Former elected official Bill Lockyer discusses how California is working to fill the education gap.
The state of California is facing an incredible gap between the need to obtain a college degree and an inability to afford one. Bill Lockyer previously worked with elected officials in the Bay Area and beyond to fill the education gap. He discussed the state’s effective ScholarShare program and other efforts being taken to help people access college affordably.
“ScholarShare is our state’s current college savings plan,” Bill Lockyer said. “We’re building on this program and creating new methods of helping citizens obtain college degrees without living their lives in debt.”
Bill Lockyer stated that colleges and universities are currently driving the state of California and its economy. The state is known as one of the most technologically-based in the nation, and the industry is highly competitive. Bill Lockyer believes the higher education system in the state will only become more important as many jobs begin to demand college degrees.
“We need to increase the education level of our younger generations,” Bill Lockyer said. “This is required to help them live comfortable lives with good-paying jobs, and it’s needed to keep California competitive in the global market.”
Bill Lockyer explained that California is a state known for its technological advancements, but it’s also known as one of the most globalized states in the country. He explained that the state has succeeded in creating an education system that promotes equal opportunity for education, but it needs to be brought into financial reach for everyone.
Bill Lockyer added that all families need to have the means to save and invest wisely for the education of their children. The ScholarShare 529 college savings plan allows earnings to grow tax-deferred. Disbursements from a ScholarShare savings plan used for schooling are state and federal tax-free. Bill Lockyer explained that starting the savings plan early and contributing often can be an excellent way to invest in a child’s education.
“The ScholarShare program is now more flexible than ever before,” Bill Lockyer said. “Accounts can easily be opened online, there’s no income limit, no annual fee, and disbursements can be made for nearly all college expenses anywhere in the country.”
However, Bill Lockyer finished by stating that far more needs to be done to diminish the education gap in the state. Only 1.8 percent of young people in the state currently hold ScholarShare accounts and many parents don’t know that these plans exist. The current goal is to work with the state legislature to educate families on these accounts and provide other ways to help Californians invest in their kids’ futures.