CCI Asks Citizens to Act Now to Help Save Illinois Scholarship
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
May 4, 2023
SPRINGFIELD—Illinois enacted the Invest In Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program through a bi-partisan compromise in 2017. This program offers a 75% state income tax credit to individuals and businesses that contribute to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs).
The SGOs then provide scholarships for students whose families meet the income requirements to attend qualified, non-public schools and technical academies in Illinois. In the region that encompasses the Diocese of Rockford, the SGO is Empower Illinois.
Since the beginning of the program nearly 40,000 scholarships have been granted across the state with 919 of those benefiting Catholic school students in the Rockford Diocese.  As one might imagine in today’s economy, the demand for the program is strong — for every student receiving a scholarship, three are on a waiting list. 
According to the Catholic Conference of Illinois, CCI, over $300 million has been donated to fund these scholarships to date. 
Despite the success and the need, CCI says Illinois lawmakers are seeking to sunset this valuable program. 
“Unless the Illinois General Assembly acts, the law that created the scholarship tax credit program will end this year. By any objective measure this program has been a success, but we need your help to continue it. There are strong forces in the General Assembly who want to end this program, so please convey your support to Illinois state lawmakers to continue the scholarship tax credit program,” CCI explains in its fact sheet.
It goes on to explain that in 2017 “lawmakers scraped an archaic funding formula that resulted in increased funding for public education as well as for the creation of the scholarship tax credit program called the Invest in Kids Act. Under the program, a low- or moderate-income family can receive a scholarship that can be used to pay for tuition at a non-public school of that family’s choice.” 
The program serves a diverse population of students — 18% of scholarships went to Black families, 34% to Hispanic families. Parents of recipients indicated widespread satisfaction — 97% of participants surveyed are satisfied with the program. 67% of all voters support the program with 71% of Black voters and 81% of Latino voters supporting it. One in nine scholarship recipients is a unique learner: special education, gifted education, or English-language learner.
What you can do
Please call and write to your local state senator and state representative to register your support for continuing the scholarship tax credit program by going to to find out your lawmaker’s name, contact information, and a suggested message. Please call 217-528-9200 if you have any questions.
To learn more about Invest in Kids visit the website to view the frequently asked questions about the program:
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