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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2009

Two Weeks Left To Lock-In December Prepaid Tuition Prices
Now is the Time to Enroll in the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program for Best Prices

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— Now is the time to lock-in prices for future college tuition and fees through the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).  That’s because there are only two weeks to qualify for 2009 tax year benefits before new prices take effect January 1.

"December is the perfect month to invest in a child's future with the gift of college tuition because all payments received by December 31st qualify for generous state and federal 2009 tax year benefits," said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. "Parents can enjoy tax breaks today while securing their child's future college tuition.”

New, monthly-discounted pricing allows purchasers who buy earlier to lock-in the lowest prices on future college tuition and apply benefits almost anywhere in the United States and abroad. Now is the best time to purchase a contract because pricing discounts make buying early more affordable. Prices adjust on the first day of each new month, every month, so it pays to purchase sooner rather than later. 

“Compare the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program to 529 savings plans to evaluate if the program is right for you,” Davis said.  “Then you can take the next natural steps—chat online with a representative to answer questions, complete an online application and even make a web payment at the end of the application process.”

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 or applied at public and private institutions nationwide.

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. 

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, monthly pricing discounts and enrollment guidelines.  December 31, 2009 is the final day to apply plan payments for 2009 taxes!

Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program 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. ISAC’s commissioners are responsible for the overall management of the Program and its investments, including hiring a qualified slate of investment managers and other professionals.
          
More about College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Pricing and Plans
A tiered pricing system called SmartChoice, introduced in 2008, makes plans even more affordable than ever before. SmartChoice pricing provides three distinct price and benefit levels (Community College, University and University+) with different payment options. The plans are completely flexible and let the purchaser choose a pricing option that best matches their 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 before purchasing a contract.

To enroll in the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program, visit www.529prepaidtuition.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.



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