you're reading...
Illinois Higher Education

Illinois College Savings Program Increases by $62 Million, New Report Says

(Springfield, IL) — January 24, 2011. More Illinois families are saving for college, at least according to the latest financial report by Auditor General William Holland.

A financial report for the Illinois’ College Savings Program, which include the Bright Start College Savings Program and the Bright Directions College Savings Program, shows that it made significant gains from the previous year, according to the report released Thursday.

Last year, the number of investors increased about 8 percent for Bright Start and 20 percent for Bright Directions. Total net assets also increased $62.4 million.

The plan, which began in 1999 under the Treasurer’s Office, is designed to allow parents to pay for their child’s education through investment funds. Earnings from the accounts can be used to pay for qualified college expenses — including tuition, books and room and board — tax-free.

The program had an $867.1 million jump in investment earnings from the previous year. The past two years showed steady losses, largely attributed to the downturn in the stock market and the mismanagement of funds.

Former Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias came under fire when the 2009 financial report revealed that the program had lost $629.7 million in investments. The discovery led to a lawsuit against OppenheimerFunds, an investment company, which resulted in the state recouping some of the losses.

According to the 2009 report, investments are diversified to minimize the risk of loss. Even if some assets experience short-term losses, “long-term [gains] justify their inclusion,” the report read.

Under the regulations, account owners invest at their own risk.

Investments earnings — measured at $237.5 million — are now back near 2007 levels.

In efforts to avoid a similar decline in value in the future, the Treasurer’s Office is evaluating the program.

“Treasurer Rutherford was just inaugurated into office last week, and it’s a new day for the Treasurer’s Office,” Melissa Hahn, Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s spokeswoman, said.

Rutherford will have his hands full.

Despite more people joining the program, total contributions to accounts are down $94.5 million from last year. Treasurer’s Office officials, however, insist that the dollar amount of contributions entering the fund still outweighs the amount going out.

“We need to be able to evaluate all the details — go through this audit page by page. And once we do that, hopefully, we’ll be able to set some goals,” Hahn said.

Melissa Leu, Illinois Statehouse News

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.



  1. Pingback: New report shows college savings off to a “Bright Start” - January 27, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Submit your email address and be among the first to receive our posts by e-mail as soon as they are published. It's free.

David Ormsby, Editor

RSS Gov. Pat Quinn

  • McHenry County Blog | Pat Quinn Tells Truth about Pension ... Cal Skinner
  • Illinois General Assembly, Gov. Pat Quinn Must Reconcile ... Marge Berglind
  • Pat Quinn Criticizes Scott Walker On Jobs The Huffington Post News Editors
  • Will Governor Pat Quinn Sign Illinois Budget on Thursday? « Child ... Marge Berglind
  • Quinn: Lawmakers Must 'Show Some Fortitude' On Pension ... Todd Feurer
  • Governor Pat Quinn Puts His Foot Down On Gambling Expansion ... Mark
  • Senate narrowly backs Quinn on facility closures - Capitol Fax.com Rich Miller
  • Democurmudgeon: Gov. Pat Quinn exposes Scott Walker as a fake ... Democurmudgeon
  • Advocates Seek Illinois Child Welfare Vision from Governor Pat Quinn Marge Berglind
  • Chicago News Bench: No, Really, Pat Quinn Still Sucks More Than ... TM-1000

RSS IL General Assembly

  • General Assembly puts health exchange bill on back burner - Crain's Chicago Business May 10, 2012
  • IL educators react to proposed state budget cuts - WREX-TV May 11, 2012
  • Violence Against Women Act Survives Partisan Fight, Quinn Told Not To Close ... - Patch.com May 9, 2012
  • American Progressive Bag Alliance Urges Illinois General Assembly To Pass ... - MarketWatch (press release) May 1, 2012
  • You Paid For It: IL General Assembly Scholarship Program - FOX2now.com May 7, 2012
  • Our Opinion: Anti-bully bill should get OK - The State Journal-Register May 10, 2012
  • American Progressive Bag Alliance Urges Illinois General Assembly To Pass ... - PR Newswire (press release) May 1, 2012
  • Illinois State University considers 4.4 percent tuition increase - Herald & Review May 10, 2012
  • Asian-Americans to have state caucus - WBEZ May 8, 2012
  • Suburban mayors also urge state to pass pension reform - Chicago Sun-Times May 10, 2012

RSS The Capitol Fax Blog

  • Question of the day May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Political cover or political payback? May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Illinois Needs Private Sector Jobs Now! Why Labor Leaders Support Senate Bill 1849 May 10, 2012 Advertising Department
  • Senate narrowly backs Quinn on facility closures - Chamber backs Quinn pension reforms May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • House approves bill to effectively end free employee health insurance premiums May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • *** UPDATED x2 - VIDEO *** Smith hearing resumes today (LIVE Coverage and Video) May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • *** UPDATED x2 *** Not a big deal at all, but it’s probably time to delegate a bit more May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Morning Shorts May 10, 2012 Owen Irwin
  • *** LIVE SESSION COVERAGE *** May 10, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - COWL review, supplement to today’s edition and a Statehouse roundup May 10, 2012 Rich Miller

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 135 other followers

Powered by WordPress.com