Tax Credit Scholarship Program

The State of Illinois has created a new way to fund scholarships for children who choose to attend Catholic schools through the “Invest in Kids Act.” Scholarships offered through this program have the potential to cover up to 100 percent of tuition and eligible charges for the next school year at St. Francis High School. 
The Empower Illinois Scholarship Granting Organization website ( is now operational and will be accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 7 p.m.
In August 2017, with bipartisan support, the Illinois House and Senate passed a comprehensive education funding bill which was signed into law by the Governor. The bill included a new five-year program for Tax Credit Scholarships (TCS) for students in private schools that will create more equity in school funding throughout Illinois.  Below is an FAQ with information to date.  Updated information will be posted as it becomes available.
Visit for up-to-date details, or contact St. Francis High School Director of Admissions Ms. Maureen Isphording at or (630) 668-5800, ext. 1120 with questions.

List of 3 items.


    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.

    January 15, 2019, is the official date for the 2019-2020 tax credit scholarship application process to begin.
    The application is a two-step process. First, visit the Empower Illinois Website beginning Tuesday, January 15, at 7:00 p.m. CT to reserve your place in line. You will complete a brief online form containing parent name, contact information, and child’s name. This will time stamp your application.
    After reserving your place in line, you can access the application through your student portal on Friday, January 18, 2019. You will receive instructions by email about setting up your student portal after your reservation has been completed. Empower will begin awarding scholarships on January 28. Scholarship awards are subject to the availability of funds at your school of choice, however, Empower recommends to submit the application before January 28 to increase your chances of receiving a scholarship. Failing to submit your application before January 28 may cause other students who have completed their application to receive a scholarship before you, even if you reserved a place in line in front of them.
    Helpful Links

    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.
    The application is a two-step process. First, reserve your place in line by completing a brief online form at 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.

St. Francis High School