San Francisco Chronicle: Brilliant Baby Accounts

                       LeAna Powell embraces her 1-year-old son, Mason Wade, at Siempre Verde Park in San Leandro. (Photo: Mason Trinca)

Creating the expectation of college is a necessary step towards high school completion as well as college attendance. That’s why Brilliant Baby accounts are being offered to Oakland families in order to get their children more financially prepared for college. In the next three years, 500 Oakland families will receive $500 college savings accounts, thanks to an initiative by the City of Oakland trying to bring families out of poverty.

“I’m actually thinking about my kids going to college,” [LeAna Powell] said. “I’ve never seen anything like it, giving so many families hope.”

Brilliant Baby accounts are part of the Oakland Promise initiative, a “cradle-to-career” program with the aims to boost the number of children completing a college degree. Currently, only 10% of Oakland student’s graduate college, but the Oakland Promise’s goal is to raise that to 30% by 2025.

East Bay College Fund is part of this “cradle-to-career” program by offering $16,000 to eligible Oakland high school seniors as well providing them with mentorship and advising support in order to get them through college. So far, the program has provided 700 high school seniors with mentors and funding. Over 80% of East Bay College Fund’s scholars graduate within six years.

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