CHICAGO — If a college education might be in your child’s future, consider making a New Year’s resolution to start saving today. While it’s never too late to start putting money away for college, the College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program makes it easy to start early.
Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program is a tax-advantaged way for purchasers to lock in the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for a future college student today, helping them avoid the sting of tuition inflation. When a beneficiary is ready to go to college, he or she can apply benefits almost anywhere according to the terms of the contract.
“Life comes at you in a hurry; kids grow up fast, and college tuition prices are growing faster,” said Andrew Davis, ISAC’s executive director. “Locking into a prepaid tuition plan such as College Illinois! lets families limit their costs as well as their exposure to risky stock market fluctuations, giving themselves security, flexibility and piece of mind.”
Because it is an IRS-designated 529 plan, College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition benefits are exempt from state and federal taxes when used for qualified education expenses. Illinois taxpayers can deduct contributions up to $10,000 per individual or $20,000 for married couples filing jointly. Those purchasing a plan as a gift may be eligible for a gift-giving tax exemption of up to $13,000 for individuals or $26,000 per couple. Please consult a professional tax consultant or financial planner concerning tax implications of a plan purchase.
“With the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program, families are encouraged to start saving early. The younger the child, the greater opportunity for savings on college tuition and mandatory fees,” continued Davis, a contract holder himself. “January’s pricing discounts make it the perfect time to fulfill New Year’s resolutions of saving money for college, letting families save more money on the price of college while saving at the same time.”
Since every family’s situation is different, College Illinois! offers flexible plans and affordable payment options that make it easy to start early and save for college over time while also saving money on college. Three distinct plans (Community, University, University +) let purchasers start out small by paying for a semester or year of school, with the option to add on later. Purchasers can choose to pay over time or in a lump sum on a schedule that best fits their needs. However, the deadline to receive January’s pricing discount is Monday, January 31, 2011, and prices will increase in February.
Visit www.529prepaidtuition.org or call toll-free at (877) 877-3724 for program information, monthly pricing discounts and enrollment guidelines.
Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the College Illinois! 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 68,000 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.
A state agency, ISAC’s big goal is to increase the proportion of Illinois adults with a postsecondary credential to 60 percent by 2025. The commission continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by distributing almost $430 million in student aid to nearly 200,000 students across the state in FY 2010 alone.
The Commission provides educational funding via numerous programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program in addition to outreach to underserved populations through the College Illinois! Corps. 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.CollegeIllinois.org and www.529prepaidtuition.org.