The Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) project was a national initiative to introduce and test the effectiveness of child savings accounts (CSA). These accounts provide depositors with tax-free savings that can be used to pay for post-secondary education, the purchase of a new home or automobile, or to start a small business. This type of asset is not equally distributed across the United States, where many families struggle to afford a $400 unexpected expense. By focusing on childhood, SEED hoped to demonstrate that given the opportunity, mechanism, and encouragement to save, low-income families could provide a valuable nest-egg to youth when they finish high school.
MI-SEED was launched in 2004 through the Oakland Livingston Health Services Agency (OLHSA) at 14 Head Start centers across both counties. Roughly 500 families received CSA’s along with an initial $800 deposit. Eligible families also received a $200 match deposit. All subsequent deposits were matched 1-1 up to $1,200. As of September 2019, participants had saved more than $934,000, with an average balance of more than $2,000.
The Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being monitors the progress of MI-SEED participants, with particular attention to college enrollment.
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106