Education

California's CalKIDS Program Opens College Savings Accounts for Newborns. Here's How It Works

California has introduced a new program called CalKIDS, which would open a college savings account for every newborn in the state and eligible low-income students.

NBC Connecticut

The state of California is launching a new program called CalKIDS, which will open a small college savings account for every newborn in the state.

The program was designed to help children in California get access to higher education, especially those from traditionally underserved communities, according to the website.

The money, which will be owned by the state, will be invested and can be tracked by parents.

Here's what to know.

Who is eligible for CalKIDS?

The accounts will be for any newborns born on or after July 2022 or any eligible low-income public school student in grades 1 through 12 in California.

Enrollment in CalKIDS is automatic. Eligible beneficiaries are identified by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education. No action or financial commitment is required of families to get started, but families do need to register to access the money, according to the website.

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The program receives information on newborns about 90 days after their birth is registered with the California Department of Public Health.

Newborns will receive:

  • $25 seed deposit in a CalKIDS account
  • $25 deposit in your CalKIDS when you register on the program online portal
  • $50 deposit in your CalKIDS account when you link a new or your existing ScholarShare 529 college savings account to your CalKIDS account. 

The program also offers a fund for low-income 1st-12th grade students who are eligible. Students must have been enrolled 1st-12th grade during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Eligible low income public school students will receive:

  • $500 automatic deposit in a CalKIDS account for eligible low-income public school students
  • $500 additional deposit for eligible students identified as foster youth
  • $500 additional deposit in a CalKIDS account for eligible students identified as homeless

Money cannot be withdrawn from the account and would be directly sent to the school of choice. If the child chooses to not pursue higher education, the money will stay in the account.

How do I register for CalKIDS?

Requirements to register a newborn include:

  • Local Registration Number (located on your child’s birth certificate) or unique CalKIDS code (included in the letter you received or will receive)
  • Your child’s date of birth
  • Name of the County in which the child’s birth was registered

Requirements to register an account for a student include:

  • Statewide Student Identifier (SSID), or the unique CalKIDS code (included in the letter you received or will receive). Please contact your school or school district to find your SSID.
  • Student’s date of birth
  • Name of the County where the student was enrolled in public school as of the Fall Academic Census Day 2021 (October 6, 2021)

To register or access your CalKIDS account visit here.

How can CalKIDS funds be used?

The funds in your child's CalKIDS account can used for several higher education expenses including;

  • Tuition and related fees
  • Books and requires supplies
  • Certain room and board costs
  • Computer equipment

Parents and caregivers are also allowed to contribute to child's account, but contributions are not require to participate.

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