Tax Credit Scholarships

Wheaton Academy receives generous donations through the scholarship granting organization (SGO), Empower Illinois. We are excited to partner with Empower IL as another way to make private Christian high school affordable to families.

These significant scholarships do require additional steps to the financial aid application process, but we want to make the process as easy as possible for your family. 

If you qualify, please complete all steps listed below. 

As you complete the process, please feel free to call 630-562-7515 or email Patrick Brooke at pbrooke@wheatonacademy.org with any questions or concerns.

Tax credit scholarships applications are currently not open for the 2023-2024 school year—Empower IL reservation and application process opens January 18, 2023. 

Step 1: Fill out the Blackbaud Financial Aid Application and upload supporting documentation

  • To be considered for a tax-credit scholarship for the 2023-2024 school year, we first require your family to apply through the Blackbaud Financial Aid application. 
  • Once you complete the application, you must upload the following documentation:
    1. Most recent tax return 
    2. Most recent pay stubs
    3. W-2s
  • Then, please confirm receipt of the Blackbaud Financial Aid application.

Please note that Blckbaud Financial Aid takes about two weeks to process finished applications and verify submitted documentation. 

Step 2: Wait, and then reserve your spot through Empower Illinois starting January 18, 2022

To apply for a tax credit scholarship through Empower IL, you must first reserve your spot in the application queue. Reservations open on January 18, 2022 at 6:30pm.

In the meantime, the Wheaton Academy Business Office will use the information from your family’s completed Blackbaud Financial Aid application to pre-screen your family’s possible qualification for a 2023-2024 tax credit scholarship.

Before the Empower IL application process opens, the Business Office will notify your family of the appropriate steps to take to reserve your spot to apply for the Empower IL tax credit scholarship.

Step 3: Apply through Empower Illinois

Once you have made your reservation, you will receive an email from Empower IL inviting you to apply.

Step 4: Receive Your Scholarship Award

The Wheaton Academy Financial Aid Committee will then issue financial aid award decisions to families beginning in February. This timing mirrors the start of tax credit scholarship awarding.

However, Empower IL exclusively determines the timing and prioritization of tax credit scholarship awards. The Committee will work closely with our representatives from Empower IL to learn of their timing and awarding.

Award decisions will be issued to your family through the Empower IL award portal. Should your family qualify for a tax credit scholarship, your family will need to accept the scholarship as soon as possible.

Award Timeline

Please note: Awards are distributed as funds are available. There may be a season of a financial aid waitpool for families, even after awards begin to be issued. Thanks in advance for your patience should this possibility become a reality. 

Priority Families
  • Returning students
  • Students at 185% or below of the published poverty level
  • Siblings of students who have received a scholarship previously

Priority families can expect to receive an award as early as February 15. Awards will be announced on a rolling basis.

Other Families

Families who do not meet the priority criteria can expect to receive an award as early as April 15. Awards will be announced on a rolling basis.

Questions?

Illinois passed the Invest In Kids (IIK) Act in 2018. Now, Illinois taxpayers are able to make contributions to IIK and receive a 75% income tax credit. 95% of these contributions are then designated by the contributor to private schools, such as Wheaton Academy, through partnering organizations. Then, IIK provides scholarships for qualifying students and expanded school choice for Illinois families. If your family’s income level is at or below the 300% poverty level, you may qualify for a scholarship through Invest In Kids.

Click here to check if you qualify.

Please review the “How Do I Apply?” information on Empower IL’s website. It provides a clear overview with infographics and downloadable resources. 

We require families to complete both applications to ensure the best possible financial aid award for your family. In the event that more families apply for tax-credit scholarships than funds available, your family’s completed Blackbaud application will allow our Financial Aid Committee to immediately explore other avenues of funding. Additionally, the pre-screening made possible through a completed Blackbaud application greatly aids the Business Office’s provided guidance.

This year, Wheaton Academy streamlined the donation process through Empower IL to make the process simpler. We therefore request that your family does not apply for a scholarship through Children’s Tuition Fund for the 2023-2024 school year. This change should not decrease the total funds available to families; it will just centralize our ability to efficiently distribute funds.

While students who qualified and applied for tax credit scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year received one after being accepted and enrolled at Wheaton Academy, we cannot guarantee the same this currently year. Funds are reserved on a first come, first-served basis. We encourage you to apply as early as you are able.

Wheaton Academy is committed to ensuring that the middle and upper-middle class are represented in our student body. If you do not qualify for a Tax Credit Scholarship, you may still be eligible for an award through our other aid offerings. By filling out the Blackbaud Financial Aid application, you will be considered for financial assistance through Wheaton Academy.