Overview and FAQ

An Individual Development Account, or IDA, is a special matched savings account for people with low incomes.  These accounts are designed to help families and individuals of modest means establish a pattern of regular saving and, ultimately, purchase a “productive asset,” in this case post-secondary education.

What does “matched savings account” mean and how does it work??

If you want to further your education or save for your children’s tuition expenses, you and/or family must save a total of $750 in your family IDA savings account.  A “savings match” is a promise to supplement saving deposits at a specific rate. The FPF Save to Study program will offer an 8:1 savings match, meaning that for every dollar saved as part of the program, the participant will then be eligible to receive another eight dollars. So when you and/or family save $750 throughout the course of the program and meet all the other program requirements, the participant will be eligible for $6,000 match. The participant will then have a total of $6,750 to apply to tuition and other approved college related expenses.

What is an Education “IDA”?

An Individual Development Account, or IDA, is a special matched savings account for people with low incomes.  These accounts are designed to help families and individuals of modest means establish a pattern of regular saving and, ultimately, purchase a “productive asset,” in this case post-secondary education.

Who is First Ponca Financial Inc.?

First Ponca Financial Inc. is the non-profit organization that administers the Save to Study program.

What does “matched savings account” mean and how does it work??

If you want to further your education or save for your children’s tuition expenses, you and/or family must save a total of $750 in your family IDA savings account.  A “savings match” is a promise to supplement saving deposits at a specific rate. The FPF Save to Study program will offer an 8:1 savings match, meaning that for every dollar saved as part of the program, the participant will then be eligible to receive another eight dollars. So when you and/or family save $750 throughout the course of the program and meet all the other program requirements, the participant will be eligible for $6,000 match. The participant will then have a total of $6,750 to apply to tuition and other approved college related expenses.

Where does the match money come from?

Match money for the FPF Save to Study program comes from Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Education Department, Assets for Independence, and Administration for Native Americans.

How much will I have to save each month?

You are required to contribute a total of $750 in savings before receiving your match funds of $6000. You can open your family IDA savings account for as little as $41.67 per month. If your budget allows, then you may choose to deposit more than $41.67 per month, the minimum savings term requirement is 6 months and the maximum is 24 months.

I live paycheck to paycheck, how can I save any money?

You may be surprised by how quickly you are able to find at least $41.67 per month to save in your account. Finding $41.67 to save may be as easy as rearranging your phone services that you pay for every month, but rarely use.  You may find having a cup of coffee at home rather than buying a cup on the way to work is the way you find extra savings.  You will go through the process of creating an individualized budget and savings plan customized for your success with your financial coach.

Will I automatically be accepted I meet the eligibility requirements?

No. Unfortunately not, your admittance into the program is based on available funding resources.

What are the eligibility requirements?

In order to be eligible for the FPF Save to Study program you must satisfy the specific eligibility requirements of FPF and those of the university or school you plan to attend.

What documents are required with my application?

A complete list of required application supporting documents are available when application is requested.

Do the matching funds get deposited into my account?

No. The matching money is held by FPF and PTON ED Department and will be paid directly to the University or College.  Match funds will only be applied to your college expenses once you have satisfied all FPF Save to Study program requirements, completed the terms of your savings agreement, and have satisfied all University or School’s conditions and requirements.

How do I receive the match funds?

Matched funds will be made available when you are ready to attend a participating university based on both your savings of $750 and completion of all other program and university conditions and requirements. Your financial coach will verify that you have met all university requirements and conditions and will submit an approved withdrawal request to the financial aid office. The financial aid office will then work directly with you to apply your funds to tuition and other approved college related expenses.

Can the match be used for purposes other than education expenses?

No. The idea behind the IDA program is that your savings will be used to buy something of value that will benefit you and your family.  Education provides benefits that a high school diploma alone cannot offer. People with higher education have more options in life and can pass on status and opportunities for future generations.

At what educational institutions can I use my match funds?

FPF education IDAs may be applied any University or School that meets the Assets for Independence requirements and that the student qualifies to attend expenses are allowed. Match funds and savings contributions are applied to tuition and other approved education related expenses as dictated by each university or school.

Can I withdraw from my savings any time I want?

No. Because the IDA is intended to help you purchase long-term education assets while also learning healthy budgeting and savings behavior, non-emergency withdrawals are strongly discouraged and will not be approved. You are always free to close your account and withdraw from the Save to Study program but you will forfeit the match funds for an early withdrawal.

What if I have an emergency and need the money I have saved?

You are allowed to withdraw your savings after 6 months to help deal with emergencies that involve eviction, loss of a home, loss of employment, and medical emergencies. In these cases you may be able make a withdrawal without losing your match money, but this may affect the semester you can use your match. Emergency withdrawals are handled by the FPF financial coach on a case-by-case basis. Make sure to contact your financial coach as soon as you determine you need a withdrawal, before you miss a payment.

What if I miss my monthly deposit?

One purpose of the IDA is to establish a pattern of regular savings behavior.  Missed payments are highly discouraged and will be handled on a case-by-case basis by your financial coach and the Executive Director.  It is imperative that you contact your financial coach prior to an anticipated missed deposit to discuss appropriate actions. Be aware that missed deposits may result in your termination from the program.

Can two people in my household have FPF IDA savings accounts?

