Tax Credit Scholarships (TCS)
Illinois’ Tax Credit Scholarship Program transforms lives by providing up to $100,000,000 per year in K-12 scholarships to low-income and working-class children in Illinois who need them the most, as their educational options are limited by family income or ZIP Code. Under the Invest in Kids Act, tax credit scholarships are funded through private donations to scholarship granting organizations (SGOs), like Empower Illinois, who then administer the application and scholarship awarding process. Both individuals and businesses can donate to the scholarship program are eligible for a 75% State Tax Credit.
For low-income and working-class families without a connection to private schools, learning how these schools may best support their child and securing funds to pay for their child is not always easy. Designed to support students and families who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend private school, the RISE Scholarship Program provides students with up to $5,000 per school year, if they qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Participating schools work to promote the RISE Scholarship opportunity and select qualifying students. Scholarship funding is generously provided and designated by anonymous donors who believe in expanding private school options to new students.
United in Love (UIL) Scholarships
The Invest in Kids Act’s first-come, first-served provision allows new families to access Tax Credit Scholarships every year, leaving some previous scholarship recipients in need of additional assistance. Designed to support students who received a tax credit scholarship one year, but not the next, the United in Love Scholarship provides students with a scholarship equal to their qualifying tax credit scholarship. Scholarship funding is generously provided and designated by anonymous donors who seek to provide students with educational stability.
Black Education Excellence (BEE) Initiative
Education, and access to a best-fit school, is a powerful tool to counter inequity and ensure all kids can reach their full potential. The Black Education Excellence (BEE) Initiative is a new network of private schools that serve the Black community in Illinois. The BEE Initiative can receive designated Tax Credit Scholarship (TCS) donations from donors who wish to support Black students by providing access to a best-fit K-12, private school. Participating schools must meet three criteria: (1) partners with Empower Illinois for the Tax Credit Scholarship Program; (2) schools with greater than 85% Black student population per the 2018-2019 or the 2019-2020 ISBE school data; (3) schools with a total student population greater than 100. For a full list of qualifying schools, click here.