California launches CalKIDS college savings program for newborns – NBC Los Angeles

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 gain access to higher education, especially those from traditionally underserved communities, according to the website.

The money, which will belong to the state, will be invested and can be followed by the parents.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who is eligible for CalKIDS?

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

Registration for CalKIDS is automatic. Eligible recipients are identified by the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education. No action or financial commitment is required from families to get started, but families must register to access the money, according to the website.

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

Newborns will receive:

  • $25 starting deposit to CalKIDS account
  • Deposit $25 into your CalKIDS when you enroll in the program’s online portal
  • Deposit $50 into your CalKIDS account when you link a new or existing ScholarShare 529 college savings account to your CalKIDS account.

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

Eligible low-income public school students will receive:

  • Automatic deposit of $500 into a CalKIDS account for eligible low-income public school students
  • Additional $500 deposit for eligible students identified as homestay youth
  • Additional $500 deposit to CalKIDS account for eligible students identified as homeless

The money cannot be withdrawn from the account and would be directly sent to the school of your choice.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

How do I sign up 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 birth of the child was registered

Requirements to create an account for a student include:

  • Statewide Student Identifier (SSID) or 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 2021 Fall School Census Day (October 6, 2021)

To register or access your CalKIDS account, visit here.

How can CalKIDS funds be used?

Funds in your child’s CalKIDS account can be used for several higher education expenses, including;

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

Parents and guardians are also permitted to contribute to the child’s account, but contributions are not required to participate.