Skip to content

ALL FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

We Can Answer All Your Questions Here

Our FAQ search bar is a quick and easy way to find the information you need and get all your questions answered with a few clicks.

Filter by Subject:
 
category
What are 529 Plans?

What are 529 Plans?

These plans are sponsored by the state to help families fund future college costs with tax benefits granted by Section 529 of the IRS Code. There are 2 types of 529 plans - prepaid tuition plans and college savings plans. See the differences here.
The College Savings Plans Network is the national organization of all 529 plans and is an additional resource for information.
Am I limited to an Illinois college?

Am I limited to an Illinois college?

No. You can use College Illinois! almost anywhere. We pay full in-state or in-district undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at any Illinois public university or community college. Plus, your benefits can be used toward tuition and fees at most Illinois private colleges, and even at colleges and universities throughout the country.
What does College Illinois! pay for?

What does College Illinois! pay for?

We pay for tuition and any mandatory fees only. Room and board, books, transportation, computers, optional fees and fees for specific courses are not covered.
What are my payment options?

What are my payment options?

You can choose to pay a lump sum or start an installment plan, with or without a $10,000 down payment. We're flexible. Purchase up to 4 semesters coverage at a community college and up to nine semester's coverage at a public university. Or, purchase a combination of both public university and community college benefits not to exceed nine semesters for any one future student.
What if the Beneficiary doesn't use it?

What if the Beneficiary doesn't use it?

You can always request a refund. Depending on the reason for your request, you'll receive the current contract value (scholarship, death, etc.) or your contributions (non-attendance, etc.) less cancellation fees. You can even change plans or transfer benefits to another family member.
What are my tax advantages?

What are my tax advantages?

Under current law, plan earnings are 100 percent exempt from state and federal taxes. College Illinois! also enjoys federal gift and estate tax benefits.

Individuals subject to Illinois state income tax can deduct from their taxable income up to a maximum of $10,000 per year for contributions made toward the purchase of any College Illinois! prepaid tuition contract. Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $20,000 per year.* This state tax deduction reduces the individuals' adjusted gross income (AGI) by the amount contributed up to $10,000 (or $20,000 for those filing jointly).

*The limit on the state tax deduction applies to combined contributions to College Illinois!, the Bright Start Savings Program, and the Bright Directions Savings Program.
What is the eligibility requirement of the program?

What is the eligibility requirement of the program?

We only have one requirement - the purchaser or the beneficiary must have resided in Illinois for at least one year immediately prior to the purchase of a College Illinois! plan. For infants under age one, the parent or guardian must meet this residency requirement.
The Application Process

How do I purchase a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition contract?

Choose from 3 plans, select a payment option and submit your application online or via mail. Click to learn more about College Illinois! and how it works.
The Application Process

When can I apply for the program?

The program has an enrollment period each year. Enrollment opens in Fall 2014.
The Application Process

Do I need to complete a separate application for each child?

Yes. A separate application must be completed for each child. You can apply on-line or submit an application by mail to:

College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program
P.O. Box 19291
Springfield, IL 62794-9291
The Application Process

What happens to my application after it's been submitted?

Once we’ve received your application we will send a Welcome package that includes written confirmation of your purchase, participation and payment schedule and a Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement. You may receive other forms depending on what payment plan you signed up for.
The Application Process

Can there be more than one purchaser?

Only one owner/purchaser can be listed on the application. You must list a successor purchaser on the application to take control of the contract upon the Purchaser’s death.
The Application Process

Who can I contact if I have questions regarding my application?

Call us toll-free at 1-877-877-3724 between the hours of 8am - 5pm CST Monday through Friday.
The Application Process

Do I get a prospectus?

Since College Illinois! is a contract and not an investment plan, there is no prospectus. However, complete financial information is provided in the Program Annual Report, which is available here. The Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement provides a more complete description of the terms and conditions of, and risks associated with the purchase of a contract. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program is exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Illinois Securities Law of 1953.
Plan Types

What types of plans are available through the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program?

Our three-tier system lets you choose from plans with prices based on the tuition and mandatory fees at three diverse types of higher education settings. Multiple semesters are available from one up to nine semesters, depending on the plan.

