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November 24, 2010

Save On College At The Lowest Prepaid Tuition Prices
Enroll in the College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program through November 30 at www.529prepaidtuition.org

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.— There’s still time  to take advantage of the College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program’s lowest prices of the 2010-11 enrollment period. Through November 30, purchasers can save more than $600 on eight semesters of prepaid tuition in the program’s University+ option versus the same plan purchased December 1.

“As you gather with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, we hope you'll consider purchasing the gift of a college education for a child,” said Andrew Davis, executive director for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the agency that administers the program.  “I encourage parents and grandparents to use the long holiday weekend to explore their options at 529prepaidtuition.org and use Cyber Monday to enroll online to save the most money on a college education.”

Prices adjust on December 1, so it pays to purchase sooner rather than later.  For example, depending on the age of the beneficiary, a purchaser would save between $640 and $655 when buying eight semesters at the University+ pricing tier (with benefits based on University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) on or before November 30, 2010, as compared with making the same purchase December 1.  Purchasers of the University Plan (with benefits based on all Illinois public universities except UIUC) would save between $412 and $447 for eight semesters.

A College Illinois! 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 public and private institutions nationwide as per the terms of the contract.

Unlike 529 college savings plans, the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program is a tax-advantaged plan that protects families from tuition inflation by allowing purchasers to lock in a price now to cover future tuition and fees and apply benefits at colleges nationwide.  A child born today is projected to incur college costs of more than $180,000 at a four-year, public university, but parents and grandparents can sign a prepaid tuition contract today for much less, negating the effect of tuition inflation on their pocketbooks by keeping pace with the increases in tuition and fees equal to those found at in-state, public institutions.

With over $1 billion in assets, the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program is solid.  Since the program’s inception in 1998, families have trusted the program to provide tuition benefits for more than 60,000 future college students.  In fact, nearly 14,000 students have already utilized program benefits to pay for college at almost 800 campuses across the country.

Parents and grandparents can still purchase as few as one semester at a community college or as many as nine semesters at a public university at the lowest prices of the 2010-11 enrollment period through November 30. Various payment options are available, including monthly and annual installments. Call toll-free at (877) 877-3724 for program information, materials and enrollment guidelines, or enroll today at www.529prepaidtuition.org.

Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the College Illinois! 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 68,000 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.   

About College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program Pricing and Plans:
A tiered pricing system called SmartChoice 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 comprised of 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.

Upon purchasing a contract, Illinois taxpayers can annually deduct contributions 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! 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.

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 postsecondary 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 via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and the College Illinois!® Prepaid Tuition Program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of Web sites available at www.knowhow2GOIllinois.org and www.529prepaidtuition.org.


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