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Applying for Tax Credit Scholarships

Through the “Invest in Kids Act,” Illinois children from households with limited financial resources 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.

Intent to Return Form: The first step toward applying for the Tax Credit Scholarship is to fill out and return the Intent to Return form (Download Here). Please return this form to school by December 20, 2017.

Tax credit scholarships: Students from financially limited 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 will need to apply for tax credit scholarships through a scholarship granting organization (SGO), which will manage this process, instead of the Archdiocese or your school directly. There will likely be several SGOs in Illinois. The Archdiocese of Chicago has chosen Empower Illinois as its preferred SGO. Empower Illinois is a trusted partner with experienced employees who have managed a similar scholarship process in Florida. School families are free to apply for scholarships through multiple SGOs. The application process with Empower Illinois will be completed online at www.empowerillinois.org. The applications process will open on January 31, 2018.

Big Shoulders also recently released that they have been approved as an SGO. We will continue to post other SGOs as application information becomes available.

What you need to apply: The Archdiocese will secure from the SGOs a list of all of the necessary documents families will need to apply for a tax credit scholarship as soon as it is available. In the meantime, based on what the Archdiocese know today, they believe families will need the following documents in order to apply for a tax credit scholarship:
-Copy of 2016 federal tax return, 1099, W-2 or year-end pay stubs.
-Verification of Illinois residence (utility bill, driver’s license etc.).
-Documentation of student age (birth certificate, federal/state ID or passport).
-Student’s prior semester report card.
-If available, letter of acceptance or enrollment at an eligible school.

Help applying: You will be able to get help applying for the scholarship in-person at a variety of events in your community in the coming months. The Archdiocese will share the dates and locations of these events as these details are finalized. For families whose first language is not English, the Archdiocese will have in-person resources available to help you through the application process.

Application deadline: The deadline for submitting applications is still being determined. The Archdiocese will provide more information as soon as it is available. 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. Click here for more information on eligibility.

Scholarship amount: Your family could receive a scholarship that covers up to 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees for next school year.