More than 30,000 students across Illinois last night applied for the second year of the new Tax Credit Scholarship program, according to the largest scholarship-granting organization in the state.
A press release from Empower Illinois states that more than 24,400 families representing over 30,000 students visited its website for the opening of the application process for the 2019-2020 academic year.
“This demand clearly illustrates both the need and support for this critical program, which makes quality education options accessible to low-income and working class students across Illinois,” stated Anthony Holter, executive director of Empower Illinois, which serves most of the Catholic schools across Illinois.
The program allows individuals and corporations to donate to scholarship-granting organizations (SGO) and receive a 75 percent credit on their state income taxes. The SGOs then use this money to grant scholarships to qualifying students. The program is annually capped at $75 million, meaning $100 million would have to be donated.
For this academic year, Empower Illinois awarded scholarships worth more than $45 million to 5,459 scholarships at 402 schools, out of a total of over 33,000 applications.
So far, more than $8 million has been raised among all SGOs to fund scholarships for the second year of the program.