New ScholarShare529 Program Will Help Make Higher Education Accessible to More California Families

By State Treasurer John Chiang

California’s $8 billion ScholarShare529 college savings plan, which I chair, has launched an exciting new initiative to help parents save more money to pay for their children’s college.

Starting January 1, 2018, ScholarShare 529 will encourage low-to-moderate-income families to save for college by offering them a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $200 dollars. Additionally, families that make monthly automatic contributions will get a $25 dollar bonus.

The program offers flexibility as the funds can be used at any accredited higher-education program, including community colleges and trade schools, as well as for other approved educational expenses.

Savings in ScholarShare529 accounts do not affect eligibility for most state benefits, such as CalWORKS and CalFresh.

The ScholarShare529 Matching Grant Program is a tool to create more opportunity and aid students realize their California dreams by earning higher education degrees.

Children should be able to pursue higher education on a course that can take them to the stars, no matter how much money their families may have. They should be free to become astronauts, doctors, computer game creators or whatever they desire.

Research shows that participating in a college savings plan can help families regain the promise of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations, such as job security and home ownership.

Saving for college also increases the chances that children will go to college. In fact, children with college savings accounts are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate.

When my parents emigrated from Taiwan a generation ago, they did not have much. In fact, my Dad had only three shirts, two pairs of pants and about a couple hundred dollars when he came to this country. But my folks worked hard, and were able to provide us with the opportunity to pursue higher education and a promising futures.

Unfortunately, that opportunity now is fading for many families. The wealth gap between rich and poor is the widest it has been in 40 years and the cost of higher education is putting college out of reach for many.

That is why we must do whatever we can to help all Californians who are struggling to achieve better lives through education. I am proud that California is leading the way in helping these families.

By opening a ScholarShare 529 account and putting in just a small amount of money, California families can take advantage of an investment tool that can exponentially grow their money over time.

At ScholarShare529, we want to make sure children not only get to college. We also want to make sure they graduate with minimal debt so they can take advantage of all the future opportunities college provides.

Getting started is easy. Simply visit http://www.mgp.scholarshare.com/