Wednesday, 01 February 2023

State treasurer, lieutenant governor announce $50 Matching College Savings Program

From left, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, the ScholarShare mascot and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Courtesy image.

SACRAMENTO – As California and the nation celebrated 529 College Savings Day on Wednesday, State Treasurer Fiona Ma – joined by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis – announced that there is still time left in a matching promotion that gives people $50 in exchange for starting a ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan.

To be eligible for the matching promotion, participants must open a new ScholarShare 529 account between May 28 and May 31, 2019, with a minimum $50 deposit – to be contributed and invested at the time the new account is opened – and sign up for an automatic contribution plan of $25 or more for a minimum of six months.

"What if I told you that by giving up five trips to Starbucks and one meal out per week you could save enough to cover a full year of private school tuition in 18 years!" said Ma. "That's right, by investing just $160 per month in a 529 college savings plan you could end up with $62,286 by the time your newborn is ready for college, based on an annual investment return of 6 percent."

"Thank you Treasurer Ma for your leadership in ensuring that parents and families can easily and conveniently open a 529 college savings plan to start saving for their children’s future today. A 529 account can be used to pay not only for tuition but for certain room and board costs, technology, books and other necessities. I encourage families to invest now in saving for their children’s education," said Kounalakis.

A matching deposit of $50 will be made to the eligible ScholarShare account on or before 11:59 p.m. PST on Jan. 31, 2020. There is a limit of one matching deposit per new ScholarShare 529 account opened for each new beneficiary.

The average student loan debt is $36,521. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, there is $1.48 trillion total student loan debt in the United States . That’s up from $620 billion in 2008, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. When Californians are saddled with student loan debt, they are not able to buy homes, cars, and other products that boost the economy.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan has more than 322,000 accounts and over $9 billion in assets. In 2018 alone, more than $513 million was withdrawn for qualified higher education expenses. With 100-percent tax-free growth, families can accumulate up to 25% more money for higher education – funds which can be used for a range of qualified expenses at most trade schools, colleges, and universities nationwide.

ScholarShare 529 is administered by the ScholarShare Investment Board, which is chaired by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. Program Manager.

To learn more about the ScholarShare 529, visit .

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