account number to your payee list, without spaces or dashes. You may need the 1st Financial Federal Credit Union routing number, found on your account card.
Choose whether you want to make a one-time or recurring payment.
Biller address--enter the following address:
1232 Wentzville Parkway
Wentzville, MO 63385
By Phone: Call: (636) 916-8300 and follow the prompts to complete the addition of the biller and set up a one-time or recurring payment.
Once you have entered this biller in your bank’s bill pay section, you will not have to enter the biller’s information again and all payments can now be sent electronically.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I SAVE?
A:How much you save depends on you and your family. For some families, it helps to set monthly or yearly savings goals. For others, it is easier to contribute when you can, such as during birthdays, during tax time, holidays or other special events. Even small contributions will add up and make a difference. Every dollar you save is a dollar your child won’t have to borrow in the future.
For more information about college expenses, visit www.savingforcollege.com.
WHY SHOULD I SAVE FOR COLLEGE?
A: It can mean a lot to a child to learn that their parents believe college is a reality. Saving even a few dollars for a child’s future can have a big impact on future dreams for the both child and family.
Savings alone may not cover the full cost. Most students who apply for financial aid qualify for grants, work study or subsidized loans. A select few students are awarded full, four-year scholarships based on academic performance, athletic ability or financial need. Most students do not receive full assistance. Most likely, the school will expect you and your child to contribute to the total cost.
WHAT ARE THE COLLEGE KIDS BONUSES AND REWARDS?
A: College Kids offers incentives to earn money in your child's account, in addition to the $50 opening deposit by the City of St. Louis’ Treasurer’s Office. These incentives encourage you and your children to save for higher education.
Attendance: Students can earn up to $20 per school year. Parents must sign a waiver of consent to share information from the schools with the Treasurer’s Office to be eligible for this program. This form will be included in your welcome packet.
Steady Saver: Deposits up to the first $100 will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.
Financial Education: Parents and guardians are able to earn an additional $50 in contributions by completing financial education courses in-person, online through Wells Fargo Hands on Banking® and through the College Kids smartphone app.
HOW OFTEN CAN I RECEIVE THE INCENTIVES FOR MY CHILD'S ACCOUNT?
A: Currently students can earn up to $30 per year for attendance, up to $100 in matching deposits, and up to $50 for financial education.
WHERE DO THE FUNDS FOR INCENTIVES COME FROM?
A: The $50 seed deposit that opens the account comes from the Treasurer’s Office. Incentives are funded via donations and annual fundraising efforts.
If you would like to donate to College Kids, click here.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR THE BONUS AND INCENTIVE PROGRAM?
A: Parental/guardian permission is required to apply the attendance bonus. Participation in College Kids in automatic for all students who entered kindergarten in 2015 or later. All information is kept confidential.
Please sign and date the proper consent form, give it to your child’s kindergarten teacher, or mail to:
City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office
Attn: Office of Financial Empowerment College Kids Program
1200 Market Street, Room 220
St. Louis, MO 63103
You may also email a signed copy of the consent form to email@example.com or fax it to 314-622-3782.
HOW DO I CHECK MY STUDENT'S COLLEGE KIDS ACCOUNT BALANCE?
A: You can check your account balance here.
You will need your account number. Follow the instructions to activate your account. If you have moved since the beginning of the school year, be sure to enter the zip code you used when registering your child for school this year. If you would prefer to check your account balance over the phone, please call the office at 314-622-4700 with your request. Credit union branch locations will NOT have access to your full account information and balance.
I CONTRIBUTED A FEW DAYS AGO. WHEN WILL I SEE THIS CONTRIBUTION ON MY STUDENT'S ACTIVITY PAGE ONLINE?
A: Direct deposit, online bill pay, and branch contributions may take up to 72 hours or more to show on your account balance. Contributions made by mail may take between 7-10 business days to complete. If you still do not see your transactions appearing after this time, please contact our office at 314-622-4700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT TYPE OF ACCOUNT IS THE COLLEGE KIDS ACCOUNT?
A: The account is a deposit-only savings account that is restricted for post-secondary educational use. College Kids accounts are custodial accounts owned by the City of St. Louis under its tax ID number, for the benefit of your child. Your child is named as the beneficiary of his/her account.
