After a false start on Feb. 1, Empower Illinois is once again accepting scholarship applications.
Citing what it called “extreme demand” that crashed its computers on Feb. 1, Empower Illinois said in a Feb. 19 media release that “our system has been enhanced to make it easier for families and to manage the demand expected for tax credit scholarships to private schools throughout Illinois.”
Empower Illinois is one of the scholarship granting organizations (SGO) that was created with the passage of the Invest in Kids Act by the General Assembly last summer. Individuals and corporations can receive up to a 75 percent state income tax credit for making donations for scholarships to private schools — Catholic or otherwise — in Illinois. Approximately $40.6 million remains in the pool of money the SGOs can distribute.
“I encourage anyone wishing to make a donation to help students at their school to consider this option,” said Shaun Riedell, director of the Office for Development at the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.
Applications are available at the diocesan website www.dio.org or the Empower Illinois website at https://empowerillinois.org and is now a two-step process:
1. Reserve: Families complete a brief online form containing name and contact information, child name and preferred school. This will time stamp the application for the first-come, first-served scholarships.
2. Apply: After reserving a place in line, families will be emailed a unique link and use their reservation code to complete the application. Applications will be sent on a rolling basis, over the course of a few weeks. After receiving the application email, families will have three days to complete the application and submit all required documents.
“Our goal … is to make it easier for families and provide more time to ensure your application is accurate and complete,” officials of Empower Illinois said in their media release.
Empower Illinois stresses that families should reserve and apply regardless of how far they may have gotten through on its original application. More information, including helpful documents, FAQs and instructions, can be found at https://empowerillinois.org.