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February 1, 1999


CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan announced the application deadline for College Illinois! will be extended to February 12, due to overwhelming response from interested parents and families.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will accept contract applications postmarked through Friday, Feb. 12 for this year's enrollment period. The previous deadline for the initial sign-up period was Jan. 31.

"This program has experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from parents and other family members who view College Illinois! as a way to secure their children's educational future today," Ryan said. "We want to give everyone who is interested an opportunity to enroll under this year's rates."

Since the program's inception in October 1998, College Illinois! has proven to be a popular program with parents and grandparents. The ISAC received more than 70,000 inquiries through their website and over the telephone requesting applications and information. Through the end of January, more than 9,000 contracts had been received.

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.

"Besides starting a rigorous savings plan, parents are presented with so few alternatives to pay for college while costs continue to skyrocket," Ryan said. "This program makes a higher education affordable and makes college a reality because parents can make monthly payments instead of having to take out loans at higher interest rates," he added.

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 extended deadline should contact ISAC toll-free at (877) 877-3724 or visit the College Illinois! website at www.collegeillinois.com.


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