College Savings

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Bright Start Advisor Transition Link

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Saving for a child’s college education is one of the most important investments you can make.  Children who have a college savings account are almost seven times more likely to attend college. 


Treasurer Frerichs is the trustee of Illinois’s three 529 college savings plans: Bright Start Direct - a plan that individuals can sign-up for and manage on their own – and Bright Start Advisor and Bright Directions - plans that can be purchased through a financial advisor.  


 All three plans are “qualified tuition programs” under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. 


Your contributions to Bright Start and Bright Directions grow on a tax-deferred basis while in the plan and can be withdrawn tax-free for qualified higher education expenses.  Qualified higher education expenses include: tuition, fees, books, supplies, room & board (if enrolled at least half time), and computers.


As an Illinois resident, you also enjoy additional tax benefits. Contributions are tax-deductible for Illinois taxpayers up to:


- $10,000 per Illinois taxpayer

- $20,000 for married Illinois taxpayers filing a joint return


Please contact us for more information about the College Savings programs, or call the Treasurer’s Office at (312) 814-1451.


Access the FY 2016 Illinois College Savings Plans Audit Report by clicking here.


Click below to learn more about Bright Start and Bright Directions, Illinois’ 529 savings plans. 


Bright Start 529 College Savings Program

Bright Directions 529 College Savings Program

Morningstar rating: A Morningstar Analyst Rating for a 529 College Savings Plan is not a credit or risk rating.  Analyst Ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as a sole basis for investment decisions.  Morningstar does not represent its Analyst Ratings to be guarantees. Please visit for more information about the Analyst Ratings, as well as other Morningstar ratings and fund rankings. 


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