Child Savings Accounts in Wisconsin: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Child Savings Accounts (CSAs) are intended to help children, from birth to age 18—especially among low-income populations—build savings for postsecondary education. In the past decade, CSA initiatives have gained strong momentum in states and localities across the United States. These programs have become particularly attractive to policymakers concerned about the future workforce, wealth disparities, and disparities in access to higher education. While CSAs have initially been implemented at regional or local levels, those programs have begun providing preliminary data that highlights the potential benefits of broader programs. Students conducted a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension assessing the long-term costs and benefits of investment in universal child savings accounts for Wisconsin residents.

Interactive map of per capita and per cohort net benefits by county


  • Course: Cost-Benefit Analysis Public Affairs 881 taught by Morgan Edwards, Fall 2022
  • Authors: Stephanie Mertens, Ian O’Connor-Giles, Adam Riley, Sam Schneider, and Tyler Williams
  • Client: Chelsea Wunnicke, Extension Educator, Human Development & Relationships, UW-Madison Division of Extension Richland County

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