Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions, we have answers!


This sounds great! I’m ready! How do I open an account?

Hang on a second! The IDA is a great program that helps people build assets, but it is a competitive program. There is a multi-step application process:

First, you should take our fun IDA Eligibility Quiz to make sure you are a good candidate. If you answer yes to all of the questions, continue reading. If you answer no to any questions, work on that until you are ready.

Second, you must attend an orientation. We only do orientations a few times a year, and we only do them when we are able to enroll people. You can sign up here to be notified of the next orientations.

Third, while you wait for the orientation, create and refine your plan for your education and career. Research programs you want to attend, determine the TOTAL cost of school, and know how it will better prepare you for your future/current career.

Fourth, START SAVING NOW if you can. If you can show that you have been saving $25 a month (and keeping it in savings) this will make you a much more competitive applicant.

Fifth, attend the orientation and learn how you can apply and enroll in our IDA program!


What are IDA funds used for?

Tuition and fees at an accredited educational institution. In some cases, you may also use the funds for vocational training. The funds CANNOT be used to pay off past student debt, only to avoid future student debt.


Who is the IDA right for?

The IDA is right for someone who is in school, thinking of going back to school in the next 3 years.  The IDA is also right for someone who can manage saving at least $25/month. If you are not able to pay your bills on a regular basis, this may not be the right time for you. If you think the IDA is right for you, find out if you’re eligible here.


How does the match work?

The match rate is $3.00 dollars of program funds for every $1.00 dollar you save. When you enroll in the IDA, you will open up a special bank account with one of our participating banks. You will  put at least $25 in that account every month. The match becomes available to you after 6 months of making IDA deposits.


How much money can I deposit in my IDA savings account?

As much as you like, but you will only be matched $1000/year for up to 3 years. If you participate in the program for 3 years and save the maximum amount, you will graduate with $12,000 total!


How much do I save in my IDA account each month?

It’s up to you! Based on your budget, you will work with your IDA Specialist to figure out the amount that is right for you to put in your IDA account each month. Your deposit must be at least $25 every month.


Can I save for my child?

No. If you would like your child to participate in the IDA program they must be at least 15 years of age and must go through the application process themselves. 


What else is required of me if I participate in an IDA program?

Financial education is one of the requirements to receive your matched funds. This includes our five part Financial Household Resiliency workshops series: on Making Ends Meet; Budgeting and Saving; Hands-on Banking; Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit; and Planning for Your Education as an IDA Saver. These classes are offered at our office every month. You can sign up for them here.


Can my IDA be used for student loans?

NO! Your IDA is only for current tuition and fees. It cannot be used for past debt! It can help you avoid taking on more debt.


Do I have to be enrolled in school to participate?

No. The IDA is great for people in school or people who are planning to go to school within 3 years.


How many IDAs am I allowed to do?

You can only do 2 IDAs in your lifetime. You can also only do one at a time.


What other types of IDAs are available?

You can also do an IDA for first time homeownership, starting a small business, car ownership, home repair and assisted technology. Innovative Changes does not offer these types of IDAs, but other organizations do! For more information about other IDA programs visit the VIDA website.