Professor William Elliott is a leading researcher in the fields of college savings accounts, college debt, and wealth inequality. Shaped by his personal roots in poverty in a small steel mill city in Pennsylvania, Professor Elliott pursues is challenging individual beliefs and cultural values that surround funding for college, student debt, inequality, systemic patterns of poverty, and educational justice. Being refined in poverty allows him to approach questions in his research differently.
Some of the college savings account programs he is currently conducting research on are the Oakland Promise in California, Prosperity Kids in New Mexico, K2C in San Francisco, Promise Indiana, and the Harold Alfond College challenge in Maine. He’s published in journals such as Economics and Education Review, Journal of Poverty, Race and Social Problems, Educational Policy, and his most recent book is, “Making Education Work for the Poor: The Potential of Children’s Savings Accounts”. His research adds fuel to debates about how to imagine ways of financing college other than by student debt. He believes that there are real possibilities and his research bears this out. He asks if college education can truly be the great equalizer it is meant to be when wealth inequality remains the defining feature of American society. He calls for the next great wealth transfer in America. The seemingly naive premise behind Professor Elliott’s research is that there are better, more effective, and more just ways of financing college and delivering on the promise of the American dream. He suggests, people must just be shown once again that more is possible.
Economic, educational, and racial disparities; social policy; mental health; child development
|(734) firstname.lastname@example.org||B640 SSWB||University of Michigan|
School of Social Work
1080 S. University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
|(734) 764-9340||3734 SSWB||University of Michigan|
School of Social Work
1080 S. University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
|2008||PhD||Social Work||Washington University, St. Louis, MO|
|2005||MSW||Social Work||Washington University, St. Louis, MO|
|1995||BA||Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA|
|Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion|
Zheng, H., Elliott, W., & O’Brien, M. (in press). Using children’s savings accounts and early award scholarships to build college savings among welfare recipients: The case of Promise Scholars. Journal of Poverty.
Elliott, W., Zheng, H., Sabol, T., & O’Brien, M. (2021). A step toward measuring children’s college-bound identity in children’s savings accounts programs: The case of Promise Scholars. Children and Youth Service Review, 121.
Chen, Z., Elliott, W., Wang, K., Zhang, A., & Zheng, H. (2020). Examining parental educational expectations in one of the oldest children’s savings account programs in the country: The Harold Alfond College Challenge. Children and Youth Service Review, 108, 104582.
Zheng, H., Starks, B., Ellis, J., O’Brien, M., & Elliott, W. (2020). An examination of parental college expectations’ mediating role between children’s savings accounts and children’s educational attainment by income level. Sociology Mind, 10(3), 165-186.
Elliott, W., Chowa, G., Ellis, J. M, O’Brian, M., & Chen, Z. (2019). Combining children's savings accounts programs with scholarship programs: Effects on math and reading scores. Children and Youth Service Review, 102, 7-17.
Elliott, W., Kite, B., O’Brien, M., Lewis, M. & Palmer, A. (2018). Initial elementary education findings from Promise Indiana's children's savings account program. Children and Youth Services Review, 85, 295-306.
Elliot, W. & Lewis, M. (2018). Making Education Work for the Poor: The Potential of Children's Savings Accounts. Oxford Press.
Elliott, W., Starks, B., Seefeldt, K., & Ellis, J. M. (2018). Children's savings account programs provide parents with the opportunity to plan and talk about college with their children and others. Sociology Mind, 8, 345-365.
Lewis, M., O’Brien, M., Jones-Layman, A., O’Neill, E., & Elliott, W. (2017). Saving and educational asset-building within a community-driven CSA program: The case of Promise Indiana. Poverty and Public Policy, 9(2), 188-208.
Rauscher, E., Elliott, W., O’Brien, M., Callahan, J., & Steensma, J. (2017). Examining the relationship between parental educational expectations and a community-based children's savings account program. Children and Youth Services Review, 77, 96-107.
Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2017). Student Debt: A Reference Handbook. Broomfield, CO: Praeger.
Friedline, T., Scanlon, E., Johnson, T., & Elliott W. (2015). Educational and financial institutions partnering to implement CSAs: Evaluation of financial partners' perspectives from the 2011 GEAR UP invitational priority. Journal of Community Practice, 23(2), 203-237.
Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2015). The real college debt crisis: How student borrowing threatens financial well-being and erodes the American dream. Broomfield, CO: Praeger.
Elliott, W. (2014). Solving the paradox of high college expectations: The role of children’s savings accounts. In R. Cramer & T. Williams Shanks (Eds.), The assets perspective: The rise of asset building and its impacts on social policy. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
Elliott, W. & Lewis, M. (2014). Child development accounts (CDAs). The Encyclopedia of Social Work.
Cheatham, G., Smith, S. J., Elliott, W., & Friedline, T. (2013). Family assets, postsecondary education, and students with disabilities: Building on progress and overcoming challenges. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(7), 1078-1086.
Friedline, T., & Elliott, W. (2013). Connections with banking institutions and diverse asset portfolios in young adulthood: Children as potential future investors. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(6), 994-1006.
Elliott, W. & Kim, J. (2013). The role of identity-based motivation and solution-focus brief therapy in unifying accounts and financial education in school-related CDA programs. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(3), 402-410.
Elliott, W., Constance-Huggins, M., & Song, H. (2013). Improving college progress among low- to moderate-income (LMI) young adults: The role of assets. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 34, 382-399.
Elliott, W., Chowa, G. & Loke, V. (2011). Toward a children’s savings and college-bound identity intervention for raising college attendance rates: A multilevel propensity score analysis. Sociology Mind, 1(4), 192-205.
Elliott, W., Destin, M, & Friedline, T. (2011). Taking stock of ten years of research on the relationship between assets and children’s educational outcomes: Implications for theory, policy and intervention. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(11), 2312-2328.
Elliott, W., Jung, H., & Friedline, T. (2011). Raising math scores among children in low-wealth households: Potential Benefit of Children’s School Savings. Journal of Income Distribution, 20(2), 72-91.
Friedline, T. & Elliott, W. (2011). Predicting savings for white and black young adults: An early look at racial disparities in savings and the potential role of children's development accounts (CDAs). Journal of Race and Social Problems, 3(2), 99-118.
Elliott, W., Choi, E. H., Destin, M. & Kim, K. (2011). The age old question, which comes first? A simultaneous test of children’s savings and children’s college-bound identity. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(7), 1101-1111.
Chowa, G. & Elliott, W. (2011). An asset approach to increasing financial and efficacy expectations among families in Uganda. Journal of Socio-Economics, 40(1), 81-87.
Sherraden, Margaret. S., Johnson, L., Guo, B. & Elliott, W. (2010). Financial capability in children: Effects of participation in a school-based financial education and savings program. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32(3), 385-399.
Elliott, W., Jung, H., Kim, K., & Chowa, G. (2010). A multi-group structural equation model (SEM) examining asset holding effects on educational attainment by race and gender. Journal of Children and Poverty, 16(2), 91-121.
Elliott, W., Sherraden, M., Johnson, L. & Guo, B. (2010). Young children's perceptions of college and saving: Potential role of child development accounts. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1577-1584.
Elliott, W. (2010). Review of the book "Steady gains and stalled progress: Inequality and the black- white test score gap" by Katherine Magnuson and Jane Waldfogel, editors. Social Service Review, 84(2), 312-315.
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106