Ask Terry Questions Illinois College Bonds

Illinois College Bonds

By Terry Savage on July 23, 2015 | College Savings / Student Loans

28 years ago, my husband and I began purchasing Illinois College Bonds. They were purchased at various prices depending on how many years between the purchase date and the date we wanted to cash it in for college . Each bond was guaranteed to be worth $5,000 when it matured. In addition, we were promised $500 for each bond that was used to pay tuition at an Illinois college or university.

Cashing the bonds at maturity went smoothly. However, we have not been able to obtain the additional $500 for each bond we used to pay the tuition at Bradley University in Peoria. My brother-n-law inquired about this and was told that Illinois was unable to fulfill this promise. That was 10 years ago.

Currently, I have no idea where to even begin holding the state accountable for this money. We have 4 bonds which we have used over the past 3 years for tuition at Bradley University. So the state owes us $2000 that I would like to collect on. Please help!


Terry Says:  Aha — you are not alone.  I wrote about this several years when the state first reneged on its “promise” of that $50 credit.  (I bought some of them at the same time, though not for the tuition credit since my son was already in college — but just because they paid a very nice rate of return.)  If you read the fine print (which I didn’t at the time), there was a caveat that if the money was “available” (or something to that effect) there would be a $50 credit per bond if they were used for tuition. Well, for the past 5-6 years the legislature has neglected to make the money “available.”  And because of that caveat in the wording, the state has gotten out of its obligation to pay the promised credit.

Don’t waste your time trying to get the money from the state. I went after them when they first reneged.  And that’s when they pointed out the fine print!  But those bonds were purchased at a discount (like the old U.S. Savings Bonds) and matured to pay college, and their interest rates were really high in hindsight.

Consider it a lesson learned.  And think about what other promises the state might renege on in the future, based on the “fine print” in other programs.



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