Curriculum and Resources

Tax Credit Scholarships

In August 2017, with bipartisan support, the House and Senate passed a comprehensive education funding bill that was signed into law by the governor. The law includes a provision for tax credit scholarships, which provide strong incentives for donors to support non-public school scholarships for low-income students in the state. Illinois students from low-income families may use these new scholarships to attend a non-public school of their choice, including the more than 200 Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic schools in Cook and Lake Counties.

This legislation represents a major step forward that will help create more equity in school funding throughout Illinois, and for the first time provide real school choice for students and their families.

New Matching Gift Opportunity

In its first year, the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, “Invest in Kids”, awarded scholarships to more than 3,000 students from low-income families to attend a Catholic school of their choice in Cook and Lake Counties.

This was made possible through the generosity of thousands of donors who took advantage of the 75 percent state income tax credit on their donation.

To help their donations have even more impact in 2019, several donors have agreed to pool their resources and offer a 2-for-1 matching gift program to the more than 160 schools run by the Archdiocese of Chicago, up to $5 million total.

  • Donors who would like to receive the tax credit for their 2018 taxes should begin the process prior to Dec. 14, 2018 to ensure that they have enough time to make their gift by Dec. 31, 2018.
  • For every dollar designated to a qualifying Catholic school through Empower Illinois between Dec. 1, 2018 and Feb. 28, 2019, the school will receive two dollars in matching funds. The donations are capped at $100,000 per school.
  • The program will end when all matching funds have been depleted or on Feb. 28, 2019, whichever comes first.
  • After April 1, 2019, any matching gift program funds that are not awarded to a designated Catholic school will be reallocated to low-income students at schools with unmet demand.

For example:

A donor with about $75,000 in income could make a donation of $5,000 to Empower Illinois, in cash or stock, that would…

  • Eliminate their Illinois state income tax liability (approximately $3,750); and
  • Provide $15,000 in scholarship support (after the $10,000 match)

For a total cost of $1,250, this donor has now provided three students with $5,000 in scholarships to use to attend a Catholic school of their choice (donation of $5,000 minus the $3,750 in state credit).

Donating to a Tax Credit Scholarship
There is still time to apply for a 2018 tax credit and donate to a Scholarship Granting Organization. To review the process, click here

So far in 2018 nearly 3,000 students were awarded scholarships, and there are many more students who could benefit from your generosity.  

Your gift through a tax credit scholarship provides a high-quality, faith-based education for generations of students to come.

Consider applying for your tax credit today. 

Applying for a Tax Credit Scholarship

The window to apply for a tax credit scholarship for the 2018/19 school year has closed. We will provide updated on this website when the applications open for the 2019/20 school year. In the meantime, to learn more about the tax credit scholarship application policy, including frequently asked questions and scholarship eligibility, click here.

For additional information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions, Tax Credit Scholarship Eligibility, and More Information pages.