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Officials say college savings plan helping 10,000 Colorado families

First Step has provided over $1M to families saving for children's education
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DENVER - State officials are celebrating a program that has awarded $1 million to more than 10,000 Colorado families saving for their children's future education.

Governor Jared Polis and Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) said the CollegeInvest First Step Program is helping families begin planning and saving for their children's post-secondary education by awarding $100 to a CollegeInvest savings account free of charge.

Gov. Polis and CDPHE also highlighted the opportunity for families already enrolled in First Step or who join the program before Dec. 31 to access additional dollar-for-dollar matching up to $2,500 over the next five years.

"It is never too early to start planning for your child's post-secondary education," the governor said in a news release. "I encourage all families who qualify to begin saving and enroll today.” 

“I am committed to supporting more Coloradans to achieve their higher education goals, and innovative programs like First Step are part of Colorado’s commitment to hardworking families and individuals,” Polis added.

The First Step program offers a free, one-time, $100 contribution to a CollegeInvest savings account. The program is available for all families with babies born or adopted in Colorado since Jan. 1, 2020. Parents or legal guardians of an eligible child can enroll in and access the opportunity until their child’s fifth birthday.  

The opportunity to receive the initial award of $100 and the additional matching funds up to $2,500 is available to families currently enrolled in First Step or who join before Dec. 31, 2023.

“When you create a new way to meet the needs of Colorado families it’s not surprising to see this level of participation and engagement,” said Director Paccione. “Whatever option a student is interested in from public and private colleges, universities, community colleges, vocational schools and apprenticeship programs – that child will be well on their way to make their dreams come true when the time comes.”

Said Angela Baier, CollegeInvest’s chief executive officer, “So far this year, our matching incentive program is working exactly as intended."

She said the program has already added more than $5 million directly to the savings accounts of thousands of Colorado families.

Participating Colorado families have saved an average of $3,292 on their own in the first year, "establishing a strong savings pattern that will hopefully continue for years to come,” Baier said.

The First Step program is the result of a bipartisan law signed by Governor Polis and sponsored by Senate President Stephen Fenberg and Representative Leslie Herod. The program is funded and administered by CollegeInvest without using any taxpayer dollars or administrative fees. 

“Several years ago we passed bipartisan policy to help kick start a college savings account for every child born in Colorado,” said Fenberg, D-Boulder. “Now we’re starting to see how even a small investment of $100 can contribute to long-term savings patterns that will put Colorado kids on a path to economic security.”

Added Rep. Herod, D-Denver: "I applaud the 10,000 Colorado families and counting who've taken advantage of the First Step program to prepare for their child's educational future. The First Step program makes it possible for the youngest learners, born or adopted in Colorado, to get started right away on their educational aspirations which jumpstarts a lifetime of student success."

To enroll your child in the First Step program, visit