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April 19, 2010

College Illinois!® To Present At ISAC College Smart Fair April 23-24
Event hosted by UIC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and presented by Fifth Third Bank

CHICAGO — The College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program announced its participation in the  2010 College Smart Fair, presented by Fifth Third Bank April 23-24, at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center East.  The presentations at 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday help families learn how to lock in tuition prices while saving for college and are part of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s Money Smart Week.

“Money Smart Week is a tremendous opportunity to learn about personal finance, and in particular, how to pay for college,” said Andrew Davis, executive director for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the program.  “The College Smart Fair offers a unique opportunity for families to meet with college financial aid professionals, discuss educational goals and then get help in how to reach those goals.”

A College Smart Fair schedule is listed below and may also be found at www.collegezone.com/moneysmart.

College Financial Expo
Student financial aid and student account representatives will be available throughout the day to answer questions regarding paying your college costs.

Financial Literacy: (Presented by Fifth Third Bank; Friday, 10:15, 11:45 & 5:00; Saturday 9:00 & 11:00)
Representatives from Fifth Third Bank will communicate the importance of making sound financial decisions when it comes to budgeting, saving, and using credit wisely. Presentations will be held throughout the day.

Student Panel Discussion (Friday, 11:00,12:30 & 3:45)
Students currently attending college will discuss paying for college and provide tips and answer questions for understanding the importance for meeting college financial responsibilities.

Parent Panel Discussion (Friday, 5:45; Saturday, 10:15)
Parents of students who are currently attending college will be available to answer questions on how to deal with the deadlines and the stress for financing their children's education.

Money Smart Kids, (Friday,1:00 & 3:15)
Money Smart Kid scholarship recipients Mario Gage and Damon Williams are preparing to go to college will provide information for the importance of saving and how they plan to pay for their college education.

Young Illinois Saves - www.youngillinoissaves.org/  (Friday, 3:15)
Would you like to be a millionaire? In this discussion, we will show you how Chicago high school and college students are getting a head start on the road to building financial wealth with regular saving and investing. We will discus how YOU can find the money you need to save and invest by making simple everyday changes.

Dollars and Sense, Understanding your Award Letter & Loans  (Friday, 3:30 & 6:00; Sat., 10:00 & 11:15)
Representatives from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission will explain the college financial aid awarding process and will assist in understanding your rights and responsibilities when receiving scholarships, grants, work-study and loans.  

No Somos Ricos: Cómo comparar las ofertas de ayuda financiera (Viernes, 3:30 & 6:00; Sábado, 10:00 & 11:15)
Representantes de la Comisión de Ayuda Estudiantil de Illinois (ISAC por sus siglas en inglés) presentarán el proceso implementado por las universidades para desarrollar la oferta de ayuda financiera; también le introducirán a sus derechos y responsabilidades al recibir becas, subvenciones, trabajo-estudio y préstamos.

Become Your Own Consumer Protection Agency (Friday, 3:30; Saturday, 11:00)
Learn how to get the maximum benefit from checking and savings accounts, student loans and credit cards .  Learn to use these tools to your advantage.  A wrong misstep could be costly.  We'll teach you how to protect your hard earned money and your credit.

Understanding Billing and Privacy (Friday, 5:00; Saturday, 11:00)
When are payments due?  Do you have a payment plan?  How will I know if my financial aid is pending?  Understanding the billing and payment process at your college of choice is crucial to your success.  Hear from industry professionals on what questions to ask your college’s Student Accounts office, an example of what a bill looks like, what forms of payments are typically accepted, how the payment process links to financial aid, and the importance of the privacy of your information.

How can the IRS assist with College Expenses (Friday 4:00; Saturday, 9:00)
Understanding the IRS and federal financial aid (FAFSA) requirements, and how they affect paying for college. The following items will be discussed: federal and Illinois income tax credits, defining three types of college savings plans, savings bonds (income limits and tilting),qualified expenses and coordination of savings plans, and presenting appropriate case studies.

529 College Illinois Prepaid Tuition Program (Friday 5:00; Saturday, 10:00)
Learn about the College Illinois 529 Prepaid Tuition program and the three distinct SmartChoice plans with different prices meet your needs and budget.  Any parent, grandparent, family member, friend or community organization can purchase or contribute to a plan.

Collection Process while your in College (Friday, 6:00; Saturday, 11:00)
What to do when placed with a collection Agency. How collection agencies operate?  The importance of communicating with a collection agency that is trying to contact you.  How to avoid being placed with a collection agency.  Understanding your credit

Paying for College without depleting your Retirement (Friday, 6:00; Saturday, 10:30)
Matthew Sapaula from Money Smart Radio will discuss options for parents paying for college without depleting their retirement investment accounts.

Individual Financial Aid Counseling (continuing throughout both Friday and Saturday)
ISAC representatives and Illinois Student Assistance Corps representatives will be on hand to answer personal financial aid questions for individual students.

Additional College Illinois! Money Smart Week presentations may be found at www.529prepaidtuition.org/events.  For more information about Money Smart Week, visit www.moneysmartweek.org.

A College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program contract between the purchaser and the state of Illinois provides 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 most public and private institutions nationwide.

Secure a child’s educational future at the lowest prices today by enrolling at 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.

More about College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program Pricing and Plans
A tiered pricing system called SmartChoice, introduced in 2008, makes plans even more affordable than ever before. SmartChoice pricing provides three distinct price and benefit levels (Community College, University and University+) with different payment options. The plans are completely flexible and let the purchaser choose a pricing option that best matches their financial needs and realities. Combination plans including four semesters at a community college and four semesters at a university level are also available. Various payment options include monthly and annual installments and multiple down payment levels. In addition, program beneficiaries can choose to attend college anywhere because benefits can be used outside of the state at public and private institutions nationwide.

Upon purchasing a contract, Illinois taxpayers can annually deduct up to $10,000 per individual or $20,000 for married couples filing jointly, and all plan earnings are exempt from state and federal taxes. Neither ISAC nor the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program can provide legal or tax advice. Please consult a professional tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications before purchasing a contract.

To enroll in the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program, visit www.529prepaidtuition.org, or call (877) 877-3724 for program information, materials and enrollment guidelines.

About the Illinois Student Assistance Commission:
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain financial aid for higher education. A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for more than 50 years. The commission continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by administering over 183,000 grants and scholarships totaling over $430 million in FY2009 alone. 

The Commission provides educational funding with student loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of websites available at www.knowhow2GOIllinois.org and www.529prepaidtuition.org.

About Money Smart Week:
Money Smart Week coordinated by The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago consists of a series of educational activities hosted by hundreds of banks, financial institutions, schools, non-profit organizations and government agencies to help consumers learn how to manage their personal finances. Currently, there are Money Smart Weeks held annually in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, with each offering hundreds of classes and seminars. For more information, visit www.moneysmartweek.org.


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