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January 8, 2010

New Year's Resolution Solution: Prepaid Tuition
Now is the time to lock in tuition prices with the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— The coming of each new year presents an opportunity to reflect upon and savor the accomplishments of the past year.  Then the slate is wiped clean, hopes and dreams are renewed, and new goals are set.  In that spirit, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) encourages consideration of the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program for those with New Year’s resolutions to provide for a child’s future college education.

“The hardest part of paying for college is actually starting.  The earlier you begin, the better off you are,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “If you want to make sure a college career is in your child’s future, you should seriously consider making a New Year’s resolution to embark on a plan to pay for college.”

The College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program protects families from tuition inflation by allowing purchasers to lock in a price now to cover future tuition and fees.  A child born today is projected to incur college costs of over $180,000 at a four-year, public university, but families can secure tuition today for much less and apply benefits at colleges nationwide.

Experts agree that a tax-advantaged prepaid tuition plan is a smart investment when parents start early and save over time. 

 “Parents who invest over longer periods of time improve their risk tolerance and are more likely to reach their investment goals,” said Eric McKissack, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Channing Capital Management, who urges parents to consider 529 plans because they are tax deductible and grow tax-free.

Now is the best time to purchase a contract because pricing discounts make buying early more affordable. New, monthly-discounted pricing allows purchasers who buy earlier to lock in the lowest prices on future college tuition and apply benefits almost anywhere in the United States and abroad. Prices adjust on the first day of each new month, every month, so it pays to purchase sooner rather than later. 

"By locking in prices for tuition and fees today, parents are able to better plan for a fixed cost to attend college,"  Davis continued.  "And with the multiple pricing options and a variety of payment plans, it’s easy to find a plan that fits the needs of your family.  Start out small with a semester or a year; you can always add on later.”

Prepaid tuition benefits keep pace with the increases in tuition and fees equal to those found at in-state, public institutions. Parents and grandparents can purchase as little as one semester at a community college to nine semesters at a public university. Various payment options are available, including monthly and annual installments. 

A College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program contract between the purchaser and the state of Illinois ensures tuition and fee benefits for college, regardless of fluctuations in the market. When a beneficiary is ready to go to college, he or she can choose to attend almost anywhere because benefits can be used at Illinois public universities and community colleges or applied at public and private institutions nationwide.

Now is the time for parents and grandparents to purchase this secure option for their child’s educational future at the lowest prices.  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! 529 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 66,000 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.



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