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This report presents first-year findings from an evaluation of the Assets for Independence (AFI) program at two sites — Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, NM and RISE Financial Pathways in Los Angeles, CA.

Findings show that the AFI program increased low-income participants’ savings after one year. There is also evidence of a range of several beneficial secondary impacts, including reductions in material hardship and improvements in perceived financial well-being...

Savings and assets play an important role in economic stability and upward mobility for families with low incomes. To help households with low incomes build assets, the federal government launched the Assets for Independence (AFI) program, authorized by Congress in 1998. This program funded individual development accounts (IDAs) that matched personal savings for assets such as a first home, capital to start a business, or higher education and training...

Community colleges can offer aspiring students vital job skills and open doors to further postsecondary education, but paying for classes alongside living and other expenses can be challenging for students with limited means. Individual development account (IDA) programs assist low-income current and prospective students by matching their savings toward higher education expenses and by providing financial education on how to save and plan for those expenses.

Assets such as a home or business can provide families with economic stability and a foundation for long-term upward mobility. To help households with low incomes build assets, the federal government launched the Assets for Independence (AFI) program, authorized by Congress in 1998. The Urban Institute evaluated the AFI program at two sites using a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard for measuring program effectiveness. This is the final report of our three-year evaluation.