(110 ILCS 979/5)
    Sec. 5. Purpose. The General Assembly finds and declares that the general welfare and security of the State are enhanced by access to higher education for all residents of the State who desire that education and who demonstrate the qualifications necessary to pursue that education. Furthermore, it is desirable that residents of the State who seek to pursue higher education be able to choose attendance at the higher education institution that offers programs and services most suitable to their needs. Accordingly, endeavors that serve the higher education needs of the people of the State represent an essential function of State government.
    During the past decade, students have been paying more and borrowing more to finance the increasing cost of higher education at Illinois colleges and universities as well as at similar institutions nationwide. Federal and state governments' capacity to fund college scholarships and grants cannot fully meet the current and future demand for higher education nor is it reasonable to expect that paying for college is solely a governmental responsibility. It is -- and has always been -- a shared responsibility among the student, the family, State government, and the federal government. Consequently, the intent of this Act is to both encourage and better enable Illinois families to help themselves finance the cost of higher education, specifically through a program that provides Illinois families with a method of State tax-free and federally tax-exempt savings for higher education.
(Source: P.A. 95-217, eff. 8-16-07.)