SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – A new type of savings account is helping low-income families triple their savings with a 3-to-1 match of every dollar they invest, up to $500. The only catch: all the money, up to $2,000 total, must be used for their child’s education expenses.

The program is called “Triple Boost,” and it’s offered by San Francisco based non-profit, Earn.

Dametra Williams of Berkeley opened a Triple Boost account for her daughter.

“It leveled the playing ground,” said Williams, who used some of the money in her Triple Boost account for her daughter’s math tutoring, which cost $40 an hour.

In addition to tutoring, families can use the money for school supplies, books, computers, field trips and tuition. The money is dispensed by pre-paid debit cards and families agree to use the money only for educational expenses.

Earn founder Ben Mangan said the program has both immediate and long-term benefits.

“This not only provides resources for education, it helps build a pattern of savings that continues over a lifetime,” said Mangan.

To qualify for Triple Boost , families must have at least one child between the ages of ten and eighteen, live in one of the nine Bay Area counties or Los Angeles, and earn 50-percent or less of the median income in the county they live in.

The three-to-one matches come from individual donors, foundations, and non-profits. The funds are held in FDIC insured accounts at Citibank and can be accessed six-months after enrollment, through these prepaid debit cards. There’s a 5-minute quiz on the Earn website to see if your family qualifies.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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