General InformationDownload PDF Report

ScholarShare 529 logo

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.

Our Ratingx

4.5 of 5

Fee Scorex

4.5 of 5

Performancex

5 of 5

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception1999
  • State agency
    The ScholarShare Investment Board (SIB) chaired by the State Treasurer
  • Tax deduction
  • Program Manager
    TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI)
  • Program distributor
    TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI)
  • Manager contract termUNLOCK PRO

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for CA residents

This is an excellent program with many benefits for the participant and positive investment attributes. If it has any significant weaknesses then it also has some particularly good things to recommend it.

Our overall rating for non-residents

This is an excellent program with many benefits for the participant and positive investment attributes. If it has any significant weaknesses then it also has some particularly good things to recommend it.

Savingforcollege.com'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.


4.61of 5

Each plan's performance score is developed directly from Savingforcollege.com'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.

Eligibility

State residency requirements:

None

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:

None

Alternative 529 Plans

Other great plans to consider

You are not limited to opening your own state's 529 plan, so shop around. Here are some highly rated options to consider:

Plan
Our Rating
Fee Scorex
Performancex
Our Rating
5 of 5
Fee Scorex
4.5 of 5
Performancex
5 of 5
enroll now
61,799 clicked to enroll
Our Rating
5 of 5
Fee Scorex
4.5 of 5
Performancex
N/A
enroll now
13,961 clicked to enroll
Our Rating
5 of 5
Fee Scorex
4.5 of 5
Performancex
N/A
enroll now
54,637 clicked to enroll
Our Rating
5 of 5
Fee Scorex
4.5 of 5
Performancex
5 of 5
enroll now
61,799 clicked to enroll
Our Rating
5 of 5
Fee Scorex
5 of 5
Performancex
5 of 5
enroll now
163,242 clicked to enroll
Our Rating
4.5 of 5
Fee Scorex
4.5 of 5
Performancex
5 of 5
Our Rating
5 of 5
Fee Scorex
5 of 5
Performancex
5 of 5
enroll now
163,242 clicked to enroll
Our Rating
4.0 of 5
Fee Scorex
5 of 5
Performancex
4 of 5
Our Rating
4.5 of 5
Fee Scorex
4.5 of 5
Performancex
5 of 5

Contributions

Maximum contributions:

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

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:

UNLOCK PRO

Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup

UNLOCK PRO

Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:

None.

Account maintenance fee:

None.

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

Note

California doesn't offer tax deductions

Program match on contributions:

The 2019 Matching Grant Program offers a dollar-for-dollar match contribution of up to $200 on new accounts. Families that establish a monthly automatic contribution plan of $25 or more are eligible for a $25 bonus. Eligible parents/guardians must be California residents at enrollment, have a valid social security number or a federal tax ID number, and have an adjusted gross annual income of $75,000 or less.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

None

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 definition of qualified expenses

The state's definition of qualified education expenses currently includes expenses for attendance at an institution of higher education as defined by the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations addressing qualified state tuition programs. This does not include tuition for elementary or secondary education.

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?

No

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

Yes, the Upromise Rewards program can be linked to any 529 college savings plan. Upromise Rewards is free to join and offers members cash back for college.

Upromise Helps Families Save for College

Upromise Helps Families Save for College

Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

UNLOCK PRO

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?

Yes

Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?

Yes

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

UNLOCK PRO

Contact

Website:

http://www.scholarshare.com

Telephone:

1-800-544-5248

Twitter

scholarshare529