? Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship - Important Information for Marian Catholic Families
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Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship

Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship, Marian Catholic, Scholars with a soul

The Illinois Invest in Kids Act, recently passed by the Illinois state legislature, was designed to create a more equitable formula for school funding. It includes a provision that has the potential to provide increased scholarship funding for families who choose to enroll their children at private schools including Marian Catholic. The provision allows individuals and corporations to donate to scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) and receive a 75% credit against their state taxes in return. The SGOs will then use the donated funds to grant scholarships to qualifying Illinois students to attend the private school of their choice.

Individuals may direct their donations to any private K-12 school in Illinois, including Marian Catholic. However, they cannot direct their donation to a specific student. Corporate donations will be placed in a general scholarship fund to be divided among all families applying for a scholarship, including Marian Catholic families.

Donations are capped at $1 million per taxpayer per year. The total number of tax credits statewide is capped at $75 million per year (or $100 million in donations).

Visit the Illinois Invest in Kids Web Site

The Illinois Department of Revenue has approved the following Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) for Region 1 (Marian Catholic's region). They include:





Empower Illinois

Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Empower Illinois

How Do I Apply?

Big Shoulders Fund

Applications Suspended

Apply at Big Shoulders Fund

Big Shoulder Fund: Forms


Applications Suspended


ASCI Children Education Fund

January 22

ASCI Children Education Fund

Institute for Community, Inc.


Institute for Community, Inc.

Apply: Institute for Community, Inc.

Children at the Crossroads Foundation

Applications Suspended

Children at the Crossroads Foundation: Invest In Kids

Urban Prep Foundation


Urban Prep Foundation

Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council


Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council

Empower Illinois has announced that their scholarship application system will open on Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m.  The new application will be available through the Empower Illinois website. It is a two step process:

  1. Reserve: On February 27 at 7:00 p.m. families will complete a brief online form containing name and contact information, child name and preferred school. This will time stamp applications for the first-come, first-served scholarships.
  2. Apply: After reserving a place in line, families will be emailed a unique link and use a reservation code to complete the application. Applications will be sent on a rolling basis, over the course of a few weeks. After receiving the applications email, families will have three days to complete the application and submit all required documents. 

More information, including helpful documents, FAQs and instructions, can be found on the Empower Illinois website.

Families who need Internet access are asked to contact Sr. Judine Hilbing Director of Scholarships/Tuition Assistance at sjh@marianchs.com.

The application for the Big Shoulders Fund SGO will open at 8:00 a.m. on January 22 at www.bigshouldersfund.tfaforms.net/97  Additional information is available on their website at www.bigshouldersfundsgo.org/apply including:

Note: The Big Shoulders application requires families to identify the school district in which they reside.  If applicants cannot find their school district on the drop-down list, they should use Ogle County Byron CUSD 226Families should then include their correct school district in the "Comments/Other Information" box toward the end of the application.

The Empower Illinois website contains important information about their application process, including a checklist of documents families will need to submit when the Empower Illinois application opens on Wednesday, January 31 at 12 p.m. Families seeking scholarships are encouraged to visit the Empower Illinois student portal at https://empowerillinois.org/students/

HighSight's Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Application is currently suspended. HighSight has indicated it will reopen the application process subject to the availability of funds.

Families are encouraged to apply to multiple SGOs to increase their scholarship opportunities.

Information for Families 

Tax Credit Scholarships have the potential to increase the scholarship funds available to Marian Catholic families beginning with the 2018-19 school year.  While not all families will be eligible for the new scholarships, we want to make sure everyone is aware of the opportunity. It is important that families who do qualify for the scholarships fully understand the process before applications open since scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis

Tax Credit Scholarships have the potential to cover 50%, 75%, or 100% of tuition and eligible fees depending on household income. A document highlighting the key elements of the scholarship program, including a chart outlining qualifying income levels, is available via the links below. 

The Chicago Archdiocese has also compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Tax Credit Scholarships.

Families are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Tax Credit Scholarship Program material in order to be fully prepared to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.  Updated information will be posted on a regular basis. 

Tax Credit Scholarship Highlights (English)

Tax Credit Scholarship Highlights (Español)

Information for Donors

  • Donors must establish an account through MyTax Illinois before they can apply for the tax credits. Note: The registration process, which can take up to 10 business days, must be completed before tax credits can be reserved. Those interested in applying for the credits are encouraged to create a MyTax Illinois account as soon as possible at mytax.illinois.gov.
  • The tax credit application is available through MyTax Illinois at tax.illinois.gov.
  • Tax credits will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Approval is automatic as long as the regional and statewide thresholds have not been met.
  • Once your tax credit application is approved, you will be issued a Contribution Authorization Certificate that must be submitted, along with your donation, to the SGO within 60 days. An option to designate your donation to a school or subset of schools (including Marian Catholic) will be available when you make your donation to the Scholarship Granting Organization.
  • Donors will receive a certificate of receipt from the SGO within 30 days of the donation. The SGO will also notify the Department of Revenue that a donation was made.
  • If a donor reserves a credit and does not donate or, gives less than the amount they indicated to the Illinois Department of Revenue, they forfeit their tax credit.
  • Donors cannot take a federal tax deduction for donations associated with the Invest in Kids Act.
  • Credits are non-refundable, but can be carried forward for five years. The Invest in Kids Act will automatically be repealed effective January 1, 2024 if the Illinois legislature does not extend the program.

All of the SGOs including Empower Illinois, the preferred SGO for the Archdiocese of Chicago, are responsible for processing donations from individuals and corporations. If you would like to reserve a tax credit and make a donation to support Catholic education visit:

Specific questions regarding Tax Credit Scholarships can be directed to Sr. Judine Hilbing, OP, Director of Scholarships/Tuition Assistance at 708-996-4624, sjh@marianchs.com.
For Donor Information, please contact Dan Kozlowski, at 708-996-4652 or dkozlowski©marianchs.com.