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.

Explore how the Bright Start 529 plan can help you save for college.

With college costs on the rise, it’s essential to start saving early for your child’s education.

Learn how much to save for college, what a 529 college savings plan is, and how Bright Start can help you prepare to give your child a brighter future.


One of the most meaningful gifts you can give a loved one is helping to put them on the path to a bright future with a college savings account. It’s easy for friends and family to make a contribution toward future education costs with Bright Start’s GiftED.

Make a Gift

Meet a few of the hundreds of thousands of families saving with Bright Start.

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Think about saving for college while you have that time before your child is born. If it’s a month before, a week before — do it. No matter what.
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Contributing to Bright Start

Saving even a small amount each month is a great way to help cover future education costs. Consider contributing whatever you can, whenever you can. Every dollar saved helps reduce future student loan debt.

Learn About Contribution Options

How much will you save if you start now?

With our college savings calculator, use the amount you can afford to contribute each month and the child’s current age to estimate how much you’ll save by the time they’re ready for college.
More About the Cost of College

How much can you afford to save? Slide the bar to the amount you can afford to save each month .
You could save: $19,474.75

* Amount assumes an actual investment return of 6% with monthly contribution on the first day of each month. This hypothetical is for illustrative purposes only. It does not reflect an actual investment in any particular college savings plan or in a Bright Start account or any taxes payable upon withdrawal.