Saving for post-secondary education in individual development accounts

Min Zhan, Mark Schreiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-income people have less access to opportunities for post-secondary education, and the welfare reform in 1996 further limited access for welfare recipients. Since welfare reform, there has been an increasing interest in strategies meant to enhance the well-being of low-income people through education and the development of human capital. In this study, we examine how low-income people saved for post-secondary education in Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) in a nationwide demonstration. IDAs provide matches for savings used primarily for home purchase, microenterprise, and post-secondary education. We examine how savings outcomes differed between participants who intended to use their savings for post-secondary education and other participants. We also look at how these differences in savings outcomes were associated with difference in participant characteristics and in IDA design across different programs in the demonstration. Results indicate that the savi ngs outcomes of "education savers" were different from other participants. Furthermore, savings for post-secondary education moderated some relationships between savings outcomes and other characteristics of participants and of IDA programs. Implications are discussed for policy and social-work practice for using IDAs to promote human-capital development by low-income people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-163
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Assets building
  • Individual development accounts
  • Post-secondary education
  • Welfare reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Saving for post-secondary education in individual development accounts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this