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Treasurer Plans Wee Gift For IL Babies

Tom Magliery

Every baby born in Illinois could get a tiny college savings account under a plan that passed the state House of Representatives Wednesday. The proposal comes from the state treasurer’s office, as a way to  encourage families to start planning for their children's college education.

Beginning in 2021, each baby born or adopted in Illinois would automatically receive a 529 college savings account with $50 deposited by the treasurer's office.

By the time the child turns 18, that amount should have doubled.

State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) says even $110 can have an impact.


“The importance of this bill is that research has shown that any amount that is saved for a child for higher education, they will be three times more likely to attend college, and four times more likely to graduate from college,” she said.

State Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) called the plan a marketing gimmick for the state treasurer's office — currently occupied by a Democrat.

“So we will have virtually every child in every household receiving a letter from the treasurer...each and every year,” he said.

He ultimately voted "present" on the bill. It was approved by a vote of 66 to 42, and now goes to the Senate.

Thirty-four other states already have similar plans.

After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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