Saving money for college gets a lot of attention in our home — and for good reason. College costs seem to rise by the day, and our kids’ ambitions seem to rise with them. My daughter’s been talking about becoming a veterinarian for years, and her new pet kitten fueled that dream even further. She investigates vet programs and college campuses. Thanks to many stories about when my husband studied in Germany, she’s even talking about study abroad programs to study “exotic animals.” Thankfully,ScholarShare 529, and other programs like it, make it easier than ever for parents to save for college.
A new program from ScholarShare 529
We’ve written aboutScholarShare 529 in the past, because we truly believe in starting to save money for college early. It feels like the best way to alleviate some of the stress surrounding college tuition costs. However, even with programs like ScholarShare in place, many families struggle to even start a savings plan for their kids’ college funds, let alone keep up contributions on the fund.
This January,ScholarShare 529 introduced a new program aimed at helping even more kids get closer to their college dreams. The Matching Grant Program aims to help low-to-moderate income families save for college by offering a dollar-for-dollar match contribution of up to $200 on new accounts. Families setting up an automatic monthly contribution of at least $25 are eligible for a $25 bonus.
Why ScholarShare developed the Matching Grant Program
Research shows that children with savings accounts, however small, are seven times more likely to attend and graduate college.ScholarShare 529 wants to make sure every family has the opportunity to start a savings account for their kids. “The wealth gap in our country is the widest it has been in 40 years and the ability to afford higher education is becoming increasingly difficult for low- and moderate-income California families,” said State Treasurer John Chiang, chair of the ScholarShare Investment Board. “To break the back of college unaffordability, we need to both tame out of control tuition increases and student loan debt as well as help families build college nest eggs.”
Learn more about ScholarShare 529’s Matching Grant Program
Remember, ScholarShare 529 account funds can be applied to all sorts of post-high-school educational opportunities. Use your educational savings at accredited higher education institutions from traditional universities to trade schools, community colleges to other approved educational expenses. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that vet school is on that list.
Saving for college matters — but what about their current schools?
Of course, many of our kids won’t be taking classes on a college campus for years. So while we definitely save for their future, we want them to have the best opportunities possible at their current schools. ScholarShare 529 — California’s college savings plan — agrees. They know college readiness starts when kids are young, and they want to give California schoolchildren the best possible start.
The Scholar Dollar grants program will award more than $300,000 in grants to K-8 schools in California. Schools can use the grant money for innovate programs, new science lab equipment, band uniforms, library resources, computers, tutoring, and more.
Check out this (short!) overview video of the program. In less than two minutes you can learn about the program — and then learn more about how to get money for your school.
Disclosure: ScholarShare 529 sponsored this post. All opinions are my own.