We also have combination plans, which include four semesters at a community college and four semesters at a university.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

Will contract prices increase in the future?

You should expect contract prices to increase. Each academic year contract prices are reviewed in order to reflect tuition and fee increases at Illinois public institutions. Prices are then set based on the increases in combination with other actuarial criteria.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

Can I make extra payments without penalty?

There is no prepayment penalty. Purchasers can pay more than the regular payment due at any time. The extra amount will be applied to the plan balance. The amount of the remaining payments will not be reduced, but the number of remaining payments will be reduced.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

What are the fees?

The Fee Schedule is printed in the enrollment materials and is also available here: Click here to view.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

Can I use a credit card to make payments?

Yes, you can pay with a credit card when you apply online. You can also sign up for auto-pay for monthly payments debited directly from your bank account when you apply on-line or through the mail.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

Why do monthly and annual prices result in total payments higher than lump sum prices?

Because the costs of contracts purchased with an installment plan are not immediately invested, an eight percent service fee is charged. This service charge ensures that when the beneficiary enrolls in college, the amount paid in, plus accumulated interest, will be sufficient to cover tuition and fees since the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program does not have the entire contract amount to invest at the beginning of the contract.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

How are prices determined?

Contract prices are determined for each enrollment period based upon a variety of factors and include a built-in stabilization fee. The stabilization fee is intended to help insulate the Program from unexpected market volatility and unforeseen changes in actuarial projections and improve the funded status of the Program over time. Each year, the Commission receives an actuarial soundness report which is used in conjunction with the Mean Weighted Average Tuition and Fees and the stabilization fee amount to establish Contract pricing. The current Annual Report is available here.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

Can the beneficiary start using the plan while I'm still making payments?

Contract benefits may not be used until three years after the first payment due date and the contract has been paid in full. This may require accelerating the payment schedule or making a lump sum payment prior to college enrollment if the installment period extends past the expected date of college enrollment.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

Can I mix and match payment options?

You may mix and match payment options by making multiple purchases for a single beneficiary. With each new purchase or application submitted, you may select a different payment option.

Prior to using benefits, you can change coverage and payment options. If you are a current contract holder, simply call 1-877-877-3724, option 2.
Plan, Pricing & Payment Options

Why are fees assessed?

Various fees apply to the administration of your plan. They are applied for a number of reasons and include fees for changes, substitutions and cancellations. For more information click here to view the fee schedule.
Contract Coverage

Where can benefits be used?

Benefits can be applied at almost any community college, state university or private institution in the United States and even at certain international postsecondary institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as eligible to receive federal financial aid.
Contract Coverage

What will the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cover?

The program covers in-state or in-district tuition and mandatory fees only for the number of semesters purchased within each plan choice. Each semester is equal to 15 credit hours. Mandatory fees are those fees required as a condition of enrollment for all students.
Contract Coverage

How are benefits applied?

If the beneficiary attends an Illinois public institution, tuition and mandatory fees will be completely covered at the in-state rate for the number of credit hours covered by the contract.

If the beneficiary attends a private institution or out-of-state institution, benefits paid will equal the mean-weighted average of tuition and fees charged by Illinois public universities or community colleges at the time of the beneficiary's enrollment in college. The mean-weighted average depends on the type (Choice 1, 2, or 3) of prepaid plan purchased. The mean-weighted average may be more or less than tuition and mandatory fees charged depending on where the student enrolls. If the amount paid is less, then the beneficiary is responsible for paying the difference. If this amount is more, then the balance will remain in the student's account for future use.

For current and historic weighted average numbers, please review the tuition cost tables, by clicking here.
Contract Coverage

Will the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract guarantee in-state or in-district rates at Illinois public universities and community colleges?

The purchase of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan does not guarantee in-state or in-district rates. In order to qualify for in-state or in-district tuition, the student must meet residency requirements at their particular institution at the time they enroll.
Contract Coverage

Can I mix and match my coverage options?

Only with our combination plans, which cover four semesters at a community college and four semesters at a university (University or University+ options), can you mix and match benefit levels in a single purchase. Otherwise, you can mix and match coverage options with multiple purchases. Each plan purchased would require a separate application.
Contract Coverage

What if an institution is on a trimester or quarterly schedule instead of a semester schedule?

