Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by Using College Savings Options

April is financial literacy month, a time to review good money management habits.

One good habit, according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, is to plan for big expenses, such as college and career training. Unfortunately, those expenses are getting bigger every year as costs continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation.

But two programs administered by the ScholarShare Investment Board, an agency of the State of California and chaired by the California Treasurer, could help. The first, the California Kids Investment and Development Savings Program (CalKIDS) provides funds for college and career training for eligible students from low-income families and all babies born on or after July 1, 2022, regardless of family income.

The second, ScholarShare 529, has served as the state’s official 529 college savings program for nearly 25 years and provides families with a tax-advantaged tool to save that features an excellent set of low-cost investment options. Growth on funds in the accounts are not taxed, if those funds are used for qualified higher education expenses.  Families can learn more about ScholarShare 529 at scholarshare529.com or register for an upcoming online webinar today.

Money from CalKIDS and ScholarShare 529 accounts can pay for future education costs, such as tuition, fees, computers, books, and more. The funds can be used at eligible colleges or vocational schools and for apprenticeships.

CalKIDS, launched in 2022, brings greater equity to our society by opening higher education opportunities to families that have often been left out.

Under the program, each eligible California public school student from a low-income family, as defined by the Local Control Funding Formula, receives $500. This can increase to $1,500 for some especially vulnerable students.

In addition, all babies born after July 1, 2022, will receive up to $175.

To access or use the money, parents or guardians or students need to claim their accounts first. It’s an easy process.  Families can check eligibility and claim their accounts at calkids.org/

CalKIDS and ScholarShare 529 accounts can make a huge difference in the lives of students. Besides helping finance higher education, they inspire students to consider attending college or career training.

Studies have shown that children and families with even small savings set aside for college are three times more likely to enroll in college, and four times more likely to graduate, than children with no savings.

So, this month is a great time to check whether your child has a CalKIDS account and to consider saving with a ScholarShare 529 account. College and career education can pave the way for a brighter future for your child.