Illinois is putting a stopper on enrollment for its College Illinois Prepaid Tuition Program.
The enrollment period for that allows families to prepay for college years in advance ends April 30.
Senior Tax Consultant Sue Ann Gerveler says programs like this allow a family to put smaller amounts of money away now and use it later for college, room, and board, without paying state tax on the interest earned.
"It allows you to put money in the account that you can still control," said Gerveler. "And it's not considered part of your taxable estate if you would die with money in the plan."
A very flexible way, she says, to help someone pay for a college education.
First generation college student Josh Farrell says paying for college is tough and he doubts his parents even knew about a program like this existed.
"College wasn't even a thought back in elementary, junior high. I feel like if that was more focused on our future when we were younger, that would be a great opportunity to use this program for us," said Farrell.
Farrell says if more young parents knew about 529 programs like this one, they might use them more.
Making it easier on students like him to go to school.
Since inception in 1997, College Illinois says it has paid $400 million in benefits and helped tens of thousands of Illinois families make college more affordable.
The program isn't just limited to parents of an Illinois child. Grandparents and guardians can also participate.
The College Illinois plan worked very well for father-of-three Steve Felde's first two kids.
But something about it started to make him uneasy.
"We just got worried that our money wasn't as safe as we wanted it to be," said Felde. "When you're investing you can only handle so much risk and I wasn't prepared to handle that risk and to potentially lose that money."
So Felde says he pulled the rest of the money he had in College Illinois and put it into a different type of 529 college savings plan.
Gerveler says there are plenty of other 529 programs out there that are available to sign up for any time.
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