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.
4.5 of 5
5 of 5
4.5 of 5
- Program typeSavings
- Inception2000, but substantially changed in July 2007 and again in July 2017.
- State agencyIllinois State Treasurer
- Tax deduction
- Program ManagerUnion Bank & Trust Company
- Program distributorUnion 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.
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.
State residency requirements:
Who can be a participant/owner in the program?
Significant time or age restrictions imposed by the program:
Alternative 529 Plans
Age-based/Enrollment Year investment options:View more age-based investment options
Static investment options:View more static investment options
Underlying investments:View a full list of this plan’s 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
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:
Distributions & Terminations
To whom are distributions made payable:
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:
Bright Start lowers program management fee (04/03/2020)
IL adds ABLE tax deduction (08/23/2018)