General Information

Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program logo

Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program

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, three index target portfolios and individual fund portfolios from a number of fund families.

Our Ratingx

4.5 of 5

Fee Scorex

5 of 5

Performancex

4.5 of 5
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  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2000, but substantially changed in July 2007 and again in July 2017.
  • State agency
    Illinois State Treasurer
  • Tax deduction
  • Program Manager
    Union Bank & Trust Company
  • Program distributor
    Union Bank & Trust Company

Ratings & Rankings

Our overall rating for IL residents

This is a program that offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments, and additional economic benefits (such as generous state tax incentives) that for some people, at least, will provide a substantial boost to their savings. There are few, if any, weaknesses noted in the program.

Our overall rating for non-residents

This is an excellent program with many benefits for the participant and positive investment attributes. If it has any significant weaknesses then it also has some particularly good things to recommend it.

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.


4.37of 5

Each plan's performance score is developed directly from Savingforcollege.com's Quarterly 529 Performance Rankings. A 529 savings plan must have at least one year of performance history before they will be assigned a 5-cap rating. For those plans that are not part of our quarterly performance rankings, such as plans offering a single set of bank-based investment options, we assign a performance score by evaluating the returns currently available on similar types of investments outside of 529 plans.

Eligibility

State residency requirements:

Who can be a participant/owner in the program?

Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:

Did you know?

  • IL residents can claim a tax deduction for contributions to a IL 529 plan.

    Contributions are deductible in computing state taxable income

  • 529 plan contributions grow tax-free.

    Withdrawals are tax-free when used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

  • You can contribute as much as you want, as often as you want.

    The key is to get started. Enroll today by completing a quick form online.

Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program logo
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Contributions

Maximum contributions:

Minimum contributions:

Investment Options

Age-based/Enrollment Year investment options:

View more age-based investment options

Static investment options:

View more static investment options

Underlying fund allocations:

Portfolio Fees & Performance Lookup

Fees & Expenses

Enrollment or application fee:

Account maintenance fee:

Program management fees:

Expenses of the underlying investments:

Total asset-based expense ratio:

Taxes and other Benefits

  • Tax deduction for single filers$10,000/yr
  • Tax deduction for joint filers$20,000/yr

Example

Married filing jointly residents contributing $100/month can expect an additional $0 a year in tax savings.

Program match on contributions:

State tax deduction or credit for contributions:

State tax recapture provisions:

State definition of qualified expenses

State tax treatment of qualified distributions:

State tax treatment of rollovers:

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

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

Is there a rewards program or outside scholarship program that works with this program?

Upromise Helps Families Save for College

Statutory protection of an account from creditors:

Did you know?

  • Residents are not limited to investing in their own state's 529 plan.

    Another state may offer a plan that performs better and has lower fees.

  • The 529 plan chosen does not affect which state the student enrolls in.

    You can live in New York, open a plan from Nevada and send a student to college in Florida.

  • The best way to maximize your college savings?

    Start early and save often. You can get started today with easy online enrollment.

Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program logo
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Distributions & Terminations

To whom are distributions made payable:

Account Changes

Policy regarding participant/owner changes:

Documents, Access & Reporting

Does participant have online password-protected access to account?

Can the complete enrollment process including funding be done online?

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

Contact

Website:

Telephone:

Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/BrightStart529

Start saving for your child's future today


Step 1

Click the blue Enroll Now button to the right

Step 2

Complete the online application and make your first deposit

Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program logo
enroll now
71,234 clicked to enroll