Research Study of Austin Community College’s Rainy Day Savings Program: Year One Report
Authors: Ashweeta Patnaik and Greg Cumpton
Date: April 2022
Publication Type: Report, 38pp.
Austin Community College’s (ACC) Student Money Management Office (SMMO), established in 2016, supports Austin Community College student success by providing accessible and relevant money management education, enabling students to make informed financial decisions. In fall 2018, SMMO piloted the Rainy Day Savings Program, modeled after the successes of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) which have helped low-income people save and attain assets.
In the Rainy Day Savings program pilot, students earned up to $100 in cash incentives for completing certain tasks and meeting milestones. These tasks and milestones were chosen because of their potential impact on future financial wellness, such as setting up direct deposit, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and meeting with a financial coach. Savings accounts were opened for students at University Federal Credit Union (UFCU) exclusively for the Rainy Day Savings Program, and students worked towards amassing at least $500 in total savings.
Based on the initial results, ACC believed that this program could help students address a financial emergency before it escalates to a financial crisis while also providing students with practical experience interacting with a financial institution, applying financial literacy skills, and experience managing a bank account. ACC sought to expand and refine the program and received funding from Trellis Foundation in January 2020 to support this effort.
ACC partnered with the Ray Marshall Center (RMC) at The University of Texas at Austin to study the effectiveness of the Rainy Day Savings program. This research study aimed to provide actionable information about the success of the intervention allowing for ACC and Trellis to make decisions about program modifications and sustainability.