St. Paul Mayor Carter announces guaranteed income, college tuition program

Using funds through the American Rescue Plan, select St. Paul families will be enrolled in a pilot program that offers guaranteed basic income and payments to a college savings plan.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced the CollegeBound Boost on Thursday – an initiative to expand St. Paul’s guaranteed income and college savings programs. 

Led by the St. Paul Office of Financial Empowerment, the project will provide 333 enrolled low-income families with a combination of $500 in guaranteed income payments each month for two years, and deposits of $1,000 each for their child’s college savings account.

"I’m excited about this combination of guaranteed income with asset-building strategies to demonstrate the type of synergistic input we can have when we combine to give families an elevated platform to jump off from," Carter said during the announcement.

The program is funded by $4 million from the American Rescue Plan as well as $1 million from private donations. Eligible CollegeBound families will be randomly selected for the CollegeBound Boost program starting this summer.   

"Direct cash payments are a simple, effective way to help St. Paul residents achieve economic security," said Carter in a statement. "CollegeBound Boost is our bold approach to combine these payments with asset-building opportunities, supporting families in building for their future." 

St. Paul’s Office of Financial Empowerment is partnering with researchers at the University of Michigan under Professor William Elliott, a nation-leading expert on children’s college savings and asset building, to study the impacts of combining guaranteed income and asset building through CollegeBound Boost for St. Paul families. 

"CollegeBound Boost is about tangible hope for St. Paul families. Guaranteed income helps parents make it through a month. But savings for the future – through savings deposits from the city – gives families tangible hope for their kids’ future," said Professor William Elliott. "Both sides of the equation are crucial, and families will benefit immensely."