Keystone Scholars sparks culture of achievement through an early start to saving
St. Marys, PA – Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today was joined by key county partners including Senator Joe Scarnati, president pro tempore, a representative from Representative Matt Gabler’s office, Chairperson of the Elk County Board of Commissioners Matthew G. Quesenberry, Sr., and event host and St. Marys Carbon General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, James Slay, to highlight Treasury’s new scholarship grant program, Keystone Scholars. Designed to help encourage higher education aspirations and to serve as a catalyst to help families start saving early, Torsella launched the Keystone Scholars program to provide a $100 scholarship grant to every child born or adopted in Pennsylvania to be used towards higher education, including vocational education and college expenses. A six-county demonstration project—financed through private funds—is available now; proposed legislation has bipartisan support and would make the scholarship grant program available to every newborn statewide.
“Manufacturing isn’t just the past of Pennsylvania’s economy, it’s the future as well. But it’s a future that now requires different, updated training that goes beyond high school. Keystone Scholars will help every child in Elk County get the education they need, whether that’s through a vocational school, certificate program, or a degree through a traditional college. We need every child to know that we believe in them, and that whatever path they want to follow, we’ll be there to help jumpstart their success.”
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
As part of Treasurer Torsella’s launch event in Elk County, he held a press conference at St. Marys Carbon with local partners and toured the manufacturing facility. Treasury’s growing list of partners in the county includes: Elk County; St. Marys Carbon; Manufacturing, Education, and Employee Advancement Inc. (MEEA); Elk County Community Foundation; Stackpole-Hall Foundation; Workforce Solutions for Northcentral PA.
During the tour, the Treasurer had the opportunity to meet employees of St. Marys Carbon, to hear about the technological advances within the manufacturing industry and learn about existing and future manufacturing employment and career opportunities for Pennsylvanians and Elk County residents.
“I am pleased to be here today with Treasurer Torsella to highlight the launch of the Keystone Scholars scholarship grant program. It is very exciting that our region has been selected as one of the areas for this pilot program, and that every newborn in Elk County will receive a $100 scholarship grant to be used towards post-secondary education expenses. Providing children and their families with the tools and resources they need to gain valuable educational opportunities is vital to ensuring a strong workforce in the future.”
Senator, Joe Scarnati
Treasurer Torsella unveiled the Keystone Scholars program in February 2018, which included the announcement of a demonstration project for all families living in Delaware, Elk, Indiana, Luzerne, Mifflin, and Westmoreland counties. Treasury raised $2.25 million in private funds to finance the demonstration project, so that every baby born or adopted from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019 within the six-counties will be eligible for a $100 scholarship grant. Families have until the child’s first birthday to claim the Keystone Scholarship.
The scholarship grant will grow through investment. Families have until their child turns 29 years old to use the funds. The scholarship grant – and any additional college savings each family saves by opening a PA 529 account – can be used for any qualified higher education expense at an approved institution of higher education, including trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges, and universities in or outside Pennsylvania.
All funds for the demonstration project are coming from philanthropic sources that include the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Foundation and the Neubauer Family Foundation. The demonstration project also includes The National Philanthropic Trust and research support from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and Duke University’s Common Cents Lab.
Families can preregister their child for Keystone Scholars at www.pa529.com/keystone by clicking on Sign Up. Once they have received their child’s birth certificate, they can log back in to finish their registration. Keystone Scholarships are available to children born in 2018 and 2019 to families living in the six demonstration project counties.
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