OAKLAND – California State Treasurer Fiona Ma presented a $10,000 “Scholar Dollars” grant today from the ScholarShare 529 program to Cleveland Elementary, an ethnically and socio-economically diverse school in Oakland.
The money will be used to purchase library books, basic supplies for teachers and a central, physical display case and information board to post information in multiple languages for parents and students.
“This grant will enhance learning and communication at Cleveland Elementary and, of course, support the sharing of information about the importance of getting a higher education,” said Treasurer Ma, who chairs the ScholarShare Investment Board that sets investment policies and oversees all activities of ScholarShare, the state’s 529 college investment plan. The program enables Californians to save for college by putting money in tax-advantaged investments.
“Scholar Dllars” supports extracurricular and enrichment programs that in some cases were cut or dropped altogether because of budget cuts,” added Treasurer Ma. “This year it has awarded more than $300,000 to 20 K-8 schools throughout the state to fund technology, music, art, theater, computer science, sports, and other programs.”
The “Scholar Dollars” program helps schools improve the enrichment programs that inspire students, spark their curiosity, and help motivate them to pursue college or other higher education opportunities.
Schools win “Scholar Dollars” grant awards by mobilizing their communities to cast votes. This year 377 schools competed and more than 285,000 votes were cast. Treasurer Ma commended LUCHA for successfully applying for a “Scholar Dollars” grant.
“I know the dedicated students, staff, and parents came together as a community to record the votes needed to win this grant,” she said.
Studies show that students with a savings account in their name are seven times more likely to attend college than others. “Scholar Dollars” helps raise awareness about saving for college early, which is important given that the average student loan debt is $36,521. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, there is $1.48 trillion total student loan debt in the United States www.collegecost.ed.gov.