CollegeBound Saint Paul Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible for the program?

Children are eligible for CollegeBound Saint Paul if they are born on or after January 1, 2020 and meet one of the following two criteria:

  • Are a Saint Paul resident at birth OR
  • Become a Saint Paul resident before age six

A child is considered a Saint Paul resident if at least one of the child’s parents, legal guardian, or caretaker make their residence in Saint Paul.

This eligibility definition ensures that children in various family circumstances are eligible for the program, such as:

  • Children who are adopted by Saint Paul resident parent(s) before the age of six
  • Children born to Saint Paul resident parent(s) who are temporarily living abroad, such as those serving in the military or Peace Corps
  • Children born to an incarcerated parent who is a resident of Saint Paul


Can accounts only be used at four-year colleges and universities?

No, funds can be used for a broad range of educational opportunities, including four-year colleges and universities, two-year and community colleges, and workforce or vocational training.

Which financial institution will the accounts be held with?

  • The accounts will be held by Bremer Bank, who is the City’s financial partner.
  • Bremer Bank is providing CollegeBound Saint Paul account holding services at no cost to the City and at no cost to the account holders.

How is the program funded?

To ensure sustainability, CollegeBound Saint Paul will have a range of funding sources. The City will fund the program staff and the account/information management platform through the Office of Financial Empowerment. The seed deposits, family outreach and engagement and bonuses will be funded through local community foundations, corporate foundations and donors, as well as individual donors.


$50 won’t pay for college, so why do college savings accounts (CSA) matter?

Even small amounts of savings can make a difference in whether children attend and graduate from college. One study found that children from low-income households with college savings of $500 or less are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than low-income children who do not have savings. The money in a CSA can help address critical gaps financial aid may not cover, such as books, transportation or living expenses. These expenses can loom large for children from low-income families, so CSAs can increase the likelihood that they complete postsecondary education.

Are there other college savings account programs?

Yes. College savings accounts have been researched since 2003, with San Francisco launching the first program, Kindergarten to College, in 2011. Several cities have since followed, including Saint Louis (MO), Lansing (MI), and Oakland (CA). As of December 2018, nearly half a million children have college savings accounts in 65 programs across the country. College Bound Saint Paul builds on the best practices of these other programs, while being the first citywide, automatic college savings account program to begin at birth.

The concept of CSAs was initially tested through a demonstration program, Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Down payment (SEED), beginning in 2003, and the field has continued to be driven by research.

Will community organizations and community members play a role in the program?

Yes, community partners will be vital to the program’s success. Community-based organizations will provide enrollment outreach, ongoing engagement, and financial capability services. The program will have multiple community partners providing different levels of services ranging from low-touch to intensive.

The program will have a community governing body—made up of community leaders representing the diversity of the city—to ensure community-driven oversight and continuous quality improvements of program operations and outcomes. In addition, a network of program ambassadors—including Saint Paul leaders such as students, parents, and educators—will support outreach and engagement for the CSA program and complement the efforts of CSA program staff and partners. Finally, organizations and businesses, along with individual residents, will be able to sign up as program champions who support and endorse the program and its vision.


Will a CollegeBound Saint Paul impact other benefits I get?

No. Since the City will own the account and your child will be named the beneficiary, your savings will not be counted against you in programs like SNAP, SSI, etc. and you do not have to report it on your taxes.

How do we start saving in my child’s CollegeBound Saint Paul account?

There are many ways to contribute to your child’s account:

  • In person: Make a deposit at any Bremer Bank location. Bring your deposit (cash, check, or money order) and your child’s account number with you.
  • By mail: Send your check deposit by mail to Bremer. Make sure you write your child’s account number on the memo line.
  • By direct deposit: Direct deposit is a service that automatically deposit funds from your paycheck into your child’s savings account.
  • Online Bill Pay (ACH): You can make a deposit using Online Bill Pay from your bank or credit union. You can choose whether you want to make a one-time or recurring payment.

Why should we save for college?

It can mean a lot to a child to learn that their families believe college is a reality. Saving even a few dollars for your child’s future can have a big impact on their dreams. It sends a message that college is an important goal for your little one. Every dollar you save now is a dollar your child won’t have to borrow in the future.

How much should we save?

How much you save depends on you and your family. For some families, it helps to set monthly or yearly savings goals, such as $10 a month. For others, it is easier to contribute when you can, such as birthdays, holidays, with your tax refund, 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.

What type of account is the CollegeBound Saint Paul account?

Your child’s account is a deposit-only account restricted for education or training after high school. This means that you can put money in, but you can’t take money out until your child is 18 and they are ready to use the money for college. The account is owned by the City of Saint Paul and your child is named as the beneficiary on the account.

What happens if a child moves out of Saint Paul?

If your family leaves Saint Paul, please reach out to the City’s Office of Financial Empowerment to notify the program of a change of address. Children who move out of Saint Paul can keep their account open, continue to make deposits, and retain any program-provided funds (e.g., initial deposit and bonuses) already accrued. However, they are not eligible to receive any future bonuses while they are not Saint Paul residents.

What will happen to the account if my child doesn’t go to college?

CollegeBound Saint Paul 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 until age 25.  At that time, if participants have non-program funds in their accounts and unable to be reached in order to disburse funds, remaining balances will be turned over to the Minnesota Unclaimed Property Division. Unused program funds (seed deposits, bonuses) will be returned to the program for future students to access.

What are the bonuses my child can receive?

Potential program bonuses include:

  • Program Engagement – Account portal login bonus
  • Milestone/Engagement – Well-baby visit bonus
  • Milestone/Engagement – Financial capability engagement bonus
  • Milestone – 1st birthday bonus
  • Bonus – Children from low-income households

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