What is KickStart to Career?
KickStart to Career (K2C) is designed to build aspirations, encourage savings, assist with career training or college expenses, and increase financial education. The program is managed by the Community Foundation for Mason County (CFFMC). Each kindergarten student in Mason County has the opportunity to be the beneficiary of an account opened with a $50 deposit from CFFMC.
What type of account is it?
This is a deposit only savings account, which means the funds remain on deposit until CFFMC approves a withdrawal for future education and training expenses. CFFMC holds the accounts for the benefit of the student. Your child will be named as beneficiary on the account.
I already have a Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) 529 account for my child or was planning to start one. Can we still participate?
Yes, you can still be a part of the KickStart to Career program in addition to other education savings plans. Please see a financial advisor to ask questions about the MESP, 529 or other college savings plans.
How do I start my child’s account?
Accounts are started automatically for all kindergarten students, unless parents complete the “Opt-Out” form by October 1.
Do I have to provide my child’s Social Security Number or other identifying information?
No. Because the CFFMC is the owner of the account and it is held for the benefit of the child, a student’s school ID number is all that is needed. This information is provided to CFFMC and the financial partner by the school district.
What information about my child will be collected and shared?
Student name, address, birthdate, and student ID number will be shared with CFFMC and the program’s financial partner. Student completion of criteria for rewards will also be shared. Shared data will never include things like individual grades or test scores. No information will be shared outside of program partners.
Does the account earn interest, and if so, how is it paid?
Yes, accounts earn interest. Interest will be compounded periodically and will be credited to accounts at that time as a savings reward.
What fees will be charged to the account?
The account is not subject to fees.
Is there a minimum deposit amount?
No, deposits of any size are welcomed and encouraged.
How do I make deposits to my child’s account?
West Shore Bank will offer “Deposit Days” in your child’s school. You can also go to any West Shore Bank branch – East, West, or Scottville – to make a deposit. If you would like to set up recurring deposits, please see any West Shore Bank representative. You will need to provide your child’s name, name of school and date of birth for each deposit.
How can my child earn reward deposits?
Each school year, you will receive information about specific reward deposits your child can earn that year.
Who can inquire about my child’s account?
A parent or guardian can sign up for a KickStart to Career online account. This will allow them to view deposit records and update your email address with CFFMC.
How will I know what my child’s account balance is?
After signing up for an online account you can view balances at any time. Online access information will be shared after accounts are opened. You may also call the KickStart to Career Coordinator to ask for an account balance update. Yearly statements will be provided for your child.
How can funds in the account be used?
Funds can be used for any qualifying educational expenses after high school. Such expenses may include, but are not limited to: tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or attendance, or for any other necessary cost of attending school, including travel to and from school, or for school application fees.
How do I make withdrawals from my child’s account?
CFFMC will approve your withdrawals for qualifying educational expenses.
What if my family encounters a hardship?
Please contact CFFMC to discuss the possibility of an early withdrawal of private funds.
How long does my child have to use the funds in the account?
The account will close in December of the year your child turns 26.
What if my child joins the military before college, or takes longer than normal to complete their education?
Please contact the CFFMC to arrange an extension to the closing date of your child’s savings account.
What if my child doesn’t use all the funds in the account?
If there are any funds remaining, they will be disbursed to the CFFMC. They will then pay your child the total private fund balance (deposits that you have made), including any earned interest.
Are my deposits tax-deductible?
No, they are not.
What if we move?
If you move within the Mason County School District your child is still considered a participant in the program and can continue to make deposits and request withdrawals for qualifying education needs. If moving outside the district you will still have access to your account but will not be eligible for rewards deposits. Update your address by contacting CFFMC or the KickStart to Career Coordinator.
How can I stay updated on K2C program news?
In addition to receiving information through your child’s school, plus emails from program coordinator Julie Van Dyke, we encourage you to follow the Community Foundation for Mason County on Facebook where we regularly share news about the program including reminders about Deposit Days.