Skip to content


About The College Illinois!
Prepaid Tuition Program

The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program was established in 1997 to help make college a reality for Illinois families. College Illinois! helps to lock in the cost of college by allowing Illinois families to prepay for future tuition at today's plan rates.

Quick facts about College Illinois!:


Enjoy the certainty of one price and set payments that allow you to pay for the cost of college tuition today, so you can feel confident that tuition will be there tomorrow.

Meaningful Tax Advantages

On a state level, any increased value of a College Illinois! Plan is 100% exempt from Illinois State income tax if used for qualified higher education expenses. Contributions may also be deducted from Illinois State income, subject to certain limits. On a Federal level, benefits include 100% tax-exempt earnings and a gift giving tax exemption.*

*Neither ISAC nor College Illinois! can provide you with legal or tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor concerning Federal and State tax implications of purchasing a contract.

Flexible Plans

Purchase up to 9 semesters with multiple plan choices and payment options that fit your budget. College Illinois! allows you to increase or decrease the number of semesters in your plan any time prior to using plan benefits.

Flexible Benefits

Plan benefits can be used at almost any college or university in Illinois or the United States. Unused benefits can be transferred to another member of the family. If your child decides to transfer schools, benefits can be used at more than one school during his or her college career. The value of unused benefits can also be applied towards graduate study tuition and fees.

Simple Purchasing

Contract Purchasers must be at least 18 years of age.  Either the Purchaser or the Beneficiary must be an Illinois Resident.

Versatile Funds

Transfer funds from another qualified tuition program, Coverdell Education Savings Account or certain series of U.S. Savings Bonds to pay for a College Illinois! account or another qualified tuition program.

Program Background and Update

The College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program is a long-term program that, as a qualified 529 plan, provides significant tax advantages and a unique value to families who prefer the certainty of a fixed price to prepay college tuition.

Since 1998, more than 30,000 students have attended college using over $800 million in College Illinois! benefits. They have used the plan not just at Illinois public colleges and universities but at private and out-of-state colleges across the country. This year alone, College Illinois! paid benefits for approximately 10,000 Program beneficiaries.

Program funds are held in a separate Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund in the custody of the Northern Trust Company, and by law can only be used to pay benefits and run the program.

The funded status of the plan has improved since June 30, 2011 from about 70 percent to about 79 percent at June 30, 2015 – a difference of $244 million—even with the challenges of the Great Recession, double-digit tuition inflation and budget turmoil at the state level. As with any long-term investment plan, the funded status will fluctuate, but our actuarial reports indicate that continuing to grow contract sales will be a positive factor in improving the plan’s status. For more information on Program finances and investments, and to view the annual actuarial update for the Program, visit our Financial/Investment FAQs and our 529 Financials page.

For parents of younger children in particular, determining how much to save for college will always be a challenge. A prepaid plan takes the guess work out of making that determination. Indeed, many families tell us that they purchased a plan when their children were newborn, and had already paid for several semesters of college by the time their children reached kindergarten.

To see what our plan holders are saying, visit our testimonials page.

The College Illinois! Investment Team

College Illinois! program assets, which are held in the separate Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund in the custody of the Northern Trust Company, are professionally managed by multiple external investment management firms with oversight from institutional investment consulting firm, Callan Associates, the statutory Investment Advisory Panel, and internal investment staff led by Chief Investment Officer, Kent Custer, CFA. .

About The Illinois Student Assistance Commission

The mission of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is to help make college accessible and affordable for students throughout Illinois. ISAC provides comprehensive, objective, and timely information on education and financial aid for students and their families—giving them access to the tools they need to make the educational choices that are right for them. Then, through the state scholarship and grant programs ISAC administers, ISAC can help students make those choices a reality.

To read more about ISAC and see the tools and resources the agency offers to help students and families achieve their educational goals, click here.