The SEED initiative included twelve community-based organizations that operated children and youth savings account programs across the country and Puerto Rico. A total of 1,171 participants opened SEED accounts, including 495 in one community which was the location of a longitudinal study using a quasi-experimental design. Three national organizations and two universities have worked together to organize, implement, and study SEED with financial support from private foundations. These national partners are CFED, the Research Triangle Institute (RTI), the Center for Social Development at Washington University, the Initiative on Financial Security of the Aspen Institute, and the University of Kansas.
The proposed symposium will include presentations of three SEED research studies conducted at the University of Kansas. Each study uses a different methodology, providing the KU research team with an opportunity to examine commonalities and divergence in findings across studies. The central theme which links the studies is the exploration of factors which facilitate or impede savings. The first qualitative study utilizes in-depth interviews with caregivers of SEED participants at two distinct program sites to discern their perceptions of the facilitators and barriers of saving. The second study uses focus groups with parents of SEED children to learn about the relationship between social networks and asset development. The final presentation uses concept mapping, a well established mixed methods research approach that combines qualitative processes with multivariate statistical analyses, to understand caregivers' perspectives regarding effective components of a children's college savings accounts (CSA) program. To conclude the symposium, the discussant will synthesize the presentations and facilitate a discussion with all participants.