Program

Jul 14, 2014

OVERVIEW

The Seed for Oklahoma Kids program (SEED OK) uses Oklahoma’s college savings plan (OK 529 plan) to encourage households to save for children’s postsecondary education.  The program is intended to promote the long-term well-being of children through the creation of lifelong-savings accounts.  An experimental study of SEED OK found that CDAs have positive impacts on the social-emotional development of 4-year old children.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Infants ages 48 months and their caregivers

The OK 529 plan encourages parents to save for children’s postsecondary education.  This is a tax-advantaged plan designed by the federal government and operated by the state.  For participants in the OK 529 plan, contributions up to $10,000 per year are deductible on the state income tax return.  Also, investment earnings are not subject to federal or state taxes if used for educational purposes.  Participating parents deposit a minimum of $100 into a state-owned OK 529 plan account.

EVALUATION OF PROGRAM

Huang, J., Sherraden, M., Kim, Y., & Clancy, M.. (2014). Effects of child development accounts on early social-emotional development: An experimental test. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(3), 265-271.  

Evaluated population: A total of 2704 caregivers of infants participated in the study.  Infants were approximately 48 months old.  The sample included a higher number of African American, American Indian, and Hispanic participants.

Approach: Caregivers were randomly assigned to either the treatment group (N=1358) or the control group (N=1346).  Treatment mothers were sent a packet containing information about the OK 529 plan and SEED OK financial incentives.  The treatment group was offered three financial incentives: 1) $1000 in SEED OK funds were deposited into a state-owned OK 529 plan account, 2) treatment mothers were encouraged to open a participant-owned OK 529 plan account, and SEED OK provided the $100 required minimum initial contribution, and 3) SEED OK matched savings by low- and moderate-income treatment households. The control group received no information from SEED OK about the OK 529 plan, no state-owned accounts were opened for them, and no other financial incentives were offered.  A follow-up survey was administered to both groups approximately 48 months later.  Social emotional development of the children was measured using a combined score across three domains: self regulation, compliance, and interaction with people.

Results: There was a significant positive impact for the treatment group, indicating better social-emotional development compared with the control group children.  Additionally, the CDA intervention had a more significant impact on disadvantaged populations.  There were no statistically significant impacts between racial categories.  Saving behavior on the part of caregivers did not significantly alter the impact of the CDA.  Asset holding itself, not individual saving behavior, was significantly associated with child social-emotional development.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Huang, J., Sherraden, M., Kim, Y., & Clancy, M.. (2014). Effects of child development accounts on early social-emotional development: An experimental test. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(3), 265-271.

Contact Information

Jin Huang, Ph.D.

School of Social Work

College for Public Health and Social Justice

Saint Louis University

3550 Lindell Blvd.

Tegeler Hall, Room 211

St. Louis, MO 63103

Email: jhuang5@slu.edu

KEYWORDS: Children (3-11), Preschool, Males and Females (Co-ed), White/Caucasian, Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Parent or Family Component

Program information last updated on 7/14/14