CalKIDS: How to access the free cash California is giving out for kids to go to college

California lawmakers plan to open a small college savings account for every child in the state under a new taxpayer-funded scholarship program.

Under the CalKIDS program, newborns would receive as much as $100 in a savings account. The money will only be owned by the state and invested by professionals.

Parents can then track the account's growth but cannot withdraw from it and when the kids graduate from high school, that money will be sent directly to their school of choice. 

If they choose not to continue on with their education, the money will stay in the state account. 

"Education is the gateway to opportunity for all California kids. Once a mind is stretched, it can never go back," said Governor Gavin Newsom.

The program will benefit kids born on or after July 1, 2022, or eligible low-income public school students in grades 1-12 in California.

CalKIDS receives information on newborns approximately 90 days after a birth is registered with the California Department of Public Health.

Eligible newborns receive a:

  • $25 seed deposit in a CalKIDS account.
  • $25 deposit in your CalKIDS account when you register on the Program online portal.
  • $50 deposit in your CalKIDS account when you link a new or your existing ScholarShare 529 college savings account to your CalKIDS account. With your ScholarShare 529 account, your family and friends can help contribute to your baby’s savings through gifting. Making a gift contribution to a child’s college education is easy and there are so many perfect opportunities to give: at birthdays, holidays, graduations, and other important occasions.

According to its website, CalKIDS aims to:

  • Promote a college-going mindset in all California children.
  • Provide families an initial seed deposit to jump start personal savings.
  • Help families establish a positive pattern of saving while their children are young.
  • Support families in relying less on student loan debt when they’re ready to send their kids to college.

Click here to register to access your CalKIDS account.