McLeansboro Times-Leader

Opinion

September 30, 2010

Take advantage of college-saving plans

One of the biggest gifts we can give our children is to invest in a plan for their higher education.

Forty states in the U.S. recognize September as College Savings Month, and while our children are now back to school and classes are in full-swing, I wanted to share with you some of the opportunities available in Illinois to help you start preparing for your child's future.

Making sure that our children understand the importance of a college education, and ensuring that they have the proper means to attend is something that parents can start preparing for when their children are still in grade school. Organizations from all over Illinois are working hard to reach out and make sure that parents are aware of the existing opportunities to invest in a "pre-paid tuition" plan.

Illinois has several options that parents are encouraged to take advantage of to get their child on the right track at an early age.

College Illinois and Bright Start are two programs in Illinois that were specifically created to help families, regardless of their income level, save for college expenses. Anyone who is a U.S. citizen is eligible to sign up for either of these programs, and individuals are free to set up accounts for anyone; including children, grandchildren, a spouse, or even someone who is not related to you.

Through these programs, investments receive special tax benefits, which allow their funds to grow and flourish by the time their child reaches college-age. Once the child is ready to go to college, the money can be used to attend just about any school, in any state, or overseas even if the child chooses to study abroad.

College Savings Month is a time for families across Illinois to consider the value of higher education, and how much impact a college degree can have on a child's life.

According to the College Board, the average family income in 2008 for those with a bachelor's degree was $101,099 compared to $49,414 for those who had just acquired a high school diploma.

According to the Center for Social Development, youths with college-saving plans are almost four-times more likely to attend a four-year college and graduate.

It is critical that we talk to our children about the important role that higher education plays in today's world, and just how important it is to invest in it. 

For more information on College Illinois or Bright Start, I encourage you to visit www.529prepaidtutition.org or www.brightstartsavings.com. 

• Gary Forby is an Illinois state senator in the 59th District, which includes part of Hamilton County.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • No Headline Provided Rules impact everyone Editor: The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently released proposed rules for new coal-fired power plants that, under testimony from a Department of Energy official, admitted that this new rule requiring carbon

    April 16, 2014

  • More information on sales tax issue

    Recently the topic of the County School Facility Sales Tax has been introduced to Hamilton County residents by the local school district and the "Friends of Hamilton County Schools."

    March 13, 2014

  • Speak for animals

    I want to compliment Rick Hayes on his article of Jan. 31 regarding the dog found frozen, tied to a tree or fence, tangled, no food, fresh water (not ice) or dry bedding.

    March 13, 2014

  • Girl Scouts celebrate 102nd anniversary Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will join more than 3.2 million Girl Scouts across America in celebrating the 102nd anniversary of Girl Scouting the week of March 9 through 15. Locally, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will celebrate the 102nd anniv

    March 5, 2014

  • EPA can't give up ground on biofuels Together with eight other lawmakers, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) recently introduced a bill to eliminate the mandate for corn-based ethanol. This proposal comes just weeks after the Environmental Protection Agency annou

    February 12, 2014

  • Colleges stop firearm training Editor: I see the local junior colleges are offering conceal-carry classes. Do they not understand there are many people who have invested thousands of dollars in education to develop quality programs of instruction for citizens who wish to obtain a

    February 12, 2014

  • Is current taxing of farm ground fair? To the editor: This letter was sent to the Times-Leader to address the issue of property taxes. To sum it up, a few pay too much and the rest pay little or nothing. How can that be? Well, consider this. We live in an area where many of the homes and

    January 29, 2014

  • Farm owners not paying enough taxes By TOM MATHEWS JR. Wayne County Press Haven't exactly made myself popular with farmers in recent years, suggesting they are not paying enough in property taxes on their farmland. And clearly, they are not, thanks to the successful efforts of the Ill

    January 29, 2014

  • Where's representation for my view on zoning? To the editor: Do you know that there is a new zoning code for the city of McLeansboro? What do you know about it? Here are some things that I know. 1. I have lived in this county my entire life. I moved out of the city limits when I was 17. 2. I hav

    January 22, 2014

  • Help build educated, employed communities Along with the 2014 GED test change is coming positive change to the GED program at Southeastern Illinois College. The world is changing, and it's taking adult learners with it. GED Testing Service (www.gedtestingservice.com) states that 4 million U

    January 15, 2014