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!:
CHECK COLLEGE TUITION OFF YOUR LIST
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.
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.
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.
Contract Purchasers must be at least 18 years of age. Either the Purchaser or the Beneficiary must be an Illinois Resident.
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.
During the 2016-17 enrollment period the program sold approximately 443 new prepaid tuition contracts. Like last year, the general enrollment period took place during a period of significant challenges for the state, as a result of a two-year budget delay. The state’s budget crisis and specifically the delayed funding to public higher education institutions increased concerns about the future of higher education in the state. Those concerns likely had an impact on contract sales. Fortunately, a final state budget was approved on July 6, 2017.
The program continues to be in a stronger place than it was a few years ago. The funded status of the program has improved, tuition inflation has moderated, and we have continued to see interest in the program despite the state’s fiscal issues. That said, years of double digit tuition inflation, a recession, and the impact on sales of the state’s two-year budget delay have created challenges for the program.
As part of our ongoing efforts as stewards of College Illinois! funds, we have continued to work with elected officials to discuss potential legislative options that could strengthen the plan. At a recent hearing during which College Illinois! presented a program update, legislators noted that College Illinois! is a good program that has well served plan holders. Legislators expressed their interest in working together with College Illinois! to address program funding and get ahead of any future challenges the program may face.
Program enrollment for 2017-18 is currently on hold pending our continuing discussions with policy-makers to help define proposals that will strengthen College Illinois! and efforts to move those proposals forward in the legislative process.
For current plan holders, the program will continue to operate as usual with no change in benefit payment, customer service, or plan administration. All College Illinois! plans continue to be backed by the moral obligation of the state, and College Illinois! funds continue to be held in a separate trust fund that can only be used to pay plan benefits and for the cost of administering the program.
We look forward to working with policy makers to improve and strengthen College Illinois! on behalf of all our plan holders.
Program financial statements are available at http://www.collegeillinois.org/AboutCollegeIllinois/529Financials.html
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. www.isac.org
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.