What is CalKIDS?
CalKIDS is a California state program that helps children save for college or career training after high school. Children born in California starting on July 1, 2022, and eligible low-income public school students are awarded a CalKIDS college savings account with an initial deposit in it. Enrollment is automatic and families are not required to contribute.
CalKIDS is administered by the ScholarShare Investment Board, an instrumentality of the State of California, chaired by the State Treasurer.
Who is eligible for a CalKIDS account?
CalKIDS is a program that helps children in California 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.
Eligible children include:
Please note: CalKIDS receives information on newborns approximately 90 days after birth is registered with 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.
Register to access your CalKIDS account
- $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. Watch both your CalKIDS and ScholarShare529 accounts grow in one convenient location
How do I get started?
The State of California has taken the first step to help fund your child’s future higher education expenses. To ensure your child receives the money, you must register on the program’s online portal. The easy registration process does not require you to disclose any taxpayer identification numbers.
What you’ll need to register an account for a newborn participant:
- 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 child’s birth was registered
What you’ll need to register an account for a student participant:
- Statewide Student Identifier (SSID), or the 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 Fall Academic Census Day 2021 (October 6, 2021)
CalKIDS receives information on newborns approximately 90 days after birth is registered with California Department of Public Health.
What can CalKIDS funds be used for?
The funds in your CalKIDS account can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses, such as:
- Tuition and related fees
- Books and required supplies
- Certain room and board costs
- Computer equipment
Where can CalKIDS funds be used?
CalKIDS funds can be used at eligible educational institutions nationwide and some abroad, including community colleges, universities, vocational and professional schools.
How should higher education institutions treat a CalKIDS distribution?
A distribution check from the CalKIDS Program is a scholarship from the State of California for a student attending an Eligible Institution. Distribution checks do not contain Section 529 monies.
California state law governing the CalKIDS Program, including information on qualified expenses, can be found in Education Codes 69996 – 69996.9. Examples of allowable expenses include tuition, fees, books, certain on or off-campus room and board costs, and computer and other required equipment for attendance.
As stated above, CalKIDS scholarships can be used for a wide range of higher education expenses. If a student does not have a balance at the Eligible Institution to apply the funds toward, the funds should be processed according to the institution’s guidelines and procedures on how to process scholarship funds in these situations where some higher education expenses may be incurred by the student outside of the institution.
Are CalKIDS distributions taxable?
Amounts in a CalKIDS account that are distributed to an Eligible Institution on behalf of a student generally should be federal, state and local income tax-free to the student if such amounts are treated as qualified scholarships under Section 117 of the Internal Revenue Code. Section 117 generally treats as qualified scholarships amounts used for tuition and fees required for attendance at an Eligible Institution and for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for courses of instruction at an Eligible Institution. If CalKIDS account funds are used for any other purpose, including room and board, such amounts may be taxable. This should not be construed as tax advice. Individual circumstances vary and students should consult with their tax advisor regarding the tax implications of a CalKIDS account.