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July 2018 Newsletter

RAISE Texas News

We Hope to See YOU in December!

RAISE Texas Wants to Recognize YOUR Organization on Our Website!

We want YOU to be a part of the RAISE Texas Network and we want to tell our network all about YOUR WORK! This month the 5 highest level new members will be recognized on the RAISE Texas website for their great work in the financial empowerment field in Texas. Join today!

RAISE Texas remembers the importance of 2013

In 2013, RAISE Texas took big steps to strengthen the financial empowerment field in Texas by providing leadership, guidance and publications to build a savings culture in Texas. First, the Smart Saver Texans Program launched in the Amarillo Independent School District in January 2013. OpportunityTexas partnered with the Center for Financial Security, Amarillo ISD, Happy State Bank and the Texas Council on Economic Education to implement a pilot program to study the impact of in-school banking in conjunction with state-mandated financial education on 4th graders. This was the first major effort towards children’s savings accounts in Texas.

RAISE Texas then published Saving For College: The WHY, WHEN AND HOW- A Guide of College Savings Products for Texans to encourage Texas parents to start saving for a post-secondary education for their child. And, finally, RAISE Texas decided to take a comprehensive approach to growing the financial coaching field by defining financial coaching and providing groups with a common set of standards/core competencies to ensure high quality, successful programs throughout Texas. This definition has been cited in a number of national publications and presentations. Click here to read more about the f

Texas News

New Debt Collection Toolkit Available to Help Navigate the Debt Collection Process

Texas Appleseed just released a new debt collection toolkit to help people navigate the debt collection process. This new resource provides information about scam phone calls, what to do if you are sued, and much more! It includes videos, letters, forms and other helpful information and resources. Please check it out and share it widely!

Thanks for Speaking Out for Fair Lending in Texas
Nearly 800 letters were sent to Texas delegation members in support of families, and it was victorious! The CFPB Rule to prevent payday and auto title lending abuses STILL STANDS because of your help and advocacy! Also, in June a Texas federal judge ruled that payday lenders cannot use the court to delay the rule either. These are important victories for Texans but there is still more work to do. Please continue to push for fair lending practices and stay engaged with the Texas Fair Lending Alliance to be informed on the advocacy efforts in Texas.

National News

Growth of the Children’s Savings Movement is Shaped by Five Key Themes

A recent convening in Washington, DC brought together practitioners, researchers and supporters of children’s savings accounts (CSA) programs to focus on what needs to be done to advance the field and move toward scale. Below are the five key themes from the event:

1.     The field is energetic, enthusiastic and highly collaborative. Like other CSA gatherings, participants at this event were eager to share new ideas, discuss overarching issues that affect the scalability of CSAs and learn from others’ successes and challenges.

2.     People enter CSA work with different approaches and objectives. Participants at the event expressed diverse perspectives regarding the purpose of CSAs. One lively discussion examined the relative importance of families making deposits to grow kids’ accounts versus building account balances through program-provided funds.

3.     Some CSA programs are focusing on outcomes that go beyond higher education and economic mobility. These outcomes include health and civic engagement.

4.     Universal eligibility remains a key pillar of CSA design. However, many programs are trying to make a more targeted approach within a universal framework. While many practitioners think universal participation is an important way to build buy-in and community support, they also want to make sure that their programs benefit low-income households and children of color.

5.     The expansion of the field calls for more guides, resources and standard tools on starting and operating CSA programs. For example, participants raised the idea of a research clearinghouse and a funding playbook.

RAISE Texas is pushing CSA efforts forward in several parts of Texas. Contact us if you are engaged in CSA efforts in your community. We would love to hear about local programs, plans or activities around increasing college savings for Texas students and families.

New Report Released from the 2017 Aspen Institute Economic Security Summit

After a successful Summit in 2016, Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program (FSP) and Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) worked together to explore the critical changes that re-shaped both labor and financial markets over the past few decades. To do this, the second Economic Security Summit took place in July 2017 to focus on “Reconnecting Work and Wealth Constructing a New American Middle Class” and discuss challenges strengthening the growing levels of insecurity and income inequality in our country. The new report includes insights and an outline for future policy dialogues and direction.

Blog Post on New Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Report
Today, two out of three Americans still lack a degree. According to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, one deliberate path to wealth is to earn a college degree. Americans without a college degree lag far behind financially. In fact, households headed by a non-graduate have only one-fifth of the net worth of a household headed by a college graduate. And, the incomes of households without a college degree are less than half of what a household with a college degree earns. Despite these statistics, breaking the mold and getting a college degree can allow a family’s wealth to rise swiftly. Click here to read the entire blog post.