Mon - Thurs: 8:00 - 5:15


(217) 698-8500


1615 W. Washington St., Springfield, IL 62702

Office for Catholic Schools

Applying for a Tax Credit Scholarship

Tax credit scholarships: Students from low-income households in grades K-12 have the opportunity to receive tax credit scholarships for the 2018/19 school year. These scholarships are funded by donors who receive a credit on their Illinois state income tax as a result of their donation.

Application process: You will need to apply for tax credit scholarships through a scholarship granting organization (SGO), which will manage this process, instead of the Diocese or your school directly. There are several SGOs in Illinois. The Diocese of Springfield in Illinois is working with one SGO: Empower Illinois.

The application process with Empower Illinois will be completed online at www.empowerillinois.org.

Step One – Register to reserve your place in line: Tuesday, January 15 at 7 p.m.

  • At 7 p.m. Central Time, the registration process opens on www.empowerillinois.org.
  • Families will complete a brief online form with the following information:
    • Your name
    • Contact information
  • Once the form is complete and submitted, your registration will be time stamped. The time stamp will determine your place in line to complete the application in Step Two.
  • You will then be taken to a second page, where you will be asked the following questions:
    • Home address
    • Name(s) of child(ren)
    • Date(s) of birth
    • Preferred school
  • Once the second page is submitted, you will receive a confirmation code that you should write down and save.

Important Step One Registration Notes:

  • The registration process is mobile friendly, so if you have a smart phone, you are able to register from your phone.
  • Only one reservation and application are allowed per family -– even if you are applying for several students.

Step Two – Apply for the scholarship:

  • After registering and securing your place in line to complete an application, families will be emailed a link that is unique to their family to complete the formal application.
  • After receiving the application email, families will have three days to complete the application and submit all required documents.
  • You can complete the application at your own pace, and Empower Illinois will have support available through their website and phone helpline.
  • Applications will be sent on a rolling basis, over the course of a few weeks, so please do not be alarmed if you do not receive a link immediately.
  • If you have questions or issues when you are applying, Empower Illinois will have a helpline which can be reached at 855.318.1222.
  • Their hours will be 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Central Time), Monday – Friday.
  • Limited additional phone support may be available until 9 p.m. (Central Time) on the day of the reservation process, Tuesday, February 27.


What you need to apply: Based on what we know today, families will need the following documents in order to apply for a tax credit scholarship:

  • Copy of 2016 federal tax return, 1099, W-2 or year-end pay stubs
  • Proof of Illinois residency (driver's license, state ID or utility bill)
  • Documentation of student age (birth certificate, federal/state ID or passport)
  • If available, a letter of acceptance or enrollment at an eligible, participating, non-pubic school

Note: There may be changes to this list as the application process is finalized by the SGOs. We will provide updates as they are available.

Application deadline: The deadline for submitting applications is still being determined. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis, so it is very important that when the application process begins, you apply early.

How to qualify: Eligibility to receive a scholarship is based on your family’s household income. For example, a student could receive a scholarship if his/her family income is less than $73,800 a year for a family of four. See chart below for more information on eligibility for tax credit scholarships or click here.  

Scholarship amount: Your family could receive a scholarship that covers up to 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees for next school year. 

See the chart below that shows how much you could receive to cover tuition based on your income for a family of four.

Household Income Per Year**  (Family of Four)

Eligible Scholarship Amount

Less than $45,510

100 percent of tuition


75 percent of tuition


50 percent of tuition

 To learn more, please contact the Diocese at 217-698-8500.

 *Scholarships may NOT exceed $12,973, the 2018/19 statewide average public school cost for K-12 students. 

 **Adjusted Gross Income