The State of California has made college more accessible for millions of children in the state with the launch of the California Kids Investment and Development Savings Program (CalKIDS).
California State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Faris Sabbah are partnering to promote CalKIDS to Santa Cruz County families through a virtual, bilingual town hall on December 6, 2022, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Both officials will speak at the event, which will also include an informational presentation and a question and answer session. Families are encouraged to register for the event online at sccoe.link/calkids.
Every eligible low-income public school student in grades 1-12 in California will automatically have a CalKIDS account created in their name with an initial seed deposit ranging from $500 to $1,500. In addition, all newborns born on or after July 1, 2022, receive up to $100 in seed deposits through the program.
“CalKIDS can be the catalyst for underserved youth to pursue their higher education goals,” said Treasurer Ma. “I am thankful to Superintendent Sabbah and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education for partnering with me to share this golden opportunity that can brighten the futures of California’s youth.”
CalKIDS is the largest children’s savings account (CSA) program in the nation, serving an estimated 3.4 million low-income public school students currently in California. Over time, funds in a CalKIDS account can grow tax-free and be used for future higher education expenses, such as tuition, books, and computers. When the student is ready to use their savings to pay for any qualified higher education expense, they can easily redeem their funds, including any earnings, from their CalKIDS account.
Funds provided through the CalKIDS program can be used at eligible education institutions, including four-year colleges and universities, community colleges, technical schools, or accredited institutions. CalKIDS participants and their families can also establish and contribute to individual ScholarShare 529 accounts, where they can contribute and start saving early.
“Every child deserves a pathway to higher education or technical training,” said Dr. Sabbah. “Research shows that children with even a small amount of college savings are three times more likely to attend college, and four times more likely to graduate. CalKIDS plants a seed that can grow into achievement at the highest level, and we are thrilled to partner with State Treasurer Fiona Ma to spread the word about this wonderful opportunity for Santa Cruz County families.”
CalKIDS comes as an additional benefit on top of a pre-existing Santa Cruz County college savings program, Semillitas. Administered by nonprofit Santa Cruz Community Ventures, Semillitas provides Santa Cruz County newborns with a seed deposit of up to $50 for college savings. The two programs synergize to provide even more college savings for Santa Cruz County youth. Enrollment in both programs is automatic, and families are not required to contribute.
CalKIDS is administered by the ScholarShare Investment Board, a California state agency that oversees ScholarShare 529, the State’s official 529 college savings plan. To learn more about the program, visit CalKIDS.org.