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San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College program, created by then-Mayor Newsom, has deposited $11 million for nearly 50,000 public school students

Governor Newsom’s universal college savings account program will start an account for every Californian born after July 1, 2022 and those students who are more in need of support will be eligible for upwards of $1,500 deposits

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom joined a class of 1st graders from Bryant Elementary School as they deposited the $11 millionth dollar into Kindergarten to College savings accounts, highlighting the success of this program and how the Administration has expanded this concept statewide.

San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College (K2C) program, founded in 2011 by then-San Francisco Mayor Newsom and Treasurer José Cisneros, automatically opens a savings account seeded with $50 in public funds for every child entering kindergarten in San Francisco’s public schools, putting students on a path to college from their first day of school. There are nearly 50,000 K2C participants who, as of today, have $11 million saved for post-secondary education.

Last year, Governor Newsom made history by creating the largest statewide college savings account program in the country, providing at least $500 for every eligible low-income student in California. Research has shown that when kids have a college savings account in their own name – even with less than $500 in it – they’re three times as likely to attend college, and four times more likely to finish college.

“College savings accounts are transformational opportunities for millions of kids to be successful in college,” said Governor Newsom. “The program we created here in San Francisco has invested $11 million in thousands of kids’ futures, and we’re taking that promise of success statewide – creating a universal college savings account program so that every California student can be college ready.”



Governor highlights statewide college savings program at celebration for San Francisco’s K2C program

Last year, Governor Newsom spearheaded the creation of two new college savings accounts programs for Californians throughout the state, including a universal college savings account program for the state’s future generations:

  • Universal college savings accounts for Californians born after July 1, 2022. All newborns born in California after July 1, 2022 will have accounts opened for them – universally. This will include a $25 base deposit, with up to $75 extra in incentives for registering an online account, etc. Once low-income children from this cohort reach first grade at public school, the intent is to make base and supplemental deposits into these accounts, eliminating the need to set up new accounts for first graders every year.
  • Upwards of $1,500 for those students most in need. In July, public school students in grades 1-12 this 2021-22 academic year will have accounts opened on their behalf under the following criteria: Low-income students will receive a base deposit of $500, with supplemental deposits of $500 each for homeless and foster youth, for a total amount up to $1,500 (i.e., a low-income foster youth experiencing homelessness). Every year thereafter, all eligible first graders in public school will have accounts opened for them pursuant to the same criteria. The first set of accounts are expected to be opened for approximately 3.5 million students this year, with an estimated 300,000 students each year thereafter.

All families in the CalKIDS Program will be encouraged to open and link their own ScholarShare 529 college savings account to maximize their savings. As the CalKIDS Program unfolds, the state encourages assistance from public and private leaders to market this program to families in all 58 counties. The accounts will be tax-advantaged, allow for investment growth potential for younger participants, and ensure capital preservation to accommodate high school students who will be withdrawing funds soon. The program will be accessible regardless of immigration status.

San Francisco’s K2C program was the first universal Child Savings Account program in the country and is this week celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021 with the release of a new video and report. This program has been replicated across the country, with 123 active College Savings Account programs reaching more than 1.2 million children in 39 states, including municipal programs in Oakland, Los Angeles and New York City, and statewide programs in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Maine.

“We started K2C so that every student in our public schools would know that they have a future worth saving for,” said San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros. “More important than the money itself, $11 million in savings represents millions of conversations our families are having with their children about going to college.”

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