Semester hours can be converted into quarter hours and trimester hours. Please refer to the Using Your Benefits booklet for detailed information.
Cancellations & Refunds

If I cancel my plan, who receives the refund and how much money will be returned?

If you cancel the plan you will receive a refund equal to the amount of payments made, less applicable cancellation fees. All refunds are issued to the contract purchaser. There may be tax considerations when a refund is received. We strongly recommend that you consult your own tax professional for advice as tax laws and their interpretations may change.
Cancellations & Refunds

What happens if the beneficiary doesn't use all the benefits?

If the beneficiary doesn't use all the plan benefits, but is still within the 10-year limit from first college enrollment, you may do any of the following:
Cancellations & Refunds

How do I cancel my plan?

Our service representatives are available to counsel you on how you can keep your commitment to your child’s college education, even through tough times and unexpected developments. Call us at 1-877-877-3724. If you do decide to cancel, you can terminate a contract at any time and request a refund. The amount of the refund will depend on the particular circumstances at that time and is subject to applicable fees and service charges.
Cancellations & Refunds

What happens if I’m unable to keep up with my payments?

Contact the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program as soon as you suspect you might have a problem. We will work with you to help protect the value of the benefits you will have paid for already. Call us at 1-877-877-3724.
Financial / Investment

Who manages the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program investments?

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), a state agency founded more than 50 years ago with the mission of making college affordable and accessible for all Illinois students, oversees the Illinois Prepaid Trust Fund (Fund). By law, the Fund serves as the program's repository of all moneys received by the Commission in conjunction with the program and is separate and apart from all public moneys or funds of the state.
Financial / Investment

Who manages the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program?

Oversight of the Program is provided by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (the "Commission"), an agency of the State of Illinois, which was established more than 50 years ago with the mission of helping to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students. The Commission is governed by a board of ten persons appointed by the Governor. It employs and provides direction to an Executive Director who is responsible for overseeing and implementing the Commission’s day-to-day operations. The Program has been designed to comply with the requirements relating to qualified tuition programs under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and Illinois law.
Financial / Investment

How are the investments managed?

ISAC's governing board of Commissioners is responsible for the hiring of a qualified slate of professional investment managers and other professionals. ISAC's Executive Director and the Chief Investment Officer are responsible for the day-to-day management of all program investments and investment professionals. The team of financial managers and independent outside advisors is constantly looking at ways to balance maximizing fund performance and minimizing risk.

The Commissioners adopt an investment policy document that sets forth investment goals, requirements for making investments, standards for hiring of professional managers, and strategies, asset allocation and performance benchmarks for each asset class. This comprehensive investment policy is reviewed periodically by ISAC's Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer and submitted to the Investment Advisory Panel and Commission for changes, as needed. You can find the investment policy here.

A current list of approved custodians and investment managers of the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program can be found in the Monthly Financial Report here.
Financial / Investment

Are annual reports and financial statements for the program available?

Yes, as required by law, each year the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program submits an Annual Report to the Governor and lawmakers. In addition, we publish Fund performance on a monthly basis. Past and present annual reports, as well as, the Fund performance for the month, are available here. Please note there may be a slight delay each year in making the full annual report available, as it is dependent on the release of the Fund's financial audit conducted by the Auditor General of the State of Illinois. As soon as the audit is released, the financials are made available as part of the Annual Report on the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program website.
Financial / Investment

What is the target rate of return on investments and the overall policy goal of the investment plan?

The longer-term target rate of return is one of the actuarial variables that can be found in each fiscal year's Actuarial Report. For the current fiscal year's Rate of Return, check out the Investment Report that is posted monthly. Both documents are accessible here. In addition, as has always been the case with markets, investment returns will vary from time to time. However, the overall long-term policy goal of the investment plan is to meet or exceed the weighted average rate of tuition inflation and pay benefits to beneficiaries as they become due.
Financial / Investment

Are the investments solely invested in the stock market?

