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ScholarShare 529 Sees Record Growth In 2020

ScholarShare 529, California’s official college savings plan, announced it posted record growth in 2020, as many California families deepened their commitment to saving for higher education despite COVID-19 challenges. Compared to 2019, total contributions to ScholarShare 529 accounts increased 15 percent and the number of new account openings increased by 19 percent.

Additional 2020 highlights include:

In March 2020, when many California schools and businesses were closing to maintain social distancing, ScholarShare 529 posted a 41 percent increase in new account openings and a 45 percent increase in contributions over March 2019.

In December 2020, the ScholarShare 529 Holiday Offer drove a 42 percent increase in new accounts compared to December 2019.

ScholarShare 529 had nearly $11.4 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2020, after eclipsing $10 billion in January 2020.

“In a year filled with countless challenges for California families, we are encouraged to see that families who still have the means to save for college are doing so with extra commitment and emphasis,” said California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. “While the future is uncertain, smart college savings strategies will always be required to help families realize their higher education goals. As we head into 2021, we urge all Californians who are in a position to save for college to consider ScholarShare 529 for their savings needs.”

The increased savings trends align with many California families’ attitudes about saving for college. A 2020 survey revealed that California families felt passionate about college savings and committed to it, and increasingly concerned about affording college amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More than three-quarters (79 percent) of families surveyed said that helping their children afford college is one of the most important things they can do as a parent.

This may be another big growth year, especially with a new deal coming soon to help low- and moderate-income families.

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ScholarShare 529 serves as California’s official college savings plan. Administered by the ScholarShare Investment Board, ScholarShare 529 provides families with a valuable tool that offers a diverse set of investment options, tax-deferred growth, and withdrawals free from state and federal taxes when used for qualified higher education expenses, such as tuition and fees, books, certain room and board costs, computer equipment, and other required supplies.

To open a ScholarShare 529 account or get more information about the plan, visit