Illinois First Steps

$50 to Help You Start Saving for College

The State of Illinois has launched a new program for all babies born or adopted on or after January 1, 2023 to a parent who is a resident of Illinois at the time of birth or adoption. Learn more about the program and the steps to claim the $50 seed deposit for your eligible child.


Every Child Deserves a Bright Start

Learn More About the Benefits of Bright Start 529 Plan

Bright Start Study Hall


Class is in session

Signup for our free webinars on saving for college, increasing your savings, understanding the tax benefits of a 529 Plan, and more. Whether you already have an account or are looking to learn more, you’ll get expert advice you need on college savings planning.

Benefits of Bright Start 529 Plan
  • Earnings grow tax free
  • Pay for tuition, room and board, and more
  • Withdraw funds when you’re ready
see all benefits
Getting Started Is Easy
  • Enroll online, download an enrollment form, or finish your existing application
  • Rollover your existing 529 funds
  • We let you know everything you need to get started
Open an Account

Investment Portfolios

Bright Start has high-quality investment options for you to choose from. Find your best fit.

Ready to Use Funds?

Funds are easy to withdraw and can be used for accredited post-secondary public or private schools.

Tax Law Changes for 529 Plans

The Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law on December 20, 2019 includes several provisions related to 529 plans.

Calculate your Savings

529 Plans offer a tax-advantaged way to save for college. Starting early and putting away even a small amount of money each month can have a huge impact on future educational expenses.

Calculate Now


See All FAQs

1 An individual who files an individual Illinois state income tax return will be able to deduct up to $10,000 per tax year (up to $20,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint Illinois state income tax return) for their total, combined contributions to the Bright Start College Savings Program, the Bright Directions Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Program, and CollegeIllinois! during that tax year. The $10,000 (individual) and $20,000 (joint) limit on deductions will apply to total contributions made without regard to whether the contributions are made to a single account or more than one account. The amount of any deduction previously taken for Illinois income tax purposes is added back to Illinois taxable income in the event an Account Owner takes a Nonqualified Withdrawal from an Account or if such assets are rolled over to a non-Illinois 529 plan. If Illinois tax rates have increased since the original contribution, the additional tax liability may exceed the tax savings from the deduction.back

Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the know. Sign Up Now