Illinois Prepaid Tuition Program Faces Shortfall

Tuition costs outpacing fund's growth

By Marcus Riley
|  Monday, Mar 7, 2011  |  Updated 6:15 PM CDT
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New revelations about the College <a title=Illinois Prepaid Tuition Program are making some parents uneasy." />

New revelations about the College Illinois Prepaid Tuition Program are making some parents uneasy.

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Some parents are getting anxious over a shortfall in the College Illinois Prepaid Tuition Program.

The program is designed to allow parents to lock in tuition prices for their children in order to protect against future increases, but according to a Crain's Chicago Business investigation, Illinois law doesn't require taxpayers to bail out the program if it fails.

The program is more seriously underfunded than any other state's and the stock market investment strategy is seen by some as risky.

Executive Director Andrew Davis defends its investment strategy, saying alternative investments could increase the fund's rate of return.

The situation is concerning to the Schwalb family, who have paid thousands into the fun for their 6 and 9 year old.

"You think you've paid in and you're done, but you don't realize that that money is being managed in such a way that it could potentially not be there when the time comes for your child to go to college. It's disturbing," Rawea Shwalb said.

Independent investment advisor Jeff Krause says the problem lies with the skyrocketing cost of college tuition.

"The growth of the funds that are put aside to guarantee those credits in the future are not keeping pace with the cost of college education," Krause said.

Gov. Pat Quinn said he plans to get some answers from the people he appointed to the commission.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission supports the program, sending the following statement to NBC Chicago:

    "We believe that College Illinois continues to be a great choice and are confident our active management of the program will continue to make it one of the best ways for Illinoisans to pay for a college education."

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