The investment policy guides investment decisions based on the soundness of long-term investment principles. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program also makes investments and hires money managers in different asset classes such as bonds, stocks, real estate and other alternative investments to achieve broad diversification of the overall portfolio. You can read the comprehensive policy here.
Financial / Investment

Are investments in the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program guaranteed by the State or the FDIC?

Neither the taxing power nor the full faith and credit of the State of Illinois is pledged to the payment of program contract benefits. Furthermore, investments in the program are not deposits or obligations of, or insured by or guaranteed by the State of Illinois, the U.S government, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the FDIC or any other governmental agency or financial institution.
Financial / Investment

How does the investment policy address risk?

The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program Statement of Investment Policy provides diversification across many asset classes to reduce risks and maximize investment returns. Read the investment policy here.
Financial / Investment

How often is the investment policy reviewed and evaluated to account for the changing economic and investment environment?

The investment policy is reviewed periodically by ISAC’s Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer and submitted to the Investment Advisory Panel and Commission for changes at least annually. The investment strategy is monitored by the hired money managers in accordance with their respective mandates. Read the comprehensive policy here.
Financial / Investment

Please explain the State of Illinois’ obligation to support the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program.

The program is supported by the State of Illinois in that if the program assets are insufficient to meet contract obligations, Illinois law sets forth a process to assist the Program in meeting its contractual obligations.

Although the taxing power of the State is not pledged to make payments under a program contract, under the Illinois law that set up the program, the Governor of Illinois is required to request funding from the Illinois legislature sufficient to pay all program benefits during any year there is a current funding shortfall.

In the event the Commission, with the concurrence of the Governor, determines the program to be financially infeasible, the Commission may discontinue, prospectively, the operation of the program. Any beneficiary who has been accepted by and is enrolled or will within five years enroll at an eligible college shall be entitled to exercise the complete benefits specified in the College Illinois! prepaid tuition contract. All other contract holders shall receive an appropriate refund of all contributions and accrued interest up to the time that the program is discontinued.

To learn more about the benefits and responsibilities of owning a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract, read our Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement.
Financial / Investment

What is the commitment that my contract benefits will be there when my beneficiary goes to college?

Your contract and Illinois law provides safeguards to enhance the security of your investment. Illinois law and the program contract provide that in the unlikely event that the Fund ever faces a funding shortfall, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will go to the governor of the State of Illinois and ask him or her to submit to the State legislature a request for enough money to cover the costs of either paying out your benefits or paying a refund of all your contributions plus the appropriate amount of interest. Under Illinois law, the Governor is required to make that request on behalf of the program. Furthermore, state statute also requires ISAC to annually ascertain whether the fund can meet its obligations without financial assistance from the State. For each year of the program, ISAC has sent certification to the governor that assistance is unnecessary.
Tax Advantages & Implications

What are the income tax advantages of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract?

As long as benefits are used for education, the increased value of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan is 100% exempt from federal and Illinois state income tax.

Individuals subject to Illinois state income tax can deduct from their taxable income up to a maximum of $10,000 per year for contributions made toward the purchase of any College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract.* Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $20,000 per year. ** This state tax deduction reduces the individuals' adjusted gross income (AGI) by the amount contributed up to $10,000 (or $20,000 for those filing jointly).

An annual statement sent by the program to account owners each year in January summarizes the contributions made during the tax year. Illinois tax form IL-1040 requires that Schedule M be attached to take the state tax deduction. More information is available from the Illinois Department of Revenue at http://www.revenue.state.il.us.

The College Savings Employer Participation Initiative offers an incentive for employers and their employees to contribute to the State of Illinois 529 savings and prepaid tuition programs. Illinois employers can now claim a tax credit of up to $500 per contributing employee for one-fourth of the amount contributed each year toward employee 529 tuition plans.

*Please see the Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement for details regarding tax advantages and implications. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cannot provide purchasers with any legal or tax advice. Purchaser should consult their own tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing a contract.

** The limit on the state tax deduction applies to combined contributions to The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program, the Bright Start Savings program, and the Bright Directions program.
Tax Advantages & Implications

Can I contribute to a 529 savings plan, a Coverdell Education Savings Account and a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan at the same time?

