Oakland Promise’s “Brilliant Baby” program successfully enrolls more than 1,000 families in college savings accounts
Oakland Promise has enrolled more than 1,000 families into its “Brilliant Baby” program. It helps low-income families fund their children's college education by providing an initial 500 dollar investment.
The initial deposit is funded by a combination of donations from the City of Oakland, private companies, and individuals.
This is how it works: the money is put into a 529 plan and the investment accrues over time. A 529 plan enables the college account owner to receive special tax benefits.
For Oakland Promise, its combined investment from more than 1,000 families has seen a nearly 33 percent gain since 2017.
In order to qualify, a baby must be under one-years of age, a resident of Oakland, and eligible for Medi-Cal. In addition, the program provides each family with a financial literacy coach, as well as general parenting workshops.
Oakland Promise is part of a larger effort to address educational inequalities in the Oakland area.
In a study by the California Department of Education looking at 2017-2018 college-going data, 58 percent of Oakland high school graduates enrolled in college within a year of graduating. That’s six percent lower than the state average.