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HARRISBURG — Many parents start saving for their child’s college education from day one. Pennsylvania’s state treasurer announced a new program to help families get a head start.

Since she was a child, Millersville University freshman Evelyn Days has been worried about her family’s financial situation. She grew up with seven siblings in a single-parent home. “No child should be limited in education because of how much their parents make annually,” Days said.

On Monday, state Treasurer Joe Torsella unveiled the Keystone Scholars Program. “The higher education that propelled my family’s American dream, like so many of yours, has become staggeringly expensive,” Torsella said.

It will provide a $100 grant at birth or adoption to go toward the child’s higher education. “Research shows that if a child has a higher education saving account at birth, that child is three times more likely to pursue training or education after high school,” Torsella said.

The money will grow as the child matures, and will be available to use toward 4-year colleges, community colleges, trade schools or technical schools. Right now Keystone Scholars is a demonstration project, available to children born in 2018 or 2019 only in six counties: Delaware, Elk, Indiana, Mifflin and Westmoreland.

Lawmakers are working on legislation to expand it across the entire state. It’s estimated it will cost about $14 million a year. The money will not come from the state’s general fund, but will be donated by partners and private citizens.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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