SPRINGFIELD—Today State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) filed several pieces of legislation to assist in the recovery of the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program. The legislation will bring more transparency to the program and ensure investments are being used as intended, to help families pay for a college education.
“I am very pleased with the progress that has been made and appreciate the cooperation extended by ISAC and Chairman Kym Hubbard. I intend to work with ISAC and all other stake holders to ensure that this program will continue and that the State of Illinois will honor its commitments to current and future contract holders,” said Rep. Durkin.
College Illinois! has been undergoing numerous changes since last spring when a Crain’s Chicago Business investigation brought to light underfunding and mismanagement of the investment fund. Today, ISAC has a new board and staff that have starting exiting risky investments and implementing safer practices.
Provisions of Rep. Durkin’s legislative package include:
a. House Bill 5599 would require ISAC managers of College Illinois! funds to abide by the same standards that are now imposed upon managers of federally regulated 401(k) plans. These standards include the transmission of unsolicited annual reports to investors, so they know how their money is being handled.
b. House Bill 5601 bans the use of College Illinois! money from being taken out of the investment fund to pay the salaries or benefits of Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) personnel associated with College Illinois! management and oversight, and instead directs future General Assemblies to appropriate money from General Revenue Funds to pay these expenses.
c. House Bill 5600 prohibits the use of College Illinois! funds for Administrative and Management costs associated with the program or the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Prohibits any expenses associated with marketing, advertising, or promotion of College Illinois! from being paid from the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund.
d. House Bill 5598 places the Illinois Student Assistance Commission including College Illinois! under the Governmental Ethics Act requiring members of the investment advisory panel to submit a written statement of economic interest annually available for public review at the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
“Administrative costs including salaries, marketing, travel and office supplies are bleeding the fund and it needs to stop,” said Rep. Durkin. “These bills will allow ISAC to function in the same manner as other state agencies. It also ensures that the hard-earned money invested by families will be used to pay for students’ college education.”