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.

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 in 2017-2018” on the Board’s website. Students can chose 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 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:
    • providing the custodian a written explanation of the student’s progress, and
    • administering 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 IDOR approved Scholarship Granting Organizations.

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.

As of Dec. 1, 2017, the federal poverty guidelines are:

Household Size 100% 185% 250% 300% 400%
1 $12,060 $22,311 $30,150 $36,180 $48,240
2 $16,240 $30,044 $40,600 $48,720 $64,960
3 $20,420 $37,777 $51,050 $61,260 $81,680
4 $24,600 $45,510 $61,500 $73,800 $98,400
5 $28,780 $53,243 $71,950 $86,340 $115,120
6 $32,960 $60,976 $82,400 $98,880 $131,840
7 $37,140 $68,709 $92,850 $111,420 $148,560
8 $41,320 $76,442 $103,300 $123,960 $165,280

In addition, the student:

  • must be eligible to attend a public elementary school or high school in Illinois in 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.