Contributions can be made to a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan, a 529 savings plan, and a Coverdell Education Savings Account in the same taxable year for the same beneficiary.

Federal law allows the contribution of $2,000 per year per child to a Coverdell Education Savings Account. For those contributing to several 529s, it is important to limit total contributions in all plans to the maximum amount that will be required for the beneficiary’s total higher education expenses. If more funds are held in 529 plans than can be withdrawn at a later date for qualified higher education expenses, there will likely be tax penalties.

*Please see the Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement for details regarding tax advantages and implications. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cannot provide purchasers with any legal or tax advice. Purchaser should consult their own tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing a contract.
Tax Advantages & Implications

How are the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plans treated under federal estate tax laws?

Contributions below the annual gift tax threshold ($14,000 single, or $28,000 for married couples) are immediately removed from the donor's gross taxable estate (and included in the estate of the beneficiary). Additionally, contributions to section 529 plans are considered a completed gift of a present interest and so are excluded from the donor's gross estate. Contributions above the threshold are included in the donor's gross estate only if the account owner cancels the account or the donor dies during the five-year averaging period. If the donor dies during the five-year period, the contributions are counted in his or her estate pro-rata according to the number of remaining years, not including the year in which the donor died.

*Please see the Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement for details regarding tax advantages and implications. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cannot provide purchasers with any legal or tax advice. Purchaser should consult their own tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing a contract.
Tax Advantages & Implications

What are the tax consequences of a cancellation, refund or transfer?

Transferring a contract to another purchaser or beneficiary should create no tax consequences. If the refund is due to death, disability or receipt of a scholarship, tax penalties will not apply but income tax may be due on the plan earnings if the refund is not used for a qualified higher education expense.

*Please see the Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement for details regarding tax advantages and implications. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cannot provide purchasers with any legal or tax advice. Purchaser should consult their own tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing a contract.
Tax Advantages & Implications

How are College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plans treated under federal gift tax laws?

Section 529 provides that payments to the program are treated as a completed gift of present interest for federal gift tax purposes. Section 529 also provides a five-year averaging provision for any contributions in one taxable year that are greater than the annual allowable exclusion from federal gift tax, currently $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples filing jointly). This means that if a contribution by one individual to a single beneficiary in any one tax year is greater than $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples filing jointly), the Purchaser may elect to average the amount of the gift over a five-year period. Please contact a tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service to determine how to make the five-year averaging election on IRS Form 709.

There is an accelerated gift option that allows you to average gifts over $14,000 per beneficiary ($28,000 for married couples) over a five-year period without incurring federal gift tax. So an individual can contribute up to $70,000 per beneficiary in one year and a couple up to $140,000 per beneficiary without incurring gift tax. If you give the full amount, you will not be able to give any gifts to the same individual during the five-year period without incurring gift tax or using up a part of your lifetime exclusion.

*Please see the Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement for details regarding tax advantages and implications. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cannot provide purchasers with any legal or tax advice. Purchaser should consult their own tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing a contract.
Tax Advantages & Implications

Can I roll over funds from other education savings funds?

You may roll over funds from another qualified savings program to the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program for the same beneficiary. In order for the funds to be a qualified rollover so as not to incur a penalty, the funds from the first account must be deposited into the new account within 60 days from the distribution from the first account. Generally, one rollover per 12-month period for the same beneficiary is allowed. If there is a change of beneficiary to a member of the family of the original beneficiary, there is no restriction on the number of rollovers allowed.

You may also transfer funds from a Coverdell Education Savings Account or certain qualified U.S. savings bonds to the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program without negative tax consequences. Additional age and income limits apply. For more information, visit savingsbonds.gov website's education planning section.

Once the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program account is established, you must request the transfer of funds from the other institution. Then, you need to complete our Roll Over Form and provide it along with documentation from the transferring institution that shows the earnings portion of the roll over. If you do not provide this information, the entire roll over will be treated as earnings.

*Please see the Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement for details regarding tax advantages and implications. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cannot provide purchasers with any legal or tax advice. Purchaser should consult their own tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing a contract.
Tax Advantages & Implications

Can I transfer funds from my child's UGMA/UTMA account to the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program?

