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Using Your College Illinois! Plan Benefits

A Flexible Plan That Can Take
Your Student Anywhere


Making the decision to purchase a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Plan is smart for both parents and future students, because plan options can fit the needs and budget of your family. Plans are flexible, so when it's time for your student to go to college, they can apply the value of plan benefits to almost any college or university in the U.S.


As your partner in planning, College Illinois! is committed to making college happen for Illinois families in the simplest way possible. Learn more about how the simplicity of using plan benefits makes the decision to plan ahead easier for purchasers and how beneficiaries can utilize their plan benefits.

Benefit Details for Purchasers


Funds are held in a separate trust fund at the Northern Trust Company

All the reasons to plan ahead

Reasons why purchasing your College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Plan today makes sense:


Your contributions are set aside in a separate trust fund.

All Program assets from contract holders are held in the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund and kept separate from State public funds. By law, plan funds can only be used for paying benefits on behalf of contract holders and for the costs of running the Program.


You're not tied to the stock market.

The value of your College Illinois! Plan does not go up and down according to stock prices or the bond market. Your benefits will always remain the same.


You benefit from state tax advantages.

This includes 100% tax-exempt earnings and an Illinois state income tax deduction up to $10,000 ($20,000 per couple) in the year that you contribute.


And you'll get Federal tax advantages as well.

This includes 100% tax-exempt earnings as well as a gift-giving tax exemption.


The Plan is in the purchaser's name.

This means that you have control over the contract from initial purchase to graduation.


The Plan is flexible, and adapts to whatever life brings.

If your student receives a college scholarship, any unused benefits can be held for future use or transferred to another family member. Or the value of the unused benefits can be refunded to the purchaser on a semester-by-semester basis up to the amount of the scholarship. Also, the beneficiary has 10 years from their projected enrollment date to start using benefits and 10 years from enrollment to finish using the prepaid tuition benefits.


Transferring ownership is okay.

You can designate a new owner for a plan at any time—although you cannot sell it or pledge it as collateral for a debt. And by naming a successor purchaser, you can transfer it upon death.


You can transfer the plan from one child to another.

You can change the beneficiary and transfer unused benefits to another member of the beneficiary's family, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service to include virtually any relative of the designated beneficiary.

How Contract Benefits Can Be Used


When it's time for your child to go to college


When benefits can be used.

Benefits are available for use three years after the first payment due date. The plan must be paid in full prior to the use of any benefits. This may require accelerating the payment schedule or making a lump-sum payment prior to enrollment if, for example, a student were to enroll in college earlier than expected.


Contracts and Semester Hours.

Each semester purchased is the equivalent of 15 semester hours. Semester hours can be converted into quarter hours and trimester hours for those institutions operating on a different schedule.


Application to Undergraduate and Graduate Study.

A College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Plan is intended to cover tuition and mandatory fees for full or part-time undergraduate study. While College Illinois! does not offer plans specifically for graduate study, benefits can be applied toward graduate study tuition and mandatory fees.


Benefits transfer.

Benefits can be used at more than one school if the child transfers to another school during his or her college career. Additional costs may apply.


Entering college later is okay.

You are allowed to hold on to a contract, even if the intended beneficiary doesn't enter college in the year you anticipated. The beneficiary has 10 years from the expected college enrollment date to begin using benefits.

How Students Can Use Plan Benefits


A College Illinois! plan helps your student make college happen

A College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Plan can be a family's strongest partner in paying for college. When your child is ready to go to college, it's important to know that their plan benefits can be used almost anywhere.


No matter which College Illinois! Plan you choose, your student always has the flexibility to attend the eligible college or university of his or her choosing!

You can use benefits at all Illinois public universities and community colleges even if they are not specifically covered within the plan type you've purchased. For example, if you purchased a Choice 1 Community College Plan and your student chooses to attend University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), you can use the value of those benefits to reduce your tuition costs at UIUC. And if you purchase a Choice 3 University+ Plan and your student chooses to attend a community college or university, you can use your Choice 3 benefits to cover more semesters and/or receive a refund.


You can also use your plan to help pay for a private or out-of-state college or university. The mean-weighted-average value of in-state tuition and mandatory fees (at the schools purchased in your plan) at the time your student attends college can be applied toward tuition and mandatory fees at most colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

HOW THE VALUE OF PLAN BENEFITS ARE PAID


At Illinois public schools covered by the student’s (type of) plan, tuition and mandatory fees are paid no matter how much they are in the future.

At Illinois public schools not covered by the plan, the amount paid is converted based on the current weighted average tuition and fees (WAT) for the plan type.

At eligible private and out-of-state schools, the amount paid is also based on the WAT for the student’s type of prepaid tuition plan.

Information table about cost
2016-2017 Weighted Average Tuition (WAT) Amounts*
 Annual AmountAmount Per Credit Hour at Semester Institution
Community College or Choice 1 Community College Benefits: $4,157 $138.57
University Benefits:
Purchased prior to 2008-2009 enrollment period
$14,903 $496.77
Choice 2 University Benefits:
Average for All Illinois Public Universities except the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
$13,760 $458.67
Choice 3 University Plus Benefits:
Average for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
$18,156 $605.20

*Each year the WAT is recalculated to reflect tuition and fee increases at Illinois public institutions.

 

Example of How College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Benefits Work
School Student Attends
2016-17 Annual In-State or In-District Tuition and Fees (based on 30 credit hours per year)
Amount Covered by College Illinois! benefits
Out-of-Pocket Balance
Credit Hours Used
Conversion Calculation
Student has Community College or Choice 1 Community College Benefits:
Kankakee Community College $4,544 100% $0 30 N/A
Student has University Plan Benefits (purchased prior to 2008-2009 enrollment period):
Choice 2 Schools:
Northern Illinois University $14,193 100% $0 30 N/A
Illinois State University $14,961 100% $0 30 N/A
University of Illinois - Springfield $15,817 100% $0 30 N/A
Choice 3 School:
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Business) $20,702 100% $0 30 N/A
Private or Out-of State Schools:
Bradley University $32,120 $14,903 (2) $17,217 30 N/A
University of Iowa $28,813 (1) $14,903 (2) $13,910 30 N/A
Student has Choice 2 University Benefits:
Choice 2 Schools:
Northern Illinois University $14,193 100% $0 30 N/A
Illinois State University $14,961 100% $0 30 N/A
University of Illinois - Springfield $15,817 100% $0 30 N/A
Choice 3 School:
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Business) $20,702 100% until contract is depleted $0 45.1 $20,702 / $458.67
Private or Out-of State Schools:
Bradley University $32,120 $13,760 (3) $18,360 30 N/A
University of Iowa $28,813 (1) $13,760 (3) $15,053 30 N/A
Student has Choice 3 University Plus Benefits:
Choice 3 School:
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Business) $20,702 100% $0 30 N/A
Choice 2 Schools:
Northern Illinois University $14,193 100% $0 23.5 $14,193 / $605.20
Illinois State University $14,961 100% $0 24.7 $14,961 / $605.20
University of Illinois - Springfield $15,871 100% $0 26.2 $15,871 / $605.20
Private or Out-of State Schools:
Bradley University $32,120 $18,156 (4) $13,964 30 N/A
University of Iowa $28,813 (1) $18,156 (4) $10,657 30 N/A

(1) Nonresident tuition and fees
(2) 2016-17 WAT for University prepaid tuition plans (purchased prior to 2008-2009)
(3) 2016-17 WAT for Choice 2 University prepaid tuition plans
(4) 2016-17 WAT for Choice 3 University Plus prepaid tuition plans