Applying for a Tax Credit Scholarship
Through the “Invest in Kids Act,” Illinois children from low-income households who want to attend private schools will have access to new scholarships. The scholarships offered through this program could cover up to 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees for next school year*. Below is more information about how to apply and details on eligibility requirements.
Tax credit scholarships: Students from low-income households in grades K-12 have the opportunity to receive tax credit scholarships for the 2018/19 school year. These scholarships are funded by donors who receive a credit on their Illinois state income tax as a result of their donation.
Application process: You need to apply for tax credit scholarships through a nonprofit organization that will distribute scholarships, instead of the Archdiocese or a school directly. The Archdiocese of Chicago is working with Empower Illinois which will accept applications and grant tax credit scholarships.
Empower Illinois has created a two-step application process that will be completed online at www.empowerillinois.org. Follow the steps below to apply:
- Step One – Register to reserve your place in line: Tuesday, February 27 at 7 p.m.
- At 7 p.m. Central Time, the registration process opens on www.empowerillinois.org.
- Families will complete a brief online form with the following information:
- Your name
- Contact information
- Once the form is complete and submitted, your registration will be time stamped. The time stamp will determine your place in line to complete the application in Step Two.
- You will then be taken to a second page, where you will be asked the following questions:
- Home address
- Name(s) of child(ren)
- Date(s) of birth
- Preferred school
- Once the second page is submitted, you will receive a confirmation code that you should write down and save.
Important Step One Registration Notes:
- The registration process is mobile friendly, so if you have a smart phone, you are able to register from your phone.
- Only one reservation and application are allowed per family -– even if you are applying for several students.
- Step Two – Apply for the scholarship:
- After registering and securing your place in line to complete an application, families will be emailed a link that is unique to their family to complete the formal application.
- After receiving the application email, families will have three days to complete the application and submit all required documents.
- You can complete the application at your own pace, and Empower Illinois will have support available through their website and phone helpline.
- Applications will be sent on a rolling basis, over the course of a few weeks, so please do not be alarmed if you do not receive a link immediately.
- If you have questions or issues when you are applying, Empower Illinois will have a helpline which can be reached at 855.318.1222.
- Their hours will be 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Central Time), Monday – Friday.
- Limited additional phone support may be available until 9 p.m. (Central Time) on the day of the reservation process, Tuesday, February 27.
What you need to apply: Families need the following the following documents in order to apply for a tax credit scholarship.
Household Income Verification, specifically:
- Form 1040 (Federal Tax Return; 2016 or 2017), pages one and two only
- If you do NOT file taxes, provide other evidence of income (e.g. W-2, recent pay stubs, Form 1099, official letter from employer, disability statement, or documentation of SNAP or WIC)
Proof of Residence (one of the following):
- Illinois Driver's License with current address
- Illinois State ID with current address
- Utility bill with name and current address
Evidence of Child’s Age for Kindergarten and 1st Grade students only (one of the following):
- Birth certificate
Additionally, families should know the number of the Public School District in which the household resides. Example, school district #299 for the Chicago Public School System.
Help applying: Once you have received an email with your unique application link, you can complete the application at your own pace within three days. If you have questions are you are completing the application, Empower Illinois will have support available through their website and phone helpline.
Application deadline: The deadline for submitting applications is still being determined. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis, so it is very important that you reserve your place in line on Tuesday, February 27 at 7 p.m.
How to qualify: Eligibility to receive a scholarship is based on your family’s household income. For example, a student could receive a scholarship if his/her family income is less than $73,800 a year for a family of four. See chart below for more information on eligibility for tax credit scholarships or click here.
Scholarship amount: Your family could receive a scholarship that covers up to 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees for next school year.
See the chart below that shows how much you could receive to cover tuition based on your income for a family of four.
Household Income Per Year** (Family of Four)
Eligible Scholarship Amount
Less than $45,510
100 percent of tuition
75 percent of tuition
50 percent of tuition
*Scholarships may NOT exceed $12,973, the 2018/19 statewide average public school cost for K-12 students.
**Adjusted Gross Income