It is possible to purchase a contract using Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) and Uniform Gift to Minors Act UGMA) funds. Since every situation is unique, we recommend that you speak to a professional tax advisor before liquidating UTMA/UGMA assets to a fund such as College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan. If you do choose to use UTMA/UGMA assets for a College Illinois! prepaid tuition plan, you will need to submit an UTMA/UGMA Form acknowledging your responsibility to maintain the custodial status of the assets and releasing the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program from liability associated with the transfer of funds. It may be necessary to liquidate assets in a custodial account before cash can be used to purchase a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract and this may involve tax liability.

*Please see the Disclosure Statement and Master Agreement for details regarding tax advantages and implications. The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program cannot provide purchasers with any legal or tax advice. Purchaser should consult their own tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing a contract.
Tax Advantages & Implications

Where can I find more IRS tax information for higher education?

Tax information is available from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at their toll-free number 1-800-829-1040 or on their web site www.irs.ustreas.gov. Publication 970 - "Tax Benefits for Higher Education" addresses a variety of education tax benefits and can be downloaded from the IRS web site.
Eligibility & Ownership

What happens if the owner or the beneficiary of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract moves out of state?

If the owner of a contract moves out of Illinois, this does not impact plans already purchased; it will make the owner ineligible to purchase additional contracts unless the beneficiary meets the Illinois residency requirement.

If the beneficiary of the contract moves out of Illinois, this does not impact plans purchased. Although as a non-resident of Illinois, the beneficiary would be subject to non-resident tuition and fee rates at Illinois public institutions, which would not be covered in full by their College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan benefits.
Eligibility & Ownership

Who can buy a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan?

Anyone who is 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. can purchase a program contract. The program also has an Illinois residency requirement that can be met by the purchaser or the beneficiary. This includes the following:
  • Any adult who has lived in Illinois for at least 12 months immediately prior to applying, or claims Illinois as their domicile in the case of military personnel; or
  • Any adult who lives outside of Illinois, provided the beneficiary (or in the case of a newborn, the parents) has lived in Illinois for at least 12 months immediately prior to applying; or
  • Any adult may purchase for a newborn as long as the parent or guardian has lived in Illinois for at least 12 months immediately prior to applying; or
  • Any organization or trust may purchase as long as one of the above conditions has been met.
Eligibility & Ownership

Who can be covered by a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan?

Any resident of Illinois can be designated as a beneficiary from the moment of birth. No maximum age limits apply. Non-residents can be designated as beneficiaries, provided that the purchaser has resided in Illinois for at least 12 months immediately prior to purchase.
Eligibility & Ownership

What happens if the purchaser dies?

If the purchaser dies without a will or has not designated a successor purchaser before their death, the executor of the estate will be entitled to name a new purchaser or request a refund on behalf of the estate. By designating a successor purchaser, you ensure your College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan will go towards the student’s education as you intended.
Schools, Admissions & Financial Aid

What schools accept College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program benefits?

In general, benefits may be applied to tuition and mandatory fee charges at almost any public university, community college or private college in the United States. Benefits may also be applied to tuition and fees at certain accredited international postsecondary institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as eligible to receive federal financial aid.
Schools, Admissions & Financial Aid

Will a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan hurt the beneficiary's chance for financial aid?

One of the favorable consequences of participation in the program is to replace or diminish the need for substantial borrowing of student loans. Ownership of a prepaid tuition contract is reported only as a parental asset on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), with minimal impact on financial aid eligibility. The value to be reported is the "refund" value of any tuition credits or certificates purchased under the prepaid tuition plan. The refund value is the amount the owner would receive if the account were liquidated as of the date the asset is reported. In determining a financial aid award package for the student, the distribution from the contract is not treated as estimated financial assistance, nor as an adjustment to the student's cost of attendance.
Scholarships, Death or Disability

What if the beneficiary receives a full or partial scholarship?

If the scholarship covers some or all of the student's tuition and fees, the unused College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program benefits can be held for future use, the purchaser can change the beneficiary, or the unused benefit for that semester can be refunded to the purchaser up to the amount of the scholarship. If the purchaser receives a scholarship refund, tax penalties do not apply but income tax may be due on the plan earnings if the refund is not used for a qualified higher education expense.
Scholarships, Death or Disability

What if the beneficiary dies or becomes disabled?

