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Riverside County Office of Education helps students claim free college savings account


As students in Riverside County are enjoying summer vacation, pre-loaded savings accounts in their names with free money to fund college and career dreams are continuing to grow- with interest.

Launched in 2022 by the State of California, the California Kids Investment and Development Savings Program (CalKIDS) college savings accounts with up to $1500 are waiting to be claimed by the majority of the 430,000 students in Riverside County. View our coverage of the program when it launched in 2022 here.

As part of its ongoing focus on college and career readiness, and as a strategic extension of its ongoing Financial Literacy Initiative, The Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) has been spreading the word about CalKIDS through the more than 60 webinars, workshops, community sign-up events, one-on-one sessions, and more.

“The best way to increase the college completion rate in Riverside County is to eliminate all barriers that might stand in the way of students pursuing their college and career dreams after high school,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Edwin Gomez. “Even the parents of the youngest students in Riverside County should claim their CalKIDS accounts today.”

In April of 2023, RCOE advocated for the passage of language in the Education Code which amended state law to provide data access to individual counties in order to better track and promote participation in the CalKIDS program. As a result, RCOE has launched the Riverside County CalKIDS Scorecard that tracks the participation rates of every school in Riverside County. The scorecard lists the number of eligible students at each school and their current registration rate.

One of the most significant barriers to pursuing college and career dreams is being dismantled through CalKIDS accounts. Research shows that children with $500 or less designated for college savings are three times more likely to enroll in college and nearly four times more likely to graduate compared to children with no college savings account.

California State Treasurer, Fiona Ma, visited three schools in Riverside County to observe the
implementation of the CalKIDS program. During the recent visit, students at Vista Heights Middle
School (Moreno Valley USD) and Lasselle Elementary School and Rancho Verde High School
(Val Verde USD), were introduced to CalKIDS savings accounts as part of financial literacy
lessons. Some even claimed their accounts in their classroom that day.

“Riverside County is providing an excellent example for local communities throughout California. By embracing CalKIDS and working hand-in-hand with our team, they are leading the way in getting accounts to all eligible children and families in Riverside County, and are setting them up for a lifetime of saving and good financial habits,” said Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer.

“Our students have been learning about the importance of financial literacy and why that will be important to their future,” said Katie Ermert, principal of Lasselle Elementary School in the Val Verde Unified School District. “Our students were thrilled to welcome State Treasurer Ma, and witnessing the excitement of students claiming their savings accounts on their Chromebooks, and watching them realize how that money that is waiting to help them pursue their dreams is not only a great motivator for the students, but for all educators who are shaping them each day for their future.”

More than 274,000 students in the Riverside County are eligible for a potential of over $137 million in free savings accounts to jumpstart saving for college and career training.

Accounts for eligible school-age children start with a $500 automatic deposit. An additional $500 for foster youth and an additional $500 for students identified as homeless are available.

There is no need to apply, and no requirement that families make any kind of financial commitment. All students and parents have to do is claim their CalKIDS savings accounts.

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Alyson Booth


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