Applying for a Tax Credit Scholarship
The Archdiocese has been informed that the Empower Illinois website will not be open for tax credit scholarship applications until further notice.
We are deeply disappointed by this news. We appreciate the efforts families made on January 31 to apply for tax credit scholarships and the dedication of the staff and volunteers deployed to help them. We are ready to support these families when the website reopens and will share any updates as we receive them. Additionally, Empower Illinois will provide updates via its website, social media channels and email distribution list.
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.
mpower Illinois’ application will be completed online at www.empowerillinois.org/students, however the website has been suspended due to technical issues. We will share updates on the re-launch of the website when available from Empower Illinois.
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: The Archdiocese is ready to support families through in-person application support events when the Empower Illinois website reopens. Please continue to check our website for further updates.
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 when the application process begins, you apply early.
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