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Qualified Schools and Parent Information

Important News - The expiration date of the Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program was December 31, 2023. Contributions made to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) after December 31, 2023, will not be eligible for a tax credit. See Informational Bulletin FY 2024-17 for more information.

An Invest in Kids tax credit must be claimed in the tax year that the contribution was made. Any Invest in Kids tax credit not fully used in the year it was first claimed may be carried forward for the next five tax years, even if the five-year carry forward period is past the expiration date. For example: If a calendar year filing taxpayer makes an eligible contribution to an SGO in 2023, the tax credit must be claimed on the 2023 tax return. Any excess credit not used on the 2023 tax return may be carried forward until 2028.

Qualified Schools in Illinois

“Qualified school” means a non-public school located in Illinois and recognized by the Board pursuant to Section 2-3.25o of the School Code or that is registered and becomes recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education pursuant to Section 2-3.25o of the School Code prior to receiving scholarship funds pursuant to the Act.

NOTE: "Qualified schools" also include "technical academies". A "technical academy" is defined as a non-public school located in Illinois that registers with the Board pursuant to Section 2-3.25 of the School Code and operates or will operate a jointly administered CTE (Career Technical Education) program as the primary focus of the school. 

Students: The school you select must be a qualified school. It must either be recognized by the Board or registered with the Board and awaiting approval of recognition by the Board. The Board will maintain a list of registered schools awaiting recognition. See “Applications for Initial Nonpublic School Recognition Received” on the Board’s website. Students can choose schools on the list of applications but schools on the list cannot receive scholarship money until they are recognized by the Board and listed in the recognized school category. Please consult the list for updates. If you pick a school on the list of applications and the school does not become recognized by the Board, the SGO cannot release scholarship funds for you to attend the school.

Contributors: Contributions can be made to an SGO and, if the contribution is made by an individual, dedicated to a particular qualified school on the list of applications. However, you may want to advise the SGO whether it can dedicate the funds to an alternative school or can use the funds to award scholarships to eligible students to attend any school on the recognized list in case the school awaiting recognition is not recognized by the Board prior to distribution of scholarship.

ISBE provides a list of the non-public schools to the Department each year that identifies the schools eligible to participate in the Invest in Kids program. This list will be used by the Department to determine the calculations for the geographic distribution of the credits throughout the five regions.

Qualified schools that accept Invest in Kids scholarship students must:

  • provide to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO), upon request but no later than April 1 of each year, all documentation required for the student’s participation, including the necessary cost and fees; and 
  • be academically accountable to the student's custodian for meeting the educational needs of the student by, at a minimum, annually:
    • provide the custodian a written explanation of the student’s progress, and
    • administer assessments required by the Act.

Visit ISBE’s website for more information regarding the requirements to become a recognized school.

Click here for a list of focus districts under the Invest in Kids Act.

Eligible Students

An eligible student is a member of a household whose federal adjusted gross income the year before he or she initially receives a scholarship under this program, as determined by the Department, 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.

For the 2022-2023 school year, the federal poverty guidelines are:

Household Size 100% 185% 250% 300% 400%
3 $21,960
4 $26,500
5 $31,040
7 $40,120
8 $44,660

(released Feb. 1, 2021)

For the 2023-2024 school year, the federal poverty guidelines are:

Household Size
1 $13,590 $25,142 $33,975 $40,770 $54,360
2 $18,310 $33,874 $45,775 $54,930 $73,240
3 $23,030 $42,606 $57,575 $69,090 $92,120
4 $27,750 $51,338 $69,375 $83,250 $111,000
5 $32,470 $60,070 $81,175 $97,410 $129,880
$37,190 $68,802 $92,975 $111,570 $148,760
7 $41,910 $77,534 $104,775 $125,730 $167,640
8 $46,630 $86,266 $116,575
$139,890 $186,520

(released January 12, 2022)

In addition, the student:

  • must be eligible to attend a public elementary school or high school in Illinois the semester immediately preceding the semester for which he or she first receives a scholarship, or
  • is starting school in Illinois for the first time when he or she first receives a scholarship.

For more information on federal poverty levels, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.