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Categorized | Paying For College

Need Cash For College? – Play The Lottery

Playing the lottery just got more interesting in the great state of Illinois. The Illinois Lottery System is rolling out a new type of scratch and win ticket called the “Cash 4 College“.  Officials state that the tickets cost $2 and that they will offer 5 winners the opportunity to cover 4 years of college tuition and mandatory fees. If the winner can’t use the tuition benefit, they have the option of accepting a $20,000 cash prize.  I just did some quick math in my head and I can’t imagine anyone taking the cash payout option over the tuition benefit. Chances are that 4 years of tuition, even at the cheapest public university, is going to be more than $20,000.

The following are some quick facts about the tuition lottery:

Can I give the prize to someone else?
Absolutely!  Players may award the contract to a friend, relative or anyone else that may otherwise qualify for the same purchased college tuition contract.  Any resident of Illinois can be designated as a beneficiary from the moment of birth. No maximum age limits apply. Non-residents can be designated as beneficiaries, provided that purchaser has resided in Illinois for at least 12 months immediately prior to purchase.

What is covered in the full-tuition ticket? The College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program covers in-state or in-district tuition and mandatory fees for the number of semesters purchased. Each semester is equal to 15 credit hours. Mandatory fees are those fees required as a condition of enrollment for all students.

Can I use the tuition prize for private or out-of-state colleges? In general, the College Illinois! 529 Prepaid Tuition Program benefits can be used at any non-profit, accredited institution eligible to receive federal financial aid. This includes any Illinois public university or community college and most any public or private college throughout the country.

So.. if you live in Illinois, or happen to be passing through, you may want to pick up one of these scratch and win tickets. Scoring free tuition would be great but I wouldn’t recommend tapping the college savings fund to purchase these tickets. At the very least, they may make for a great stocking stuffer for family members or friends that are entering into the college search process.

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