Year of Publication
Martin School of Public Policy and Administration
United Way of the Bluegrass is applying for the Federal Assets for Independence (AFI) grant. The AFI program was established under the Assets for Independence Act (Public Law 105-285, enacted on October 27, 1998) to provide federal funding for state and local Individual Development Account (IDA) projects nationwide. An IDA is a savings account designed to help the low income citizens establish a pattern of savings and, ultimately, obtain assets. United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG) has decided that they want to target three specific populations—ex-offenders, recovering substance abusers, and the homeless/formerly homeless. This study is to provide more insight into a United Way operated AFI IDA program. The following are my research questions:
- How does the demographics of the applicant pool compare to the local population?
- What is the difference between the applicants who were accepted and the applicants who were denied?
- Is there a relationship between the applicant demographics and their asset goal?
Data for analysis were obtained from United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA). They have had an established Assets for Independence IDA program since 2005. Data contained information obtained through UWCA’s intake survey, account applications, and some actual account information. Analysis was conducted on 361 individuals who had completed the application and intake survey, and were indicated as enrolled or not enrolled by UWCA. The analysis of the data included a t-test of demographic and financial variables and a multinomial logit model for the entire sample and only the enrolled participants.
The characteristics that bear statistical significance to an IDA program are: gender, race, marital status, having children or no children, and having less than a high school degree. The most significant characteristic is being married. The variables used to capture a slight financial picture of the sample are: owning a home; having a checking or savings account; budgeting; number of vehicles owned; and receiving: alimony, TANF, Medicare, and/or rent assistance. These variables are not statistically related.
Multivariate analysis indicates that those who are more likely to save for a home over education are African-Americans and/or employed full-time or part-time. Those who are more likely to save for a home over starting a small business include those who are employed full-time or part-time, and/or those having a savings account.
Education level is a predicting characteristic of individuals who chose to save for education. Those with a college education, a two-year degree, or some college education are more likely to save for education over a home.
Receiving a form of public assistance was found not to have any correlation to program participation and asset savings goal. When UWBG is designing their IDA program, they should pay particular attention to the portion of program participants who choose to save for a particular asset and adjust institutional factors accordingly.
Denney, Natalie, "Analyzing the Assets for Independence IDA Program" (2010). MPA/MPP/MPFM Capstone Projects. 125.