College Savings

Illinois 529 College Savings Plan 

About Bright Start's 529 Plan  

Bright Start is a Section 529 education savings program created and administered by the state of Illinois. It allows you to save money toward your future student's education in a Bright Start account and pay no taxes on any earnings. 

When it's time for college, you can make tax-free withdrawals from the account to pay for qualified expenses (withdrawals for nonqualified expenses are subject to an additional 10% federal tax) at most schools in-state, out-of-state or abroad. Whether your student attends a vocational, community, state or even Ivy League institution, you've helped them have a brighter future.

Anyone can open a Bright Start account—even if you live outside of Illinois. The only rule is that you (the account owner) and your future college student (also called the beneficiary) have a valid social security number or taxpayer identification number. If you do live in Illinois, however, you get extra state tax benefits. 

If you live elsewhere, check out whether your state offers a plan with alternative state tax advantages. 

It's Easy to Get Started 

Starting a Bright Start 529 plan takes as little as $25 and about 15 minutes when you enroll online. Much like the 401(k) plan you may use to save for retirement, a 529 plan allows you to invest in various portfolios of stock and bond investments to save for your student's college education. 

Portfolios are managed by OFI Private Investments Inc., a subsidiary of OppenheimerFunds, Inc., and include investments managed by industry leaders OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and its affiliates, as well as The Vanguard Group and American Century Investments®.