Yes. As long as your household meets the income eligibility requirements and can reasonably afford to save a minimum of $41.67 per month per person then more than one person your household can participate in the program.

Will savings in my IDA affect financial aid?

No. The saved portion of the IDA is excluded from being counted as an asset when determining the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA. Since the saved money does not affect the EFC, then the saved money will have no effect on your access to financial aid.

Can this affect my public assistance?

No. The IDA account is disregarded for the purpose of determining eligibility to receive any assistance or benefit authorized under state and federal family assistance. (TANF, Food Stamps, WIC)  Also, the IDA is exempt as a resource for all public assistance and medical assistance.  (AHCCCS, Medicare)

What if my income goes up, or I become unemployed, after joining the program?

FPF certifies your eligibility for the program at the time of your application.  You can remain in the program and keep saving even if your income goes up or you become unemployed. A change in income will not affect your participation with the FPF program, but may affect your eligibility with the intended University or School.

Match money for the FPF Save to Study program comes from Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Education Department, Assets for Independence, and Administration for Native Americans.

How much will I have to save each month?

You are required to contribute a total of $750 in savings before receiving your match funds of $6000. You can open your family IDA savings account for as little as $41.67 per month. If your budget allows, then you may choose to deposit more than $41.67 per month, the minimum savings term requirement is 6 months and the maximum is 24 months.

I live paycheck to paycheck, how can I save any money?

You may be surprised by how quickly you are able to find at least $41.67 per month to save in your account. Finding $41.67 to save may be as easy as rearranging your phone services that you pay for every month, but rarely use.  You may find having a cup of coffee at home rather than buying a cup on the way to work is the way you find extra savings.  You will go through the process of creating an individualized budget and savings plan customized for your success with your financial coach.

Will I automatically be accepted I meet the eligibility requirements?

No. Unfortunately not, your admittance into the program is based on available funding resources.

What are the eligibility requirements?

In order to be eligible for the FPF Save to Study program you must satisfy the specific eligibility requirements of FPF and those of the university or school you plan to attend.

What documents are required with my application?

A complete list of required application supporting documents are available when application is requested.

Do the matching funds get deposited into my account?

No. The matching money is held by FPF and PTON ED Department and will be paid directly to the University or College.  Match funds will only be applied to your college expenses once you have satisfied all FPF Save to Study program requirements, completed the terms of your savings agreement, and have satisfied all University or School’s conditions and requirements.

How do I receive the match funds?

Matched funds will be made available when you are ready to attend a participating university based on both your savings of $750 and completion of all other program and university conditions and requirements. Your financial coach will verify that you have met all university requirements and conditions and will submit an approved withdrawal request to the financial aid office. The financial aid office will then work directly with you to apply your funds to tuition and other approved college related expenses.

Can the match be used for purposes other than education expenses?

No. The idea behind the IDA program is that your savings will be used to buy something of value that will benefit you and your family.  Education provides benefits that a high school diploma alone cannot offer. People with higher education have more options in life and can pass on status and opportunities for future generations.

At what educational institutions can I use my match funds?

FPF education IDAs may be applied any University or School that meets the Assets for Independence requirements and that the student qualifies to attend expenses are allowed. Match funds and savings contributions are applied to tuition and other approved education related expenses as dictated by each university or school.

Can I withdraw from my savings any time I want?

No. Because the IDA is intended to help you purchase long-term education assets while also learning healthy budgeting and savings behavior, non-emergency withdrawals are strongly discouraged and will not be approved. You are always free to close your account and withdraw from the Save to Study program but you will forfeit the match funds for an early withdrawal.

What if I have an emergency and need the money I have saved?

You are allowed to withdraw your savings after 6 months to help deal with emergencies that involve eviction, loss of a home, loss of employment, and medical emergencies. In these cases you may be able make a withdrawal without losing your match money, but this may affect the semester you can use your match. Emergency withdrawals are handled by the FPF financial coach on a case-by-case basis. Make sure to contact your financial coach as soon as you determine you need a withdrawal, before you miss a payment.

What if I miss my monthly deposit?

One purpose of the IDA is to establish a pattern of regular savings behavior.  Missed payments are highly discouraged and will be handled on a case-by-case basis by your financial coach and the Executive Director.  It is imperative that you contact your financial coach prior to an anticipated missed deposit to discuss appropriate actions. Be aware that missed deposits may result in your termination from the program.

Can two people in my household have FPF IDA savings accounts?

Yes. As long as your household meets the income eligibility requirements and can reasonably afford to save a minimum of $41.67 per month per person then more than one person your household can participate in the program.

Will savings in my IDA affect financial aid?

No. The saved portion of the IDA is excluded from being counted as an asset when determining the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA. Since the saved money does not affect the EFC, then the saved money will have no effect on your access to financial aid.

Can this affect my public assistance?

No. The IDA account is disregarded for the purpose of determining eligibility to receive any assistance or benefit authorized under state and federal family assistance. (TANF, Food Stamps, WIC)  Also, the IDA is exempt as a resource for all public assistance and medical assistance.  (AHCCCS, Medicare)

What if my income goes up, or I become unemployed, after joining the program?

FPF certifies your eligibility for the program at the time of your application.  You can remain in the program and keep saving even if your income goes up or you become unemployed. A change in income will not affect your participation with the FPF program, but may affect your eligibility with the intended University or School.


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