Innovative New Pricing Options Offered as College Illinois!(SM) Kicks Off Annual Enrollment...

Innovative New Pricing Options Offered as College Illinois!(SM) Kicks Off Annual Enrollment Period

Enhanced Flexibility makes state's prepaid tuition program even more affordable


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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — In the midst of a national financial crisis, College Illinois!(SM), the state’s 529 prepaid tuition program, is introducing flexible new pricing options that feature both security and affordability. The prices go into effect Oct. 29 upon the launch of the program’s 11th annual enrollment period. The program, which offers protection from future tuition inflation, announces SmartChoice, a new pricing structure that allows Illinois families to pick a college pricing option that best suits their individual education budgets. The program is also waiving all future application fees to make plans even more affordable.

Investments in a College Illinois! plan are not subject to stock market volatility, offering investors a secure option for college savings.

“The introduction of our SmartChoice options is perfectly timed for investors looking for more affordable savings options that are also secure,” said Andrew Davis, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. “That security is very important to families with a college savings goal to ensure the money will be there when their child is ready to attend school.”

SmartChoice Pricing Structure

Three distinct choices with three different price levels comprise the new SmartChoice pricing options the program is offering. SmartChoice allows families to choose an affordably priced plan that best suits their financial and educational needs. Families can choose from the following options:

Choice 1 (Community College) consists of one to four semesters of community college tuition. Plans start as low as $35 per month.

Choice 2 (University) plans start as low as $39 per month and make one to nine semesters available at any public state university except the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Choice 3 (University+) allows the prepayment of one to nine semesters at any public university in the state including the UIUC for as low as $58 per month.

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.

“The enhanced affordability of our plans will allow more families to consider a prepaid tuition plan, improving college access for many across the state,” said Davis.

There are also significant tax advantages to participating in the program. Plan earnings are 100 percent exempt from state and federal taxes. Illinois taxpayers can also deduct up to $10,000 per individual or $20,000 for married couples filing jointly from their state taxable income.*

College Illinois! is open for enrollment from October 29, 2008 through April 30, 2009. For more information about College Illinois!, or to enroll in the program, visit http://www.collegeillinois.com or call (877) 877-3724.

*Neither ISAC nor College Illinois! can provide legal or tax advice. Please consult a professional tax advisor concerning federal and state tax implications of purchasing any contract.

About College Illinois! and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission:

Administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), College Illinois! is a secure college funding option. Similar to an insurance policy, College Illinois! is a contract between the purchaser and the state of Illinois that ensures tuition and fee benefits for college.

Since the program’s inception in 1998, more than 62,500 prepaid tuition contracts with a value of more than $1.4 billion have been purchased. The program’s Trust Fund is managed by professional money managers and is subject to oversight by the program’s Investment Advisory Panel and 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. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college affordable for Illinois students by issuing 185,000 grants and scholarships totaling more than $448 million. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of websites at: http://www.knowhow2GOIllinois.org

SOURCE College Illinois!

Innovative New Pricing Options Offered as College Illinois!(SM) Kicks Off Annual Enrollment Period