HARRISBURG — Treasurer Joe Torsella recently praised Governor Tom Wolf’s signing into law of the Keystone Scholars program passed by the General Assembly as part of the FY 2018-19 budget legislation package.
Keystone Scholars establishes a $100 scholarship grant account at birth for every newborn who is a Pennsylvania resident or adopted by a Pennsylvania family to be invested for higher education. The grants serve as a catalyst to change expectations and set every child in Pennsylvania up for success by helping families save for college and career expenses as early as possible. Additionally, with the implementation of Keystone Scholars, Pennsylvania will now become the largest state in the country to implement this type of innovative child savings account program.
“Keystone Scholars sends a powerful message to Pennsylvania’s future workforce. This $100 investment shows that we believe in the children of the Commonwealth and see a bright future for every one of them,” said Torsella. “No matter where they live in Pennsylvania or where their talents take them, Keystone Scholars will be there. I’m thankful for the support of Governor Wolf, the leadership of original co-sponsors Senators John Gordner and Vincent Hughes, Representative Duane Milne, and the efforts of many other legislative leaders who have worked to bring this bipartisan idea to every child of Pennsylvania.”
The $100 scholarship grant will grow through investment in a PA 529 account, and is not paid for with any taxpayer funds. The program will be funded from existing surplus investment earnings within the PA Guaranteed Savings Program as well as philanthropic donations. Families have until their child turns 29 years old to use the funds. The scholarship grant – and any additional college savings each family saves by opening a PA 529 account – can be used for any qualified higher education expense at an approved institution of higher education, including trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges, and universities in or outside Pennsylvania.
Keystone Scholars became law as part of the Fiscal Code (HB 1929) of the 2018-19 budget process. Any child who is a Pennsylvania resident at birth or adopted by a Pennsylvania family on or after Jan. 1, 2019, will be eligible to participate in the program.
In February, Treasurer Torsella launched the Keystone Scholars demonstration project – a privately funded pilot program open to families welcoming a child in 2018 or 2019, who are residents in one of six pre-selected counties: Delaware, Elk, Luzerne, Indiana, Mifflin, or Westmoreland. Torsella visited each county selected to participate in the demonstration project and held county launch events with local legislators and community partners.
For more information on the Keystone Scholars program visit www.pa529.com/keystone and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of the department’s news on Facebook and Twitter.