Contract benefits can be transferred to another beneficiary or refunds can be issued to the purchaser based on the mean weighted tuition and fees for the particular plan at the time of death or disability certification. Tax penalties do not apply but income tax may be due on the plan earnings if the refund is not used for a qualified higher education expense.
Contract Changes & Transfer of Benefits

Can unused benefits be transferred to another child?

Unused benefits may be transferred to another child as well as any other member of the beneficiary’s extended family. The account owner would need to submit a completed Change of Beneficiary form to transfer the benefits to a new beneficiary subject to a maximum nine semesters allowed any single beneficiary.
Change of Beneficiary form
Contract Changes & Transfer of Benefits

Can I change my coverage or payment option at any time?

A purchaser can reduce or increase the number of semesters covered by a plan or change their payment option for a plan at any time. A service fee may apply. For more information on plan changes, click here.
Contract Changes & Transfer of Benefits

Can I transfer ownership to another individual?

Ownership of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan can be transferred to another individual. That individual will assume all rights and obligations of the original owner. This request must be made to the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program by completing the Change of Purchaser form. A service fee will apply.
Contract Changes & Transfer of Benefits

How do I make changes to my College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan?

Requests to change your College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan can be made by completing the appropriate form or submitting a written request that is signed by the purchaser. Service or cancellation fees may apply. Call us at 1-877-877-3724 for more information.
Using Benefits

What if I purchase university semesters and the beneficiary decides to attend community college or vice versa?

University and University+ benefits are different than community college benefits because of the higher cost of tuition and fees and the higher cost of the contract. University and University+ benefits can be used at community colleges and vice versa, however, the plan will be depleted for fewer/more credit hours depending on the contract type and the school the student is attending. You can leave any excess benefits in the plan for use at a later date, request a refund or change the beneficiary of the plan to another family member.

For more detailed information about using benefits, click here.
Using Benefits

How does the beneficiary redeem their College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition benefits?

The program will provide information about using prepaid tuition benefits to the student during the spring of their senior year in high school. College Illinois! will confirm with the school that the student is eligible for benefits.

Once the student is enrolled, the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program will make payments for tuition and mandatory fees directly to the college or university.

For more detailed information about using benefits, click here.
Using Benefits

What if the beneficiary doesn't go to college immediately after high school?

If the beneficiary decides not to attend college, the purchaser may hold the plan in place for up to ten years in case the beneficiary changes their mind, change the beneficiary of the plan to another member of the family, or cancel the contract and receive a refund of the amount paid, less any fees due.

For more detailed information about using benefits, click here.
Using Benefits

When can the beneficiary start using benefits?

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. In addition, the beneficiary has up to 10 years from the projected college enrollment date to start using program benefits. Once the beneficiary starts using the prepaid benefits, they have 10 years to finish using benefits.

For more detailed information about using benefits, click here.
Using Benefits

Can my student apply benefits to graduate study?

The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program is only intended to cover tuition and mandatory fees for full or part-time undergraduate study. However, benefits that remain unused after an undergraduate degree is completed may be applied to graduate study tuition and fees, but will be paid out at the undergraduate tuition rate.
Using Benefits

What if my student decides to transfer between schools?

Program benefits can be used at more than one school if your student transfers to another school during his or her college career.
General

What happens if the owner or the beneficiary of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract moves out of state?

If the owner of a contract moves out of Illinois, this does not impact plans already purchased; it will make the owner ineligible to purchase additional contracts unless the beneficiary meets the Illinois residency requirement.

If the beneficiary of the contract moves out of Illinois, this does not impact plans purchased. Although as a non-resident of Illinois, the beneficiary would be subject to non-resident tuition and fee rates at Illinois public institutions, which would not be covered in full by their College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan benefits.
General

What happens if the purchaser dies?

If the purchaser dies without a will or has not designated a successor purchaser before their death, the executor of the estate will be entitled to name a new purchaser or request a refund on behalf of the estate. By designating a successor purchaser, you ensure your College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan will go towards the student’s education as you intended.
General

Will a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan hurt the beneficiary's chance for financial aid?

