Marianne Smith, Andy Probolus and their four boys from Lancaster. They were recent winners in the PA Treasury Fund My Future drawing.

When Lauren Dissinger gave birth to her son last year, the last thing on the mind of this new mom was her son’s college education.

But that all changed for the Lancaster County accountant when she heard about the PA Treasury Department’s Keystone Scholars Program which automatically invests $100 in the PA529 College and Career Savings Program for every baby born this year and in 2019 to Pennsylvania residents.

“It’s so cool,” Dissinger said. “It’s unique and a great way to encourage people to start putting something in there.”

Dissinger likened it to a 401k retirement program where an employer will sometimes match the dollars an employee puts in.

“It can be mind boggling how much college costs these days,” she said. “Better to start now and just let it grow.”

The Keystone Scholars program is just one of the incentives the PA Treasury Department is using to show the benefits of opening a 529 college savings plan or any savings toward a child’s future education.

Another program they are offering statewide this year in partnership with Fund My Future is the PA Savings Pledge. By pledging to save for a child’s future, families are entered in the Fund My Future monthly raffle.

The raffle’s prize pool is worth $1,000 each to five people every month who contribute to their child’s future education and it’s also awarding $50 prizes to 60 people every month who contributed.

Any contribution to a child’s 529 college savings plan or any savings plan in a child’s name, even as little as $1, makes one eligible to win the monthly drawing.

Lucky $1,000 winners will get half the prize for themselves and half of it deposited in their child’s account.

“Keystone Scholars and Fund My Future are offering a ray of hope during this difficult time,” said Julie Peachey, Deputy State Treasurer for Consumer Programs. “We believe in the future of our Pennsylvania children and we want families to know that and to start focusing again on saving for their child’s college education.”

One study found that children from low to moderate-income families were three times more likely to enroll in a two or four-year education program if they had even a small amount saved for them than children who did not have a savings account.

“Most people want to save for their children’s future, but sometimes it is hard,” said Peachey. “That’s why the PA Treasury is offering fun and positive incentives to get started. Even a small amount can make a big difference.”

Susan Baldrige