The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

School Choice in Illinois


Illinois has one private school choice program (individual tax credits). The state also has a charter school law. Illinois allows for limited public virtual schooling. Limited open enrollment exists, only for intradistrict public school choice.

Laws and Regulations Governing Private Schools


Both tax credit and voucher programs are school choice options for Illinois. In the most recent cases, Illinois’ tax credit program was upheld from challenges under both the Establishment Clause and Illinois’ religion clauses. Two state appellate courts upheld the program in Toney and Griffith, and the Illinois Supreme Court let those decisions stand without reviewing them.

The Illinois Constitution contains both a Compelled Support Clause and a Blaine Amendment, but the Illinois Supreme Court has only found direct, unrestricted payments of public funds to religious schools unconstitutional. It approved the transportation of private school students at public expense and the use of public funds to pay for childcare services at religious institutions. In Board of Education v. Bakalis and Trost v. Ketteler Manual Training School, the Illinois Supreme Court permitted some public support for children attending religious schools, which suggests the court understands that such aid supports children, not schools.

–Quote from the Institute for Justice (April 2007)

School Choice Programs

Tax Credits for Educational Expenses

Enacted 1999 • Launched 2000

Illinois allows individuals to claim a credit for educational expenses for dependent students attending a private or public school or being homeschooled. Qualified expenses include tuition, books, and lab or activity fees. The credit is worth a maximum... Read More


The School Starter Checklist: Meeting the Private Education Regulations in States with School Choice


Entrepreneurs looking to start a private school might behoove themselves by focusing on states with private school choice programs. This checklist assists by examining the regulations affecting private schools in states with such programs.   This... Read More



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