Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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No April Fools' joke -- newborn projected college tuition at $180,000

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[April 20, 2010]  SPRINGFIELD -- It's no April Fool's Day joke. A child born today is projected to incur college costs of more than $180,000 at a four-year public university.

As reported in the 2009 Trends in Higher Education report published by the College Board, tuition throughout the United States has increased an average of 4.9 percent, faster than the increase of the two previous decades. In Illinois, tuition has averaged an almost 8 percent increase each year for the last 20 years. Fortunately, Illinois residents can sign a College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program contract today, negating the effect of tuition inflation on their pocketbooks.

"By locking in prices for tuition and fees today, parents are able to better plan for a fixed cost to attend college," said Andrew Davis, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. "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."


Unlike a college savings plan, College Illinois is a tax-advantaged way to protect families from tuition inflation by allowing purchasers to lock in a price now to cover future tuition and fees and apply benefits at almost any college nationwide.

It's tax season, and for those expecting a refund, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission recommends starting on the path to saving for college by purchasing a semester of a college education. There's no better time to lock in prices than now, as prices will increase May 1.

"It's not Uncle Sam's money. It's your money, so use it to fund a child's future education with a College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition plan," continued Davis. "The hardest part of paying for college is actually starting. The earlier you begin, the better off you are."

A College Illinois 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.


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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-plus -- 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 College Illinois can provide legal or tax advice. Please consult a professional tax adviser 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 postsecondary education with innovative programs for more than 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing over 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling nearly $431 million.

The commission provides educational funding with student loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program, 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 www.knowhow2goillinois.org and www.529prepaidtuition.org.

[Text from Illinois Student Assistance Commission file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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