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October 18, 1999

College Illinois! Governor Ryan Kicks Off Enrollment

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today launched the second enrollment period for College Illinois!, the state's prepaid tuition program, with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Since the program's inception in October 1998, College Illinois! has proven to be a popular program with parents and grandparents. In its inaugural year, nearly 12,000 contracts were purchased, comprising an investment of more than $167 million in higher education by and for Illinois citizens.

"These contracts represent prepayment of more than 37,000 years of college," Ryan said. "That's great for the future of Illinois."

College Illinois! enables families to buy contracts and lock in the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at Illinois public colleges at today's prices. The program offers flexibility by allowing the purchaser to select anywhere from one semester at a community college to four years at a public university. Contract benefits also may be used at Illinois private colleges and at out-of-state colleges, both private and public.

Currently, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is providing information through their website and to high school students. College Illinois! is working on an "early awareness" campaign with employers to get information out to employees about the benefits of this program. This will enable College Illinois! to reach out to families with younger children who will also benefit from this program.

"The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has seen a steady and disturbing increase in the number of families and students who take on significant debt to fund college," said J. Robert Barr, ISAC's Chairman. "To counter that, we need to make college funding as important, as clear and as commonplace as retirement funding has become. The best place to do that is in the workplace, and the time to begin that is now, with the annual launch of College Illinois! open enrollment."

"By working with College Illinois!, we can provide employers with the essentials of this program." Gov. Ryan said. "More people in the workforce will be aware how important early planning is, and this will give parents the opportunity to make no-risk, hassle-free investments in order to fund their child's education."

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will accept contract applications postmarked through Friday, February 18 for this year's enrollment period.

College Illinois! is a state-backed program that provides a tax-advantaged way to lock in college costs and even spread the costs out over five or 10-year periods. Anyone interested in taking advantage of the program should contact ISAC toll-free at (877) 877-3724 or visit the College Illinois! website at www.collegeillinois.com.


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