The State of California recently announced the California Kids Investment and Development Savings Program (CalKIDS). CalKids helps children get access to higher education, especially those from traditionally underserved communities.
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 participate.
Launched by California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2022, CalKids is overseen by the ScholarShare Investment Board, which is chaired by State Treasurer Fiona Ma. Newborns in California can receive up to $100 while low-income public-school students are eligible for up to $1500.
Frequently Asked Questions
CalKIDS gives children in California a jump start on saving for college or career training. To be eligible for CalKIDS, participants must be:
Born in California on or after July 1, 2022; or
Low-income California public school student in grades 1-12 as of the 2021-2022 school year; or
Low-income California public school student in grade 1 in a subsequent school year.
All participants receive a seed deposit in a CalKIDS account to help pay for future education after high school.
CalKIDS savings can be used for qualified higher education expenses like tuition, books, computer equipment, supplies, and more.
Awardees have until the age of 26 to use funds and must have been California residents in the year preceding their request for disbursement. Payments are made directly to the institution of higher education. CalKIDS funds can be used nationwide and occasionally abroad at community colleges, universities, vocational and professional schools.
Visit CalKIDS.org to register, link your CalKids and ScholarShare 529 account, and to follow the latest program guide and updates.
Eligibility has two awardee groups – automatically enrolled with an initial seed.
Newborns (California Department of Public Health data)
Born in California, on or after July 1 2022;
Initial seed regardless of income;
Established when data is received from CA Dept of Health (takes about 90 days).
Low-income* public school students (California Department of Public Education data)
- Accounts established for 1-12th graders in 2021-2022 academic year (enrolled as of Fall census day October 6, 2021)
Accounts will be established for 1st graders every school year (enrolled as of Fall Census Day, first Wednesday of October)
*Eligibility for low-income public school participants is defined by the Local Control Funding Formula. Historically, this information has been collected from parents through the Free and Reduced Lunch Form. Please complete any requests from your school district related to household income to ensure you are counted for CalKIDS and related resouces.
Get started at CalKids.org Eligible newborns must be born in California on or after July 1, 2022.
CalKIDS receives information on newborns approximately 90 days after birth is registered with California Department of Public Health.
You will receive a welcome letter and use a unique code to register your newly established CalKids account. You can also input the “local registration number” located at the top right of the birth certificate issued by the county.
If you have an existing or new 529 account at ScholarShare, you can link your CalKIDS account and the 529 account for that student.
Get started at CalKids.org. Eligible 1-12 grade low-income public school students must have been enrolled as of Fall census day (October 6, 2021). Low-income public school students for the 2022-2023 school year and each year moving forward must have been enrolled as of the Fall Census Day (first Wednesday of October).
You will receive a welcome letter and unique code to register your newly established CalKids account by late Spring or Summer. You can also visit CalKids.org and input the Statewide Student Identifier Number (SSID). You may contact your school district for your SSID.
Eligible newborns born in California can receive up to $100:
$25 seed deposit in a CalKIDS account.
$25 deposit in your CalKIDS account when you register on the Program online portal.
Register to access your CalKIDS account
$50 deposit in your CalKIDS account when you link a new or existing ScholarShare 529 college savings account to your CalKIDS account.
Eligible low-income school age children in California public schools can receive up to $1500:
$500 automatic deposit;
$500 additional if they are a foster youth;
$500 if they are identified as having experienced homelessness.
Unlike K2C, you are not able to directly contribute to a CalKids account. However, after you register to view your CalKids account you can link it to a new or existing California ScholarShare 529 account for that student, so you can see your savings grow over time.
A 529 college savings plan is an investment plan managed and sponsored by a state that allows families to save money for future education expenses. You can withdraw funds tax-free to cover qualified higher education expenses. If you are able to save some of your own money for your child’s future college costs, a 529 plan is an excellent option in addition to K2C.
With a ScholarShare 529 account, you can contribute to your child’s savings by mail, direct deposit and bill pay. U-gift is convenient service for family and friends to also contribute to a child’s college education - there are so many perfect opportunities to give including at birthdays, holidays, graduations, and other important occasions.
Check out the “Save with a 529” section of K2CSF.org for more on the benefits of California ScholarShare and how to save alongside it and K2C.
K2C can answer basic questions if you email firstname.lastname@example.org or join weekly Zoom Office Hours (Tuesday 4-5pm in English or Thursdays 9:30-10:30 am in Spanish), but our friends at ScholarShare who administer CalKIDS and the state’s 529 are the experts. Here’s where to get support:
Visit ScholarShare529.com and CalKIds.org to get started and for frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Join ScholarShare webinars and watch CalKids YouTube tutorials
Schedule appointments with multi-lingual consultants who are licensed to provide financial advice about investment options with California ScholarShare’s 529 account
Call 888-445-2377 Monday to Friday between 8 am to 5pm or email email@example.com.
If you have not received a welcome letter with a unique registration code to register your CalKids accounts (90+ days after birth or late Spring or summer for eligible students), use the local registration number at top of your newborn’s birth certificate or contact your school district for your student’s State Issued Student ID (SSID).