Illinois parents, grandparents encouraged to invest in tuition
savings plans this holiday season before 2013 rate increase
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[December 11, 2012]
CHICAGO -- The LeapFrog might be
the hot stocking-stuffer, but savvy Illinois parents and
grandparents are picking up a something much more valuable for their
kids and grandkids this holiday season. Thanks to the newly reopened
College Illinois! program, parents can buy their children a gift
that never goes out of style -- prepaid college tuition plans that
allow families to secure lower tuition rates years in advance.
For just a few more weeks, the Illinois Student Assistance
Commission is offering prepaid tuition plans at 2011 rates, and
parents planning for the future are taking advantage of the
end-of-the-year discount this holiday season.
Perhaps the biggest draw for parents is that families who
contribute to the prepaid tuition plans before Dec. 31 can quality
for 2012 tax benefits.
"Whether it's the tax benefits, the discounted 2011 rates or the
rare opportunity for a more affordable college education for your
kids, the College Illinois! plans are one of the best investments
you can make this holiday season," said Eric Zarnikow, executive
director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. "Every day,
we're hearing from parents and grandparents who are excited about
this opportunity to start saving for college in a way that lets them
avoid spiraling tuition inflation rates."
The College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program is a
state-sponsored plan that allows purchasers to lock in the cost of
tuition. When a beneficiary is ready to go to college, he or she can
choose to attend almost anywhere, because benefits can be used at
all Illinois public universities and community colleges, or applied
at most public and private institutions nationwide, according to the
terms of the contract.
Contributions made toward a contract before Dec. 31 can be
claimed on 2012 state tax returns. Illinois taxpayers can deduct
contributions up to $10,000 per individual or $20,000 for married
couples filing jointly. Those who purchase a plan as a holiday gift
for their child or grandchild can claim a gift-giving tax exemption
of up to $26,000 per couple.
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Since its inception in 1997, the program has served tens of
thousands of Illinois families and paid postsecondary institutions
nearly $400 million in tuition and fees. While about 75 percent of
the beneficiaries have opted to attend college in Illinois, the
program's benefits can be used at public and private colleges
throughout the country.
For additional information about ISAC's College Illinois! Prepaid
Tuition Program, visit http://www.529prepaidtuition.org/ or call
To request an interview with a member of the Illinois Student
Assistance Commission regarding the reopening of the prepaid tuition
program, call Joanna Klonsky at 312-307-0840.
Illinois Student Assistance
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]