Illinois makes it official, now 26th private school choice state

Illinois is now the eighteenth state to offer tax credit scholarships that will help low- and middle-income families pay private school tuition. It’s also the largest blue state in the school choice family.

Gov. Bruce Rauner made it official today when he signed bipartisan school funding legislation.

Observers like the Wall Street Journal have credited Rauner, a Republican with striking the deal that made it happen. The American Federation for Children circulated his statement.

For far too long, too many low-income students in our state have been trapped in underfunded, failing schools. The system needed to change. We have put aside our differences and put our kids first. I want Illinois to be the No. 1 state in the nation for education. Nothing is more important than educating our children.

The program will offer up to $75 million in tax credits to fund up to $100 million in scholarships a year. The program will be open to families with incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $73,800 for a family of four. They’ll be able to keep their scholarships as long as their incomes remain below 400 percent of the poverty level.

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BY Travis Pillow

Travis Pillow is Director of Thought Leadership at Step Up For Students and editor of NextSteps. He lives in Sanford, Fla. with his wife and two children. A former Tallahassee statehouse reporter, he most recently worked at the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a research organization at Arizona State University, where he studied community-led learning innovation and school systems' responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. He can be reached at tpillow (at)