One of the favorable consequences of participation in the program is to replace or diminish the need for substantial borrowing of student loans. Ownership of a prepaid tuition contract is reported only as a parental asset on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), with minimal impact on financial aid eligibility. The value to be reported is the "refund" value of any tuition credits or certificates purchased under the prepaid tuition plan. The refund value is the amount the owner would receive if the account were liquidated as of the date the asset is reported. In determining a financial aid award package for the student, the distribution from the contract is not treated as estimated financial assistance, nor as an adjustment to the student's cost of attendance.
General

What if the beneficiary receives a full or partial scholarship?

If the scholarship covers some or all of the student's tuition and fees, the unused College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program benefits can be held for future use, the purchaser can change the beneficiary, or the unused benefit for that semester can be refunded to the purchaser up to the amount of the scholarship. If the purchaser receives a scholarship refund, tax penalties do not apply but income tax may be due on the plan earnings if the refund is not used for a qualified higher education expense.
General

What if the beneficiary dies or becomes disabled?

Contract benefits can be transferred to another beneficiary or refunds can be issued to the purchaser based on the mean weighted tuition and fees for the particular plan at the time of death or disability certification. Tax penalties do not apply but income tax may be due on the plan earnings if the refund is not used for a qualified higher education expense.
General

Can unused benefits be transferred to another child?

Unused benefits may be transferred to another child as well as any other member of the beneficiary’s extended family. The account owner would need to submit a completed Change of Beneficiary form to transfer the benefits to a new beneficiary subject to a maximum nine semesters allowed any single beneficiary.
Change of Beneficiary form
General

Can my student apply benefits to graduate study?

The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program is only intended to cover tuition and mandatory fees for full or part-time undergraduate study. However, benefits that remain unused after an undergraduate degree is completed may be applied to graduate study tuition and fees, but will be paid out at the undergraduate tuition rate.
General

What if my student decides to transfer between schools?

Program benefits can be used at more than one school if your student transfers to another school during his or her college career.
General

How does the beneficiary redeem their College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition benefits?

The program will provide information about using prepaid tuition benefits to the student during the spring of their senior year in high school. College Illinois! will confirm with the school that the student is eligible for benefits.

Once the student is enrolled, the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program will make payments for tuition and mandatory fees directly to the college or university.
General

What if the beneficiary doesn't go to college immediately after high school?

If the beneficiary decides not to attend college, the purchaser may hold the plan in place for up to ten years in case the beneficiary changes their mind, change the beneficiary of the plan to another member of the family, or cancel the contract and receive a refund of the amount paid, less any fees due.

For more detailed information about using benefits, click here.
General

When can the beneficiary start using benefits?

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. In addition, the beneficiary has up to 10 years from the projected college enrollment date to start using program benefits. Once the beneficiary starts using the prepaid benefits, they have 10 years to finish using benefits.

For more detailed information about using benefits, click here.
General

Can I transfer ownership to another individual?

Ownership of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan can be transferred to another individual. That individual will assume all rights and obligations of the original owner. This request must be made to the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program by completing the Change of Purchaser form. A service fee will apply.
General

Can unused benefits be transferred to another child?

Unused benefits may be transferred to another child as well as any other member of the beneficiary’s extended family. The account owner would need to submit a completed Change of Beneficiary form to transfer the benefits to a new beneficiary subject to a maximum nine semesters allowed any single beneficiary.
Change of Beneficiary form
General

Will the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract guarantee in-state or in-district rates at Illinois public universities and community colleges?

The purchase of a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program plan does not guarantee in-state or in-district rates. In order to qualify for in-state or in-district tuition, the student must meet residency requirements at their particular institution at the time they enroll.
General

If I cancel my plan, who receives the refund and how much money will be returned?

If you cancel you will receive a refund equal to the amount of payments made, less applicable cancellation fees.. All refunds are issued to the contract purchaser. There may be tax considerations when a refund is received. We strongly recommend that you consult your own tax professional for advice as tax laws and their interpretations may change.