Thank you for making the important decision to invest in a young student’s future through the Bright Start Advisor-Sold College Savings Plan.  Saving for college is an important investment, and we take pride in sharing that responsibility with you. That’s why I’m excited to announce a new program manager and enhancements to Bright Start.

My office is committed to ensuring that Bright Start is an excellent value for college savers.  That’s why I’m excited to announce new enhancements to the program effective mid-July:

  • A New Program Manager. Through a competitive bid process, we selected Union Bank as our new program manager. For the past 11 years, they’ve served in that role for our Illinois Bright Directions College Savings Program, and will be taking over Bright Start in mid-July.
  • Transition Details. Please note that your Bright Start investments and account information will automatically and seamlessly transition from OFI Private Investments (Oppenheimer Funds) to Union Bank, with no action required on your part. The change will occur over the July 14-17, 2017 weekend.The investment portfolios available in Bright Start, along with your individual investments and elections, will remain the same at this time.
  • Same Great Tax Benefits. Bright Start will still offer all the same great tax benefits you’re used to, including an Illinois tax deduction for contributions (up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for joint filers).

Later this year as phase two, the Bright Start Advisor-Sold College Savings Plan will transition and merge into the highly regarded Illinois Bright Directions Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Plan.  The transition will be completely seamless and will provide a variety of enhancements.  We will introduce additional investment diversity and choice, with an expanded investment menu with more than 24 quality fund families, including T. Rowe Price, Dodge and Cox, American Century, Northern Funds, and DFA.  In addition, more age-based and investment options will be available to investors and their financial advisors. More details will be available about this phase of the transition in the fall.

We invite you to spend some time on this Bright Directions site to see all the benefits and features.

There is no action required from you. The phase one changes outlined above will automatically become part of your account in mid-July.  To access your Bright Start Advisor account information please continue to visit site like you today.

For additional details please view the Program Disclosure Statement Supplement.

But right now, I simply wanted to take this opportunity to announce the program’s exciting improvements and thank you for your investment in the future of Illinois.


Michael W. Frerichs, Illinois State Treasurer