CalKIDS program aims to boost college savings for 3.6 million eligible students

The California Kids Investment and Development Savings program, or CalKIDS, was established in 2022 to help children from low-income families save for college or career training.

But participation has been lower than expected, with only 300,000 out of an eligible 3.6 million accessing the benefits so far, according to a recent announcement.

The good news is it’s not too late to secure an account.

Administered by California’s ScholarShare Investment Board, CalKIDS is structured to provide up to $1,500 for each eligible child to help ease the cost of higher education or career training opportunities.

That includes a $500 automatic deposit for eligible low-income public school students, with an additional $500 for those identified as foster youth and another $500 for students experiencing homelessness.

For newborns, benefits include a $25 or $100 automatic deposit, with the amount dependent on the child’s date of birth. Additional incentives include $25 for registering on the program’s online portal and $50 for linking a ScholarShare 529 account.

Eligibility for the program is tied to the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, which was designed to direct more resources toward students with the greatest needs.

Families interested in checking eligibility, claiming their accounts or learning more about the CalKIDS program are encouraged to visit