529 PLANS

Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program NEW! PDF ReportPRO

Union Bank & Trust Company succeeded Oppenheimer Funds, Inc. as program manager of the Bright Start College Savings Program in July 2017. The Illinois direct-sold Plan features three age-based options using either a multi-firm or index-based strategy, three target portfolios and three index target portfolios.

Resident Rating
Non-Resident Rating

Savingforcollege.com's 5-Cap Ratings provides an evaluation and comparison of 529 plans, utilizing a formula that examines dozens of factors grouped into the following categories. (Scale 0 to 5; 5 is highest)

Performance Costs Features Reliability Resident Upgrade
4.49 4.08 3.67 4.40 0.40

General

Program type:

Savings

How to enroll:

Enroll directly with the program. Enroll Now

Initial year of operation:

2000, but substantially changed in July 2007 and again in July 2017.

State agency(ies):

Illinois State Treasurer

Program manager:

Union Bank & Trust Company

Program distributor:

Union Bank & Trust Company

Manager contract term:

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Eligibility

State residency requirements:

None

Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

U.S. resident individuals, UGMA/UTMA custodians, and legal entities.

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

None

Contributions

Maximum contributions:

Accepts contributions until all account balances in Illinois' 529 plans for the same beneficiary reach $400,000.

Minimum contributions:

No minimum.

Investment Options

Age-based investment options:

Choose between Multi-Firm Age Based Portfolios and the Index Age Based Portfolios, each containing 9 portfolios in Aggressive, Moderate and Conservative glidepaths. Contributions are placed into the portfolio corresponding to the beneficiary's age, and later reassigned to more conservative portfolios as the beneficiary approaches college age.

Static investment options:

Select among three Target Portfolios and three Index Target Portfolios; both offer with Equity, Balanced, and Fixed Income options, and fourteen individual options.

Underlying investments:

Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, DFA, Dodge & Cox, BlackRock, Baird Funds, Ariel Investments, Oppenheimer Funds, Dreyfus, Nuveen and PGIM Investments.

Underlying fund allocations:

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Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup

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See Investment Options

Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:

None.

Account maintenance fee:

None.

Program management fees:

0.11% (includes 0.03% state administrative fee).
Index Portfolios: 0.08% (no state administrative fee).
No state administrative fee for the Vanguard Federal Money Market 529 portfolio.

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Ranges from 0.15% to 0.35% in the age-based and static portfolios; 0.30% to 0.72% in the individual portfolios, and 0.11% for the Vanguard Federal Money Market 529 Portfolio
Index Portfolios: Ranges from 0.04% to 0.10%.

Total asset-based expense ratio:

0.10% - 0.83%

Taxes and other Benefits

Program match on contributions:

None.

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

Contributions to an Illinois 529 plan of up to $10,000 per year by an individual, and up to $20,000 per year by a married couple filing jointly, are deductible in computing Illinois taxable income. For a rollover contribution, only the principal portion is eligible for the deduction. Contribution deadline is December 31 postmark. For tax years ending on or between 12/31/09 and 12/31/20, employers may claim a credit against Illinois tax for 25% of matching contributions made to an employee's account in an Illinois 529 plan, with a maximum annual credit of $500 per employee. Unused credits may be carried forward for five years.

State tax recapture provisions:

Effective January 1, 2007, rollovers from this plan to an out-of-state program are included in Illinois taxable income to the extent of prior Illinois deductions. Effective January 1, 2009, nonqualified distributions from this plan are included in Illinois taxable income to the extent of prior Illinois deductions.

State tax treatment of qualified distributions:

Qualified distributions from an Illinois 529 plan are exempt. Qualified distributions from a non-Illinois plan are exempt provided the plan meets certain disclosure requirements.

State tax treatment of rollovers:

Illinois follows federal tax-free treatment except that, beginning in 2007, outbound rollovers are subject to the recapture of prior state tax deductions.

Does the sponsoring state exclude the value of an account for state financial aid purposes?

No

Does participation in the program provide beneficiaries with any advantages in qualifying for resident tuition status at state institutions?

No

Does the program have a formal agreement with a rewards program or outside scholarship program?

No

Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

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Distributions & Terminations

To whom are distributions made payable:

Eligible educational institution, beneficiary, or account owner, as directed by the account owner.

Account Changes

Policy regarding participant/owner changes:

Accepts requests to transfer account ownership.

Documents, Access & Reporting

Does participant have online password-protected access to account?

Yes

Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?

Yes

Documents and other services accessible or downloadable on the program's public Web site:

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State News

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