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The application is a two-step process. First, reserve your place in line by completing a brief online form. This step will determine your place in line for the first-come, first-served scholarships. After reserving your place in line, families will be emailed a unique link and use their reservation code to complete the full application.


The Process

  1. Go to beginning Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 P.M. to start your application.
  2. Complete the form with your name and contact information to timestamp your application.
    Note: This step will determine your place in line for the first-come, first-served scholarships
  3. Also submit your home address, the names of your children, their dates of birth, and your preferred school.
    Note: Only one reservation and application are allowed per family – even if you are applying for several students.
  4. Take note of your confirmation code after completing your reservation.
  5. Wait to receive an email link to your unique application where you will complete it and upload all required documents. Emails will be sent on a rolling basis and may take several weeks.
  6. After your unique application link has been sent to you via email, you will have 7 days (168 hours in total) to submit your completed application and all required documents. It is important to make sure all required documents have been submitted. Empower Illinois will not be able to award any scholarships to students whose applications are incomplete, lacking required documents or submitted after 7 days (168 hours in total) of the application link having been sent.


Application Checklist

This is the list of documents you will need to complete the full application, after you have reserved your place in line.

Do I Qualify Adjusted Gross Income*, such as ONE of the following, as indicated at the end of the application:

  • Choose a year and submit all household and income documents for that year (don’t mix household information from one year with income information from a different year)
    • Federal Tax Return, pages 1 & 2 (2016 or 2017)
    • W-2 (2016 or 2017)
    • 1099/s (2016 or 2017)
    • Year-end pay stub (2016 or 2017)
    • Letter, on letterhead, from employer/s indicating cash wages paid (2016 or 2017)

*The application will ask if you receive WIC or SNAP benefits.  If you do, and your federal tax return is not available to you, you may submit your statement of WIC or SNAP benefits.

Do I Qualify Proof of Illinois residency, such as ONE of the following for the residential parent/custodian:

  • Federal Tax Return Form 1040, page 1 (2016 or 2017)
  • Illinois driver’s license
  • Illinois identification card (issued by the Secretary of State)
  • Utility bill in the custodian’s name
  • Statement of benefits from WIC
  • Statement of benefits from SNAP
  • W-2
  • 1099
  • Residential lease in the parent/custodian’s name
Do I Qualify

Documentation of the student’s age (applicable to students entering kindergarten and first grade only), such as ONE of the following:

  • A copy of the student’s birth certificate
  • Federal or State ID
  • A passport
Do I Qualify The following document is optional at the time of application, but will be required prior to the student receiving scholarship dollars:

  • Enrollment or acceptance letter from the private school the student will attend
    • The letter needs to:
      • Be on school letterhead
      • State the student’s name
      • Acknowledge the student will attend the school for the 2018-2019 school year



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