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2    WHEREAS, 529 College Savings Plans are important tools for
3Illinois families who want to save for their children's
4college education; they offer a diverse range of investment
5options, tax-deferred growth, and withdrawals free of state
6and federal taxes when those withdrawals are used for
7qualified higher education expenses such as tuition, fees,
8books, certain room and board costs, computer equipment, and
9required supplies; and
10    WHEREAS, The enactment of Section 529 of the Internal
11Revenue Code by Congress in 1996 allowed states to create
12"Qualified Tuition Programs"; and
13    WHEREAS, The Office of the Illinois State Treasurer serves
14as the Trustee and Administrator for Illinois 529 College
15Savings Plans; and
16    WHEREAS, The Bright Start and Bright Directions College
17Savings Plans were established in Illinois in 2000 and 2005
18respectively, to assist Illinois families with financing the
19costs associated with a college education; and
20    WHEREAS, 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation
21of 529 College Savings Plans in the United States and the 21st



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1anniversary of the establishment of the Bright Start College
2Savings Plan in Illinois; and
3    WHEREAS, Today, more than 700,000 Bright Start and Bright
4Directions accounts have been created, and over $14 billion
5has been saved for higher education expenses; and
6    WHEREAS, The Bright Start and Bright Directions College
7Savings Plans have helped families meet their higher education
8goals with over $900 million withdrawn annually for qualified
9higher education expenses at colleges and universities in
10Illinois and throughout the United States; and
11    WHEREAS, In 2020, Morningstar announced that the Bright
12Start 529 College Savings Plan earned a gold rating for the
13fourth year in a row, and the Bright Directions Advisor-Sold
14529 College Savings Plan earned a bronze medal, the highest
15honor bestowed on advisor-sold plans; and
16    WHEREAS, According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New
17York, student loan debt has now reached $1.6 trillion
18nationally, which is more than triple the amount owed in 2005,
19and more than 2 million Illinois residents carry student load
20debt, the average value of which is $29,855; and
21    WHEREAS, In Illinois, the dream of achieving academic and



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1professional success is being threatened by increasing tuition
2rates and decreasing financial aid, and student load debt has
3been found to delay home purchases, business start-ups, and
4other major economic investments; and
5    WHEREAS, Illinois' college savings plans help families
6limit or prevent future student loan debt by helping them save
7for future higher education expenses; and
8    WHEREAS, The investments that families make today pay off
9in the form of an increased earning potential for their
10children in the future, with a college graduate earning an
11average of $1 million more than a high school graduate during
12his or her career, according to the United States Census
13Bureau; and
14    WHEREAS, May 29th is recognized nationally as 529 College
15Savings Day to help raise awareness across the country about
16the benefits of tax-advantaged college savings plans, known as
17529 College Savings Plans, as important vehicles to save for
18college; therefore, be it
21we declare May 29, 2021 as College Savings Day in the State of
22Illinois to help raise awareness about the escalating costs of



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1higher education and the importance of saving for college with
2the help of 529 college savings plans; and be it further
3    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
4presented to the State Treasurer's Office.