Education Options in the States: State Programs That Provide Financial Assistance for Attendance at Private Elementary or Secondary Schools
Revised February 2009
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10. Illinois—Education Expenses Credit

Program type: Tax credits to parents for education expenses

Description: Parents of students in qualified schools may receive Illinois tax credits for qualified education expenses. Qualified expenses are the amounts paid in excess of $250 for tuition, book fees, and lab fees. A qualified school is any public, private, or home school in Illinois that satisfies the compulsory school age requirements as described in §26-1 of the Illinois School Code.

Amount of assistance: The amount of credit allowed is 25 percent of the amount expended in excess of $250 and may not exceed $500 annually. (To reach the $500 credit maximum, education expenses must be at least $2,250.)

Number of participants: In the 2007 taxable year, 238,119 taxpayers claimed credits worth an average of $295.

Authorizing statute: 35 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/201

Legislative history: The tax credit program was signed into law in 1999 and first implemented in the 2000 taxable year.

Judicial history: In December 1999, an Illinois circuit court (for Franklin County) dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the program (Griffith v. Bower). In April 2000, another Illinois circuit court (for Sangamon County) dismissed a second, similar suit (Toney v. Bower). The Illinois Supreme Court declined to review either case, allowing appellate affirmations of the circuit court rulings to stand.

For more information, see:

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Last Modified: 04/30/2009