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EMPOWER - Scholarship Tax Credit Program
For the 2020-2021 school year, 2 Grace students received scholarships totaling $9,000 through this program! 
We had an additional 21 students that were eligible for the scholarships if more funds were available. Please consider supporting this program.
The Invest in Kids Act: Overview of Tax Credit Scholarships
Our Lady of Grace families have the opportunity to benefit from the Illinois tax-credit scholarship program formed under the Invest in Kids Act (IIK) (Public Art 100-0465). This will be the 4th year the program offers access to a quality education for low-income and working-class students at Our Lady of Grace that may have had difficulty affording a Catholic education previously. By applying for these scholarships, families are HELPING Our Lady of Grace by allowing us to shift our dollars from scholarships towards other growth initiatives, educational advancement and capital projects. Individual or business taxpayers can earn a 75% tax credit on their contribution to this historic program and have an opportunity to impact Catholic schools and families in a big way! 

We're always here to help and to answer questions!
Jim Caparula, Principal, jcaparula@olgca.org, (309) 755-9771
Julia Neece, Admin. Assistant, office@olgca.org, (309) 755-9771
Heather Widger, Business Manager, hwidger@olgca.org 

For Our Lady of Grace Families (Applications accepted beginning January 13, 2021, at 7pm)

Students from low-income households K-12 can apply for scholarships for the 2021/22 school year beginning January 13, 2021, and they will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, so DO NOT DELAY in applying.

Your family could receive a scholarship that covers 50-100% of tuition and eligible fees for the next school year! 
An eligible student is a member of a household whose federal adjusted gross incoming the year before he or she initially receives a scholarship under this program, as determined by the Department of Revenue, does not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level and, once the child receives a scholarship, does not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level *Students could be awarded up to the amounts outlined in the chart if funds are available via the scholarship program

From January 15 to April 1, priority will be given to students who received a scholarship during the previous school year, who are members of a household whose income falls in line with the chart provided in this brochure, who reside within an under-performing focus district, and who are siblings of students currently receiving a scholarship. After April 1, all other qualifying students will be able to receive scholarships. All students who receive scholarships will be required to take the state assessment. Gifted, ESL or special needs' students may be able to get higher scholarships. Eligibility to receive a scholarships is based on your family's household income.

Ready to apply? Families will need to have digital copies of the following:
  • A copy of your family’s most recent federal tax return. If the family did not file a tax return, please visit the Empower Illinois website.
  • Proof of Illinois residency (i.e. current driver’s license or state ID, or current utility bill)
  • A birth certificate, federal or state ID, or passport for your student(s)
  • The student’s prior semester report card (unless beginning school for the first time)
  • If available, a letter of acceptance or enrollment at Our Lady of Grace.

For Those Who Would Like to Contribute to the Program
Individual and business taxpayers can receive a tax credit in the amount of 75% of your total qualified contribution to this historic program!

To participate, you must have a registered MyTax Illinois Account for filing either individual income tax or business income tax in order to apply for approval to make a contribution. 

An Introduction to EMPOWER Illinois and the Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Donor FAQ’s

Downloading and Uploading Your CAC

Donate To Your School: How It Works

How To Donate

Filing Taxes And Claiming Credit FAQ

To apply, individuals and businesses must report their intention to make an authorized contribution to our approved Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) which is Empower Illinois. You are encouraged to create a MyTax Illinois account as soon as possible to avoid any processing delays when the application system goes live. Please note that Empower Illinois will manage distribution of scholarship awards, not the State of Illinois, nor the Diocese of Peoria.

  • You must request approval to make a contribution and receive the income tax credit prior to making your contribution. Approval to contribute will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis in a geographically proportionate manner based on enrollment in recognized non-public schools in Illinois. Donors must contact the Illinois Department of Revenue immediately in order to be eligible for the tax credit.
  • For the purpose of awarding credit, Illinois will be divided into five regions. Contributing taxpayers will be required to select the region, Empower Illinois, and amount they wish to contribute. Our Lady of Grace is in Region 3, the North Central Counties.
  • Once your application has been submitted and the Illinois Department of Revenue confirms that credits are available, they will issue you a Contribution Authorization Certificate (CAC). The CAC will be issued electronically to your MyTax Illinois Account within three business days of approval of your application.
  • You must make your contribution to Empower Illinois within 60 days after issuance of the CAC. You must also provide a copy of the CAC to Empower Illinois. Within 30 days of receiving your contribution, Empower Illinois will issue you a Certificate of Receipt (COR) through you MyTax Illinois Account.
  • An individual taxpayer may specify Our Lady of Grace (as part of Region 3) as the school he/she wishes his/her contribution to benefit.
  • Approved credits may be claimed with the filing of your 2020 income tax return. You cannot take a tax credit under this Act if you claimed any portion of this contribution as a federal income tax deduction.
  • Individuals who are married and filing a joint return are considered on taxpayer for purposes of making qualified contributions.
  • If you don't use all of your income tax credit, you cannot receive a refund. However, any credit amount that exceeds your tax liability for the year may be carried forward and applied to your tax liability in the subsequent five taxable years. Credits carried forward do not require additional approval. Credits are applied to the earliest year for which there is a tax liability. Credits cannot be carried back to a prior tax year.
  • Donations by individuals are capped at $1 million.
  • The credit is non-refundable, but it can be carried forward for five years.
  • Please note: To make a new Invest in Kids contribution, you must apply each year.