Illinois enacted the Invest In Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program in 2017. This program offers a 75 percent income tax credit to individuals and businesses that contribute to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs). The SGOs then provide scholarships for students whose families meet the income requirements to attend qualified, non-public schools in Illinois.
The LCMS Northern Illinois District has partnered with Empower Illinois (an SGO). Empower Illinois is a statewide Scholarship Granting Organization created in 2017 to serve Illinois children through the state’s tax credit scholarship program. You can learn more about them at empoweorillinois.org. Information for donors, schools, and students is available on their website.
Update 1/17/2018 – Informational Meeting: An information meeting for school administrators, school community liaisons, school fundraisers and business managers will be held Monday, February 11, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Christopher Center, Room 200, Concordia University Chicago, 7400 Augusta Street, River Forest.
Update 1/15/2019: Now is the time to plan your participation with Empower Illinois to secure financial scholarships for low-income and working-class students. Here are some important facts you should know:
- On Tuesday, January 15, the 2019-2020 tax credit application process began for scholarships for children and their families in financial need.
- Scholarships will be awarded starting January 28.
- Scholarship awards are subject to the availability of funds at the student’s school of choice.
- 95% of scholarship funding was from designated funds. That is, the donors designated scholarship funds to specific schools. Only 5% of the total funding was open, not designated for specific schools. The undesignated funds are provided to schools with students/in areas of low income.
- If your school wishes to participate, fundraising for designated funding for your school should start now.
- The program offers a 75 percent income tax credit to individuals and businesses.
The process for student applications has been simplified:
- There is a “quick” registration process.
- An email notification with a link to the Empower Illinois Portal is sent for completion of the application. The application process includes submission of:
- Proof of Illinois residency
- Proof of financial need
- NO social security numbers are required
There are many resources for donors, schools and students on Empower Illinois’ website at empowerillinois.org.
Please also watch for the upcoming date for an LCMS Northern Illinois District meeting to learn more about Empower Illinois and the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program.
Update 1/9/2019: The Empower Illinois scholarship application will be available on Tuesday, January 15. The new application will be available at empowerillinois.org/students.