College Illinois

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.

College Illinois!

No matter how good you've been this year, there's one thing we know you're not getting for Christmas: A pre-paid tuition contract from the state's College Illinois! plan.

Established in 1999, the plan was a way for parents or grandparents to pay tuition in advance through a contract. But Eric Zarnikow, director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, decided to stop selling those contracts last year.

Jamey Dunn headshot 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois families who purchased prepaid tuition through the College Illinois program have some reasons to be worried. 

In recent audits of the prepaid tuition program and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, state Auditor General William Holland found some serious problems with the way the commission has made investment choices for the savings plan. He said the program, which had a $338 million deficit as of last June, failed to use “sound business practices” and did not follow the state’s procurement law when seeking an outside firm to provide advice.