Current students and incoming students/families that reside in the State of Illinois are eligible to participate in this program as long as they meet the qualifications/requirements as defined by the State and listed below. The Tax Credit Scholarship for K-12 students will cover up to 100% of private school tuition up to a maximum of the average Illinois cost to educate, which is roughly $13,000. Students with unique learning needs, including those who are gifted, English language learners, or those with special education qualifications, may be eligible to receive larger scholarships — up to double— roughly $26,000. Tax Credit Scholarships are need based and do not take academic performance into consideration.

Who qualifies for the Tax Credit Scholarship Program?
K-12 students from low-income families are eligible to receive a Tax Credit Scholarship.  See the chart below for more details.

Before April 1, priority will be given to students who meet one of the following categories:

  • Are members of a household whose previous year’s total annual income does not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level ($46,435 for a family of 4);
  • Reside within a focus district;
  • Received a scholarship from a scholarship granting organization during the previous school year; or
  • Are siblings of students currently receiving a scholarship.

After April 1, all other qualifying students will be considered for scholarships, subject to availability of funding.

 2018 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Chart

Household members

185% FPL

250% FPL

300% FPL


































  • If more than eight people in your household, for each additional person, add $4,320 to the baseline FPL number for a family of 8 ($42,380) and then multiply by 1.85, 2.5 and 3 to arrive at the corresponding income limits.
  • Foster children are deemed to have a household income that does not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level.

The application is a two-step process. First, reserve your place in line by completing a brief online form. After reserving your place in line, you will be able to complete the full application. Your place in line can increase your chances of receiving a scholarship but it is not a guarantee.

What are the responsibilities of the student and his or her custodian?
To participate in the program the custodian and student:

  •  must select a qualified school and apply for the admission;
  •  ensure that the student participating in the scholarship program takes the required assessment;
  •  comply with the qualified school's published policies; and
  •  authorize the SGO to access information needed for income eligibility determinations.

What is the maximum amount of scholarship a student can receive?
The maximum scholarship amount is either (1) tuition and necessary fees of the school to be attended or (2) the statewide average operating expense per student, whichever is lower. Tuition and necessary fees includes the customary charge for instruction in general and the additional fixed fees charged for specified purposes that are required generally of non- scholarship recipients for each academic period for which the scholarship applicant actually enrolls, including costs associated with student assessments.

How is the scholarship amount a student receives determined? 
In order to qualify for a scholarship, a student’s family will have to give official documentation to the SGO of their annual income. Based on how a student’s household income compares to the federal poverty level, a student will receive the following:

  •  for students whose household income is less than 185%, the scholarship will be 100% of tuition and necessary fees;
  •  for students whose household income is between 185% and 250%, scholarships will average 75% of tuition and necessary fees; and
  •  for students whose household income is above 250%, scholarships will average 50% of tuition and necessary fees.

Important Links

Empower Illinois 

Step by Step Application Instructions

Tax Credit Scholarship FAQS