HOW DOES THE CITY OWN THE ACCOUNT IF I'M DEPOSITING MY OWN MONEY INTO IT?
A: The City of St. Louis Treasurer is the custodian on the account and your child is the beneficiary. The account can only be used for the benefit of your child and cannot be used by the Treasurer’s Office for other purposes.
Funds cannot be accessed without approval from the College Kids Program. There are limited circumstances when your child will be able to withdraw funds for non-qualified expenses. In these rare situations, you will only have access to the funds you or others contributed to the account.
WHY CAN'T I WITHDRAW THE MONEY IN MY COLLEGE KIDS ACCOUNT AT ANY TIME?
A: The College Kids account exists to help make college a possibility for every student. Contributions are bound to that purpose and funds are distributed only when a child enters postsecondary education. Funds for non-qualified expenses can only be withdrawn.
DO I NEED TO TAKE ANY STEPS TO OPEN MY CHILD'S ACCOUNT?
A: You do not need to take any steps to open your child’s account. All accounts for the benefit of incoming students are automatically opened by the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office. Once you receive your student’s account identification card and account number in the mail, you can start contributing to the account.
CAN I SEND PART OF MY TAX REFUND INTO MY CHILD'S COLLEGE KIDS ACCOUNT?
A: Tax refunds are a great opportunity to make an extra contribution into your account. You can deposit any portion directly into your College Kids account.
WILL A COLLEGE KIDS ACCOUNT DISQUALIFY MY CHILD FOR COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID?
A: No. Like other savings account vehicles, your child’s account will be included in the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on the Federal Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) when your child is ready to apply for college. The account will not disqualify your student for financial aid, but will be considered an asset of the student. Please contact a financial adviser or the College Kids office for more information and resources.
WILL THESE SAVINGS AFFECT OUR FAMILY'S ELIGIBILITY FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE?
A: No. Your College Kids account will not affect your eligibility because you do not personally hold your savings. All funds are held by the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office. However, when your student turns 21 she/he will be fully responsible for the account and at that time the account would be considered as an asset of your child.
ARE THERE ANY TAX IMPLICATIONS WITH THIS ACCOUNT, AND DO I HAVE TO REPORT IT ON MY TAXES?
A: Since all of the funds in the account are held by the Treasurer’s Office, you do not need to report this on your tax return.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD MOVES OUT OF THE DISTRICT OR CITY SCHOOLS?
A: Students will be able to maintain the account if they move out of the City or transfer to a private school. Any incentives accrued while attending a participating school will remain in the account, but students will be unable to earn future incentives. All program rules still apply to the use of funds from the account.
CAN I USE THE FUNDS FOR ANY KINDS OF COST? DOES IT HAVE TO BE TUITION?
A: Your College Kids account is a Children’s Savings Account (CSA) and strict rules apply to these programs. All savings are dedicated to postsecondary education after high school. This includes tuition for college, community college, or other kinds of training programs. It can also be used for books and other education-related expenses during the senior year of high school, such as ACT prep classes or college application fees.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE ACCOUNT IF MY CHILD DOESN'T GO TO COLLEGE?
A: College Kids funds can be used toward other kinds of post-secondary education including community colleges, vocational and technical training programs.
Deposits made by individuals (participants, family members, etc.) are considered “Non-Program Funds” and may be accessed by the participant when the beneficiary is 21 years old. At that time, if students have Non-Program funds in their accounts and are unable to be reached in order to gain responsibility for the funds, remaining balances will be turned over to Missouri’s Unclaimed Property Division. Unused Program funds (such as the initial $50 deposit and any Bonuses & Rewards earned) will be returned to the Program for other students to access.
CAN I TRANSFER THE ACCOUNT TO A DIFFERENT FAMILY MEMBER IF THE FUNDS GO UNUSED?
A: No. The funds deposited under your child’s name by you, family members or others outside of the College Kids Program, are irrevocable and non-transferable.
CAN I USE COLLEGE KIDS FUNDS OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES?
A: Current banking rules do not allow College Kids funds to be used outside of the United States.
IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO MY CHILD, WHO IS THE BENEFICIARY?
A: In that event, once College Kids is contacted by the parent or legal guardian and provided with the required information to withdraw their child from the program, all Non-Program contributions made for the benefit of the student will be sent by mail to the address on record.