Tax credit scholarship clearinghouse announces more than 33,000 applications

The benchmark news came from Empower Illinois, one of the nonprofit entities overseeing implementation of the Illinois tax credit scholarship program created by the Illinois General Assembly in 2017. Under this new tax credit, Illinois income taxpayers are authorized to donate moneys to an approved scholarship clearinghouse. The moneys will be used to pay for scholarships to be awarded to enable children to attend fee-charging schools. Scholarships that will cover 50 to 100 percent of a student’s tuition and school-related expenses will be awarded to children from income-eligible households.

Empower Illinois’ announcement followed the nonprofit’s previous announcement of a glitch on January 31. When the Empower office first tried to roll out their online scholarship application window, so many applications were submitted that the website broke down. The 33,000 valid applications submitted in the second process, which generated totals announced on Wednesday, February 28, reflect emergency repairs made to the application website. Empower Illinois reported receiving $45 million in pledged donations from Illinois taxpayers. The taxpayers will receive individual income tax credits to cover up to 80 percent of the cost of their donations. Applicant households who do not get into the program this year may choose to reapply again in early 2019.

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