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Education

Fund Catholic Education scholarships and receive tax credit

SPONSORED

In August 2017, with bipartisan support, the Illinois House and Senate passed a comprehensive education funding bill that was signed into law by the governor.

The bill included a five-year Invest in Kids Act, which funds tax credit scholarships for low-income students in private schools, including the 54 Diocese of Joliet Catholic elementary and high schools.

This provides donors a unique opportunity to fund scholarships for children who attend Illinois Catholic schools, while reducing their own tax bill on dollars otherwise owed to the state. Scholarships offered through this program have the potential to cover up to 100 percent of tuition for a year at Diocese of Joliet Catholic Schools. Not surprisingly, affordability is a major factor that keeps interested families from enrolling their children in Catholic schools, where average tuition at the elementary level is nearly $4,500.

For donors, the Act provides a 75 percent Illinois state income tax credit for contributions made to a non-profit Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO). To take advantage of the tax credit, donors must first register on the Illinois Department of Revenue website at www.mytax.illinois.gov. Donors then “pledge” to give a tax credit scholarship, up to a maximum of $1.3 million. When a contribution to the SGO has been processed, the donor will receive a state income tax credit – not a deduction- worth 75 percent of the contribution. This means that if a donor contributes $10,000, he or she will receive a state tax credit of $7,500. Individual donors may direct their donations to a specific school or to the Diocese of Joliet, where it will go to students who need it most.

Thanks to donors contributing in 2019 through the Invest in Kids Act, more than 460 students have received a tax credit scholarship for the 2019-20 school year. However, the need far outweighs available scholarship funds. More than 2,000 students who applied for a scholarship to attend a Diocese of Joliet Catholic School did not receive funding.

Donors who would like to receive the tax credit for their 2019 taxes should begin the process prior to Dec. 16, to ensure that that they have enough time to make their gift by Dec. 31.

Interested in donating? Contact Mercy Robb in the Catholic Schools Office at mrobb@dioceseofjoliet.org or (815) 221-6124 for assistance.

Catholic Education Foundation : 815.221.6127 : 16555 Weber Road, Crest Hill, IL 60403: http://cefjoliet.org/