Tax Credit Scholorships

Tax Credit Scholarships


One Page Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet Spanish

Commitment Form

The  Office of Catholic Schools is suggesting that parents apply to both EmpowerIllinois and Big Shoulders to increase their chances of being selected.  The application dates are different, links and deadlines are listed below.  

Empower Illinois and Big Shoulders Fund Application Dates

Update May 8th, 2018

The Archdiocese of Chicago released a video message featuring Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, and Sr. Jean Dolores Schmidt speaking in support of tax credit scholarships. Cardinal Cupich and Sister Jean, as she is affectionately known on the campuses of Loyola University Chicago where she serves as chaplain of the men’s basketball team, have teamed up to encourage more donations to the tax credit scholarship program.

The video message from Cardinal Cupich and Sr. Jean is available on and the Archdiocese’s YouTube channel. Cardinal Cupich and Sister Jean encourage more people to consider donating to a scholarship granting organization, which as you know, receives donations, processes scholarship applications and distributes scholarships to eligible students. To date, more than 44,000 Illinois students have applied for a tax credit scholarship. The demand for scholarships vastly outweighs the available funds. Four of five students who applied will not receive a scholarship, unless more individuals and corporations come forward to donate. There are more than $55 million in tax credits still available as part of this program.

Update APRIL 16. 2018

Step Two Application Emails
Most applicants who registered for Step One on February 27, should have received their Step Two emails with a link to the TADS application. Applicants who applied on February 27 that have not received their Step Two email should contact the hotline. Applicants who applied after February 27 will receive a Step Two email later on a rolling basis.

Award Communications
Empower Illinois began communicating award status to TCS applicants, on Monday, April 2. Award letters will continue to be mailed out weekly on Mondays.

Families can expect to see one of the following types of letters:

  • Award Confirmation Letter – Scholarship confirmed; (school enrollment letter previously provided)
  • Conditional Award Confirmation Letter – Scholarship confirmed; need to supply acceptance/enrollment letter from school
  • Provisional Award Confirmation Letter– Eligibility confirmed; pending acceptance/enrollment letter form from recognized school
  • Scholarship Denied Letter – Applicant deemed ineligible
  • Application Incomplete Letter – Eligibility could not be determined; reapply (lost original first come-first served date/time stamp)
  • Non-Priority Letter – Applicant received non-priority status; review will be deferred until review of priority applicants complete
  • Waitlist Letter – Application received but unprocessed; will not be reviewed for eligibility unless additional funds become available.

UPDATE: 2/20/18

The “window” for applications for Empower Illinois opens on Feb 27, 2018, 7pm.  Our understanding is that the form will require only basic family info.  Tax forms and other documents will be requested at a later date for those who qualify.   The window is expected to close very quickly, as the funding is limited.  If you are interested in applying be sure to be ready as soon as the window opens for the best chance at being included.  

Application Process Opens Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Empower Illinois scholarship applications will be available through Here’s a helpful video tutorial about how to apply, including steps on how to reserve your place in line on Feb. 27 for the first-come, first-served scholarships.

Registration Process Screenshots
Please refer to the attached screenshots of step one of the registration process (in English): page one, page two, page three and the reservation fields. Here is the reservation fields translated into Ukrainian. Here is the reservation fields translated into Polish. Here is the reservation fields translated into Chinese.

Feel free to share these materials with your school families if you think they will be helpful for them to review before the application opens.

If you would like additional information, the link to Empower Illinois is 


The tax credit scholarship application process with Empower Illinois will be completed online at

The tax credit scholarship application process with Big Shoulders Fund will be completed online at

Please click here for the latest information available from the OCS. 

Interested in donating as an individual or as a business?  75% of your donation is allowed as a tax CREDIT.  See this informative video from Empower Illinois on how to be a donor for this program.

Video from Empower Illinois

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