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Illinois First Steps:$50 to Help You Start Saving for College
As education costs continue to rise, it’s critical to begin saving early for your child’s future. Spark their college savings with a $50 seed deposit from Illinois First Steps. Children born or adopted on or after January 1, 2023, with parents who are residents of Illinois can receive the seed deposit through Bright Start or Bright Directions for their future college, technical, or apprenticeship education.
New Account Owners: Open Your Account & Claim Here
- Sign up for a Bright Start account for your eligible child
- Claim your $50 First Steps seed deposit
- Start contributing to build additional funds in your Bright Start account
Existing Account Owners: Claim Here
- Have an existing Bright Start account for your eligible child? (2023 newborn)
- Click below to claim their $50 seed deposit
- Keep contributing to your Bright Start account to build additional funds
Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for a $50 seed deposit from Illinois First Steps, you must:
Live in Illinois
The parent or legal guardian must be a resident of Illinois at the time of birth or adoption.
Have a New Child in 2023
The child listed as the beneficiary of the Bright Start (or Bright Directions) account must be born or adopted on or after January 1, 2023.
Open a Bright Start 529 Account
To claim the funds, the parent or legal guardian of the 2023 newborn or adopted child must have a 529 college savings account with Bright Start or Bright Directions. (Visit with your financial advisor to open a Bright Directions 529 account.)
Parents or legal guardians must claim the $50 seed deposit from Illinois First Steps before the child’s 10th birthday.
Learn More About Illinois First Steps
Bright Start Resources
529 Plan Basics
Learn the ins and outs of a 529 college savings account, proven over time to be an effective way of saving for future education.Learn More about 529 Plan Basics
Benefits of a 529 Plan
Explore how low fees, flexible contributions and quality investment options make saving with Bright Start an easy choice.Learn More about Benefits of a 529 Plan
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