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Tax Credit Scholarship Eligibility

Through the “Invest in Kids Act,” Illinois students that demonstrate financial need enrolled in 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.

Before April 1, 2018, scholarships will first be given to:
Students from households who fit the description in Chart 1 below.
Students who reside in a “focus district,” which are public school districts that do not meet certain performance standards.
Siblings of scholarship students.

See the charts below that show how much your family could receive to cover tuition based on your household income and family size.

Chart 1: You could receive 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees if you fit the following:

Chart 2: You could receive 75 percent of tuition and eligible fees if you fit the following:

Chart 3: You could receive 50 percent of tuition and eligible fees if you fit the following:

Note: If more than eight people live in your home, add $4,160 to the total household income per year for each additional person.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are tax credit scholarships?
Tax credit scholarships provide an Illinois state income tax credit (not just a deduction, like with other charitable contributions) to individuals and corporations that contribute money to a non-profit Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). That SGO then awards scholarships to eligible students from families with limited financial resoures.

What is a Scholarship Granting Organization?
A Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is responsible for the following, among other things:
• Receiving donations from individuals and corporations;
• Receiving and processing scholarship applications from students/families; and
• Distributing scholarships to eligible students/families in accordance with the law.

SGOs must determine whether students meet the income eligibility requirements to receive a scholarship and must distribute scholarships to eligible students on a first-come, first-serve basis. SGOs must honor restrictions placed on donations from individuals, if any.

When are the scholarships available?
Donors may make contributions and families can apply for scholarships beginning January 1, 2018. The initial scholarships will apply to the 2018/19 school year, and the program will continue for at least five years (based on the current law).

Who is eligible to receive a scholarship?
Students from families with limited financial resources are eligible to receive a tax credit scholarship.

To be considered for a scholarship, students must be from a household with income below 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($73,800 for family of four).

However, prior to April 1, 2018 priority will be given to:

Students from households that are below 185 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,510 for family of four).
Students who reside in a “focus district” (explained below).
Siblings of scholarship students.
Beginning in 2019, priority will also be given to renewals of previous year scholarship recipients.

What age students are eligible for tax credit scholarships?
Scholarships are available for eligible students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

What is a “focus district?”
Focus districts are public school districts which have a school that: (1) has one or more subgroups in which the average student performance is at or below the state average for the lowest 10 percent of student performance in that subgroup or (2) has an average graduation rate of less than 60 percent and has not been identified for priority.