News & Press Releases

ScholarShare 529 Announces Major Additions to Its Socially Responsible Investment Options

Twelve new ESG portfolios available now. Plan also announced fee reductions expected to save California families $6 million annually.
Feb 15, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – ScholarShare 529, California’s College Savings Plan, is pleased to announce the expansion of their “Socially Responsible” investment lineup. With the launch of 12 new ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) portfolios, ScholarShare 529 is now a clear leader in responsible investing among all 529 plans nationwide.

ScholarShare 529 has offered socially responsible investing as an option for more than 20 years. Now their new lineup includes a full suite of ESG Enrollment Year Investment Portfolios as well as single-fund portfolios for ESG equity, ESG international equity, and ESG fixed income1.

“ScholarShare 529 has long been committed to brightening the future for the next generation of California students,” said California State Treasurer Fiona Ma. “In this spirit, we are pleased to announce a new major commitment to socially responsible investing which gives account holders who want special consideration for environmental, social, and governance investments more options for their principles to be reflected in their college savings investment portfolios.”

ESG investing incorporates certain environmental, social and governance considerations into the selection of holdings for a portfolio or benchmark. This can include factors such as climate impact, energy consumption, human rights, diversity and business ethics. ESG investments have gained a great deal of popularity recently, generating interest among 79% of investors according to one study (Morgan Stanley). ScholarShare 529, however, has been committed to providing ESG investment options long before the current wave of popularity.

A Six Million Dollar Price Reduction
Along with the new ESG portfolio options, ScholarShare 529 is also announcing a price reduction on a number of its existing portfolios. ScholarShare 529 fees were already less than half the national average2 for all 529 plans, and this price rollback marks the seventh fee reduction for ScholarShare 529 since 2011. These savings go directly to ScholarShare 529 account holders.

For questions on plan updates, call ScholarShare 529 at 1-800-544-5248. To review plan options, visit https://www.scholarshare529.com/welcome/smart-investments.php.

About ScholarShare 529
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. ScholarShare 529 manages $12.7 billion in plan assets across more than 375,000 ScholarShare 529 accounts as of January 31, 2022. To open a ScholarShare 529 account or get more information about the plan, visit www.ScholarShare529.com. For information about the ScholarShare Investment Board, visit www.treasurer.ca.gov/scholarshare, like ScholarShare 529 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529, and follow them on Twitter at @ScholarShare529. For more information about ScholarShare 529, visit www.ScholarShare529.com.

1 Responsible investing incorporates Environmental Social Governance (ESG) factors that may affect exposure to issuers, sectors, industries, limiting the type and number of investment opportunities available, which could result in excluding investments that perform well.

2 Source: ISS Market Intelligence 529 College Savings Fee Analysis Q4 2021. ScholarShare 529’s average annual asset-based fees are 0.26% for all portfolios compared to 0.53% for all 529 plans.

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