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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 next school year at Saint Bede Academy.

The Empower Illinois Scholarship Granting Organization website ( is now operational and will accept applications January 24, 2018. These dates are subject to change.

In August, with bipartisan support, the Illinois House and Senate passed a comprehensive education funding bill which was signed into law by the Governor. In the weeks since, more and more details are emerging. The bill includes 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 a FAQ with information to date. Updated information will be posted as it becomes available.

Please contact Mr. Russ Courter, Director of Diocesan Parish and School Finances at, or Dr. Susan Stolt, Associate Superintendent of Diocesan Schools at

Additional Links:

How do I know if my family is financially eligible for the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program?

► Use the following chart of estimated household incomes to see if you’re eligible. These estimates are based on the 2017 Federal Poverty Guidelines.


Household Size 185% or less of poverty level qualifies for $12,973 toward tuition 186% – 250% of poverty level qualifies for $9,729.75 toward tuition 251% – 300% of poverty level qualifies for $6,486.50 toward tuition
2 $30,044 $30,045 - $40,600 $40,601 - $48,720
3 $37,777 $37,778 - $51,050 $51,051 - $61,260
4 $45,510 $45,511 - $61,500 $61,501 - $73,800
5 $53,243 $53,244 - $71,950 $71,951 - $86,340
6 $60,976 $60,977 - $82,400 $82,401 - $98,880
7 $68,709 $68,710 - $92,850 $92,851 - $111,420
8 $76,442 $76,443 - $103,300 $103,301 - $123,960

*Note: If more than eight people in your household, add $4,180 for each additional person.

What is a “focus district?” To be qualified for the Tax Credit families must reside in a designated focus district.

Focus districts are public school districts which have a school that: (1) has one or more subgroups in which the average student performance is at or below the state average for the lowest 10 percent of student performance in that subgroup or (2) has an average graduation rate of less than 60 percent and has not been identified for priority. A list of focus districts in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria include:

• Peoria SD 150, East Peoria CHSD 309, and South Pekin SD 137

• Rock Island SD 41, East Moline SD 37, United Township (East Moline) HSD 30, and Carbon Cliff SD 36

• Urbana SD 116, Rantoul SD 137, and Rantoul Township HSD 193

• Danville CCSD 118, Westville CUSD 2, and Georgetown‐Ridge Farm CUD 4

• DePue USD 103

• Lewistown CUSD 97