Dear Parents:  Please see the important information related to Archdiocese’s Tax-Credit Scholarship Program which begins taking applications today at 12 NOON!!

Empower Illinois Application Date Reminder – Today at 12 p.m. (noon)
The tax credit scholarship application process with Empower Illinois opens today at 12 p.m. (noon) and will be completed online at www.empowerillinois.org/students.

If a parent is using a Form 1040 as a means of income verification, the parent will need to supply the amount of Adjusted Gross Income at the end of the application as a verification. If a parent has a paper Form 1040, the amount is on line 37 at the bottom of the form (or line 4 of 1040 EZ or line 21 of 1040 A). If they have documents on a thumb drive, they will need to open the document on the thumb drive and view the 1040 to gather the information/amount. They should write it down on a piece of paper so they have it when completing the application. If a parent is married but filing separately, they should add the amount of Adjusted Gross Income from both parents’ returns.

The recommended web browsers to use in completing the Empower Illinois online application are Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla.

Empower Illinois has provided detailed application instructions, which can be accessed here. Please share with your school families who will be applying for a tax credit scholarship.

The Empower Illinois Scholarship Hotline phone number is 855.318.1222.

As a reminder, Empower Illinois’ TCS application differs from Big Shoulders Fund’s TCS application, specifically:
1040 Form: Empower Illinois requires that families submit pages 1 AND 2 (Big Shoulders Fund only required page 1)
Birth Certificate: Empower Illinois requires a birth certificate for Kindergarten and 1st graders (Big Shoulders Fund did not require a birth certificate)
If a families 2016 1040 is not available, or a families income dropped in 2017, Empower Illinois will accept documentation of SNAP as verification of eligibility
Empower Illinois has posted a video on its website and social media channels on how to apply. The video is available in English and Spanish. We encourage you to share the video with your school families.

Tax Credit Scholarship Application Events
If you are hosting your own scholarship application event, Empower Illinois recommends that as each new user gets on the computer, they should open a new window in the browser to begin the application process from the Empower Illinois website.

As a reminder, the Archdiocese is hosting in-person application events where current and prospective families can receive help completing the application at eight locations across the Archdiocese. Important Note: Application events are optional. Families should feel free to apply scholarships on their own. If they need support applying or scanning their documents, they should attend one of the events below.

Attached is a flyer (English and Spanish) regarding these application events to share with families. Again it is important to emphasize with families that they can apply for scholarships on their own.

Wednesday, January 31, 12 – 8 p.m.
Carmel Catholic High School, One Carmel Parkway, Mundelein
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, 1852 W. 22nd Place, Chicago
DePaul College Prep, 3233 N. California Avenue, Chicago
Marian Catholic High School, 700 Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights
Notre Dame College Prep, 7655 Dempster Street, Niles
St. Joseph High School, 10900 W. Cermak Road, Westchester
St. Laurence High School, 5556 W. 77th Street, Burbank
Cardinal Meyer Pastoral Center, 3525 S. Lake Park Avenue, Chicago

Thursday, February 1, 3 – 8 p.m.
Carmel Catholic High School, One Carmel Parkway, Mundelein
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, 1852 W. 22nd Place, Chicago
DePaul College Prep, 3233 N. California Avenue, Chicago
Marian Catholic High School, 700 Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights
Notre Dame College Prep, 7655 Dempster Street, Niles
St. Joseph High School, 10900 W. Cermak Road, Westchester
St. Laurence High School, 5556 W. 77th Street, Burbank
Leo High School, 7901 S. Sangamon Street, Chicago

Saturday, February 3, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Carmel Catholic High School, One Carmel Parkway, Mundelein
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, 1852 W. 22nd Place, Chicago
DePaul College Prep, 3233 N. California Avenue, Chicago
Marian Catholic High School, 700 Ashland Avenue, Chicago Heights
Notre Dame College Prep, 7655 Dempster Street, Niles
St. Joseph High School, 10900 W. Cermak Road, Westchester
St. Laurence High School, 5556 W. 77th Street, Burbank
Leo High School, 7901 S. Sangamon Street, Chicago

Volunteers Needed
We are still looking for volunteers to help us staff the application events. If you or anyone from your school, including faculty, staff, parents, etc. is interested in helping out, please email us at InvestInKids@archchicago.org.

Tax Credit Scholarship Fact Sheet
Attached for your reference, and to share with school families, please find our updated tax credit scholarship fact sheet in English, Spanish and Polish.