Children growing up in families with low economic resources face a higher risk of not being able to achieve their educational goals or even completing secondary education. Various financial aid policies, such as need-based grants and loans, are implemented to assist low-income families in paying for their children’s education, aiming to reduce social disparities in educational attainment. Among some of the most innovative financial aid policy options are matched savings accounts programs. Supporting these programs, there is growing evidence also from the Italian context (Percorsi and WILL).

The project

We run a Randomized Controlled Trial evaluate the effectiveness of an education savings account program aimed at reducing low-income families’ children’s risk to drop out from secondary school in Italy. The program (WILL-TORINO) is implemented by Fondazione Ufficio Pio, a philanthropic organization based in Torino, Northwestern Italy. The program targets 5th graders from low-income families and offers them and their families the opportunity to save small amounts of money (between 5 and 30 euros per month up to a maximum of 1,500 euros over a 6-year period) in a digital wallet. Household deposits are multiplied by four if the money is spent on proven educational expenses (e.g., computers/internet; culture, book purchases; various school expenses, language or computer courses, sports, transportation). In addition to the savings account, beneficiaries are offered a financial education program, educational support and guidance


The research is still ongoing, and results are not yet available. The trial has been pre-registered at the AEA RCT Registry.


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