Unless the Illinois General Assembly acts, the law that created the scholarship tax credit program will end this year. The purpose of this Fact Sheet is to explain the program, its benefits, and to ask you to contact your lawmaker in order to continue this program in Illinois. 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 follow the suggestion at the end of this Fact Sheet to convey your support to Illinois state lawmakers to continue the scholarship tax credit program.
The program was originally passed through a bipartisan compromise in 2017. That year, 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. There is an incentive for Illinois state taxpayers to donate to the program to fund the scholarships – donors receive a 75% state tax credit for their donation. Similar tax credit laws in Illinois have been found to be constitutional under the Illinois Constitution.
Since the beginning of the program in 2017, nearly 40,000 scholarships have been granted across the state. The demand for the program is strong – for every student receiving a scholarship, three are on a waiting list. To date, over $300 million has been donated to fund these scholarships.
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 our action alert HERE. Please call 217-528-9200 if you have any questions.