SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Parents will have a new place to shop for the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program when the program opens enrollment November 1. That’s because the official URL for the Web site has changed to www.529prepaidtuition.org to better reflect the flexibility in using the benefits of the program.
“The new Web address helps to eliminate the confusion that the program’s prepaid tuition benefits may only be used in the state of Illinois,” said Andrew Davis, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), which runs the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program. “Program benefits are currently being utilized in each of the 50 states and may be applied at almost any two-year or four-year college or university that accepts federal financial aid.”
Unlike a college savings plan, the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program is the tax-advantaged plan that shields families from tuition inflation by allowing purchasers to lock-in a price now to cover future tuition and fees at colleges nationwide.
For example, a child born today is projected to incur college costs of more than $180,000 at a four-year, public university in Illinois, but parents and grandparents can enroll newborns in the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program today for much less, negating the effect of tuition inflation on their pocketbooks.
A college education is one of the most important things a parent can provide for a child, and one of the primary reasons people purchase a prepaid tuition contract is the security the program affords. Unlike a savings plan which has no guarantees that accrued earnings will cover tuition inflation, the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program provides a contract. Each contract holder is entitled to receive the tuition and fee benefits as stated in the contract, regardless of fluctuations in the market.
College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition benefits keep pace with the increases in tuition and fees equal to those found at in-state, public institutions. Parents and grandparents can purchase as little as one semester at a community college to nine semesters at a public university. Various payment options are available, including monthly and annual installments. When a beneficiary is ready to go to college, he or she can choose to attend almost anywhere because benefits can be used at Illinois public universities and community colleges as well as public and private institutions nationwide.
Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission since its inception in 1998, more than 66,000 prepaid tuition contracts with a value of more than $1.6 billion have been purchased. The program’s Trust Fund is managed by professional money managers, subject to oversight by the program’s Investment Advisory Panel and ISAC.