SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— The Illinois Student Assistance Commission launched the 12th year of enrollment for the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program on Sunday, November 1.
The new, year-round enrollment means the program never closes, and parents can time their prepaid purchase to coincide conveniently with their personal financial cycle. Now is the best time to purchase a contract because new pricing discounts make buying early less expensive, and the current pricing period ends November 30.
Unlike a college savings plan, the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program is the tax-advantaged plan that protects families from tuition inflation by allowing purchasers to lock-in a price now to cover future tuition and fees at colleges nationwide. A child born today is projected to incur college costs of more than $180,000 at a four-year, public university, but parents and grandparents can sign a prepaid tuition contract today for much less, negating the effect of tuition inflation on their pocketbooks.
“We’ve made it more convenient than ever to take advantage of the program by offering year-round enrollment,” said Andrew Davis, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which runs the program. “However, the earlier parents enter into a prepaid tuition contract, the better protected they are against future tuition inflation. Plus, by buying now, they’ll be able to take advantage of early monthly pricing discounts, another new feature this year.”
For the first time ever, the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program is offering discounted pricing monthly – the earlier one applies and makes the initial payment, the lower the contract price. Prices adjust on the first day of each new month, every month, until October 31, 2010 when tuition and fees are recalculated for the 2010-2011 plan period, so it pays to purchase sooner than later.
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 plan is the security the program affords. Unlike a savings plan, a College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program contract between the purchaser and the state of Illinois ensures tuition and fee benefits for college, regardless of fluctuations in the market. 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.
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.
Now is the time for parents and grandparents to purchase this secure option for their child’s educational future at the lowest prices. Visit www.529prepaidtuition.org or call toll-free at (877) 877-3724 for program information, materials and enrollment guidelines.
Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition is a secure college funding option because benefits do not fluctuate with the stock market. Since the program’s 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 the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
More about College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Pricing and Plans
A new tiered pricing system called SmartChoice, introduced in 2008, makes plans even more affordable than ever before. SmartChoice pricing provides three distinct price levels with different payment options. The plans are completely flexible and let the purchaser choose a pricing option that best matches financial needs and realities. Combination plans including four semesters at a community college and four semesters at a university level are also available. Various payment options include monthly and annual installments and multiple down payment levels. In addition, program beneficiaries can choose to attend college anywhere because benefits can be used outside of the state at public and private institutions nationwide.
Upon purchasing a contract, Illinois taxpayers can annually deduct up to $10,000 per individual or $20,000 for married couples filing jointly, and all plan earnings are exempt from state and federal taxes. Neither ISAC nor the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program can provide legal or tax advice. Please consult a professional tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications or purchasing any contract.
To enroll in the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program, visit www.529prepaidtution.org, or call (877) 877-3724 for program information, materials and enrollment guidelines.
About the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission:
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain financial aid for higher education. A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for more than 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing over 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling nearly $431 million.
The Commission provides educational funding with student loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of websites available at www.knowhow2GOIllinois.org and www.529prepaidtuition.org.