California Gives Kids $1,500 for College or Job Training

A new state initiative in California began this month, and it will give at least $50 to each of the state’s millions of children to use toward their post-secondary education.

With soaring tuition expenses, the state of California has launched a program called CalKIDS to help families afford higher education. Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood) has been working on related legislation since 2014. This is the product of his policy efforts, and it provides initial financing for a college savings plan for children born to low-income families and pupils attending public schools.

This program is a terrific illustration of equity-driven policy, according to Max Vargas, vice president of economic justice at the Latino Community Foundation.

According to a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California, Latinos make up the majority of the state’s population and also report the highest levels of financial need among students attending the state’s public colleges.


Vargas expressed a desire for the state to keep considering ways to expand the program to the areas that need it most.

The trust level is lowest “where the need is greatest,” he said. I can think of one statistic: 43% of Latino households don’t have bank accounts, either because they don’t know about banks or don’t believe the programs offered to them.

He argued that the state should seek out local partners who can communicate with communities in ways that are both linguistically and culturally appropriate in order to foster trust.

CalKIDS is overseen by the ScholarShare board, led by Executive Director Julio Martinez. He listed the California Department of Education and groups that assist new parents as examples of the state’s current partners. Other examples included United Ways of California and First 5 California.

Public agencies and community organizations can join up to become CalKIDS partners through the website.

Every [qualified] public school child and their families would receive a letter in the mail informing them of this initiative, he said, “much as with newborns.”

Get the details on how to get your hands on the cash, whether or not you qualify, and more by reading on.

Are there any prerequisites for participation?
Low-income elementary through high school children in California who were born on or after July 1, 2022.

Nazarian has stated that he has never intended for U.S. citizenship to be a requirement for participation.

Any child born in California or enrolled in a California school by the start of the first grade, regardless of socioeconomic background, will be eligible for the program, he added. Goal: Make sure every Californian knows they can become a part of an investment group.


Students and parents at public schools can check their CalKIDS account status with an eligibility tool. Sixteen additional languages, including Spanish, Hmong, Tagalog, Farsi, Vietnamese, and simplified Chinese, are available for use on the CalKIDS website.

The Statewide Student Identifier can be found on report cards or by contacting the school or school district directly.

How much funding is there for this initiative?
When parents open a CalKIDS account online for a child born on or after July 1, 2022, the initial $25 deposit is increased to $50.

There could be a delay in the creation of a newborn’s account because the state has 90 days to acquire birth data.

A $50 bonus is added to a newborn’s CalKIDS account when the parents or guardians join a ScholarShare 529 account, either new or existing.

For low-income students in California’s public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, the state automatically deposits $500 into their CalKIDS account. Students who are living in foster care or who are homeless receive an additional $500.

To access my CalKIDS account, what do I need to do?
In order to access the account, you must create an account on our website. The method only requires three bits of information; no SSN or taxpayer ID is required to withdraw funds.

You’ll need:

The county where the birth certificate was filed.
Birth date for the baby
Either the local registration number listed on the birth certificate or the individual CalKIDS code sent in the notification letter to qualified families must be entered as the registration code.
Required items for a 1st–12th-grade student account are as follows:

A student’s county of residence as of October 6, 2021, when they were enrolled in a public school there (the Fall Academic Census Day 2021)
When the student was born
Either the Statewide Student Identifier (SSID; see student report cards or get in touch with the school or school district to obtain this information) or the unique CalKIDS number included in the letter issued to eligible families is needed to register.
In what other ways do I need to understand the financial situation?
Martinez emphasized that the account funds are unavailable for withdrawal until the student reaches the age of majority and is prepared to enroll in a postsecondary institution. To make tax-deductible contributions to a ScholarShare 529 plan, parents or guardians must establish an individual account.

When opening a ScholarShare 529 plan, parents can choose from 17 distinct investment options, the most popular of which is a “age-based portfolio.”

Investments made using CalKIDS funds follow a similar age-based pattern.

All expenses related to attendance at an eligible college or university, such as tuition, lodging and board, books, supplies, and computer equipment, are exempt from federal income tax.

You can stop contributing to the CalKIDS account at any time by printing off and submitting a completed opt-out form (available in both English and Spanish) to the ScholarShare Investment board.

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