Bennett 5 4 2021

CHAMPAIGN – A new law sponsored by Senate Higher Education Chair Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) will improve the Illinois Higher Education Savings Program and ultimately help children and families build a meaningful college savings fund.

“For most families, paying for college is not as simple as writing a check each semester,” Bennett said. “This new law is an investment in our youth and will ensure families have the opportunity to build a college savings account for their children.”

In 2019, the Illinois Higher Education Savings Program, established as part of the Illinois treasurer’s existing Bright Start and Bright Directions programs, was signed into law. Under this law, the treasurer will automatically deposit $50 into a college savings account for every child born or adopted in Illinois.

Bennett’s legislation requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide the treasurer with information on recent births and adoptions in Illinois for the purpose of enrolling children in the program beginning in 2021. Additionally, the legislation requires the Illinois Department of Revenue to provide the treasurer with information on tax filers claiming dependents or the adoption tax credit for the purpose of enrolling children in the program.

“This new law gives the Illinois treasurer the necessary tools to implement the program, and gives families across the state a head start on college savings,” Bennett said. 

The legislation adjusts program eligibility to children born on or after Jan. 1, 2023 to acknowledge the lack of funding and legislative appropriation due to COVID-19.

The legislation was signed into law Friday and takes effect immediately.

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