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The scholarship granting organization (SGO)’s report offers data on the successful, inaugural year of the five-year pilot program

February 26, 2019, Chicago, IL – Empower Illinois has released its year one report detailing the impact of the Tax Credit Scholarship program and other key education policy initiatives the nonprofit is working on to strengthen public and private school options for all Illinois students. Last year, Empower Illinois, the state’s largest SGO, awarded scholarships to over 5,459 students from low-income and working-class families for the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 school year.

The report highlights the significant demand for the program and breaks down scholarship applicant and awardee data by region. Key findings in the report include:

  • Donation analysis:
    • At $61.4 million, including $45.2 million raised by Empower Illinois, Illinois’ Tax Credit Scholarship program has broken the national record for the most money raised of any first-year Tax Credit Scholarship program.
    • The average donation to Empower is $22,732, the median donation is$4,000, and the most common donation is $1,000.
  • Scholarship data:
    • It would require more than $216 million to award a scholarship to every student who applied for one.
    • The average scholarship amount was $6,669.
  • Awardee demographics:
    • 75 percent of scholarship recipients qualify for the Federal free or reduced-price meal program.
    • One in seven scholarship recipients has unique learning needs.
    • Average scholarship recipient comes from a family of four with an average income of $35,371, or 148 percent of the federal poverty level.

“This scholarship has helped so many families across Illinois make an active choice in their children’s education,” said Anthony Holter, Executive Director of Empower Illinois. “These scholarships give kids the opportunity to go to a school that works best for them, regardless of their income or ZIP code, and can make a huge impact in their future and Illinois’ future.”

The second year of the program is underway, with over 40,000 students already in line for a Fall 2019-Spring 2020 scholarship. To read the full report visit https://empowerillinois.org/wp- content/uploads/2019/02/EI_Y1Report_Digital.pdf.


About Empower Illinois: Empower Illinois is a statewide Scholarship Granting Organization created in 2017 to serve Illinois children through the state’s tax credit scholarship program. Empower Illinois’ mission is to expand quality education options for low-income and working-class families of Illinois. The Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program was created in Illinois to benefit children whose educational options are limited by household income. Empower Illinois serves as a conduit for processing donations, scholarship awards and program compliance for approximately 80% of all Illinois private schools. ###

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