General InformationDownload PDF Report

ScholarShare 529

California's ScholarShare 529 is available to residents of any state. It offers a variety of investment options from TIAA-CREF, T. Rowe Price, and others.

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception1999
  • State agencyThe ScholarShare Investment Board (SIB) chaired by the State Treasurer
  • Program ManagerTIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI)
  • Program distributorTIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI)
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for CA residents

This is a program that offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments, and additional economic benefits (such as generous state tax incentives) that for some people, at least, will provide a substantial boost to their savings. There are few, if any, weaknesses noted in the program.

Our overall rating for non-residents

This is a program that offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments, and additional economic benefits (such as generous state tax incentives) that for some people, at least, will provide a substantial boost to their savings. There are few, if any, weaknesses noted in the program.'s 5-Cap Ratings provides an evaluation and comparison of 529 plans, utilizing a formula that examines dozens of factors grouped into the following categories.

5.00out of 5

Each plan's performance score is developed directly from's Quarterly 529 Performance Rankings. A 529 savings plan must have at least one year of performance history before they will be assigned a 5-cap rating. For those plans that are not part of our quarterly performance rankings, such as plans offering a single set of bank-based investment options, we assign a performance score by evaluating the returns currently available on similar types of investments outside of 529 plans.


State residency requirements:


Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

U.S. citizens and resident aliens at least 18 years old, emancipated minors, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:



Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in California's 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $475,000.

Minimum contributions:

With lump-sum contributions and non-payroll automatic contributions, the minimum initial contribution is $25 per investment portfolio. The minimum subsequent contribution of $25 per investment portfolio has been waived. With the payroll deduction plan, the minimum contribution level per portfolio is $15 per payroll period.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

Choose between 2 age-based options, one invested in actively-managed mutual funds and the other invested in index mutual funds. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary's age. The portfolios automatically shift to a more conservative investment allocation over time.View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

Select among 12 multi-fund portfolios, 4 individual-fund portfolios (including the Social Choice Portfolio), and a principal-protection portfolio.View more static investment options

Underlying investments:

Actively-managed portfolios: T. Rowe Price, TIAA-CREF, DFA, PIMCO. Index-fund portfolios: TIAA-CREF. The Principal Plus Interest Option is provided through a funding agreement with TIAA-CREF Life.View a full list of this plan's investment options

Underlying fund allocations:


Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup


Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:


Account maintenance fee:


Program management fees:

0.08% (includes 0.05% state fee); 0.03% for Passive and Single Fund Portfolios (no state fee); None for the Principal Plus Interest Portfolio.

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.05% to 0.12% annualized in the index fund portfolios, from 0.23% to 0.49% annualized in the actively managed fund portfolios, 0.08% to 0.17% in the passive portfolios, 0.18 in the Social Choice Portfolio, and none for the Principal Plus Interest Portfolio.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

0.08% - 0.57%. None for the Principal Plus Interest Portfolio.

Taxes and other Benefits

  • Tax deduction for single filersNone
  • Tax deduction for joint filersNone


California doesn't offer tax deductions

Program match on contributions:


State tax deduction or credit for contributions:


State tax recapture provisions:

There is no state tax deduction and therefore no recapture. However, a non-qualified withdrawal by a California taxpayer is subject to an additional 2.5% California penalty tax on the earnings portion, but only if subject to the the additional 10% federal additional penalty tax.

State tax treatment of qualified distributions:

Qualified distributions from California and non-California 529 plans are exempt.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

California follows federal tax-free treatment.

Does the sponsoring state exclude the value of an account for state financial aid purposes?

No,, but California excludes 529 plans when considering eligibility for Medi-Cal.

Does participation in the program provide beneficiaries with any advantages in qualifying for resident tuition status at state institutions?


Does the program have a formal agreement with a rewards program or outside scholarship program?


Statutory protection of an account from creditors:


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NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series

The Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series is available through Merrill Edge. The plan utilizes BlackRock (including iShares) funds in its age-based and static options. In addition, the Principal Plus Portfolio and the NextGen Savings Portfolio are available.

Our rating for residents
Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.52%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Matching Grants for qualifying accounts

Distributions & Terminations

To whom are distributions made payable:

Beneficiary, eligible educational institution or account owner, as directed by the account owner.

Account Changes

Policy regarding participant/owner changes:

Accepts requests to change account owner.

Documents, Access & Reporting

Does participant have online password-protected access to account?


Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?


Documents and other services accessible or downloadable on the program's public Web site: