Illinois

Tax Credits for Educational Expenses

  • Individual Tax Credit/Deduction
  • Enacted 1999
  • Launched 2000

Illinois allows individuals to claim a credit for educational expenses for dependent students attending a public, private or home school. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations, legal history and more.

We do not administer this program.

  • 265,605

    Participating Taxpayers (2018)

  • 98%

    Percent of Taxpaying Families with K-12 Children Eligible Statewide

  • $244

    Average Tax Credit Value (2018)

  • 1%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Illinois’s Tax Credits for Educational Expenses Participation

Tax Returns Claiming Credit
Tax Year

Student Funding

Parents receive a tax credit worth 25 percent of their K–12 expenditures after the first $250 spent, up to a maximum credit of $750 per family. To get the maximum $750 credit, parents must spend $3,250 on educational expenses; they also must have a state tax liability of at least $750 because the credit is nonrefundable and thus cannot reduce an individual’s tax burden to less than zero.

Student Eligibility

Educational expenses must be used for students who are residents of Illinois, who are younger than 21 and attend kindergarten through 12th grade in a public, private or home school in Illinois. Qualified expenses include tuition, books and lab or activity fees. Beginning in 2018, the state imposed an income limit for the tax credit. Married families with a federal Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) exceeding $500,000, as well as non-married families with an AGI of $250,000, are no longer eligible for the credit.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

The Illinois individual tax credit program deserves credit for being accessible to most students statewide and avoiding any unnecessary regulations on private schools. Unfortunately, participants have very little funding power because the tax credits are capped at just $750 and cover only 25 percent of education expenses. Illinois could improve this program dramatically by raising the tax credit to at least the state’s average per-pupil expenditures in public schools, increasing the tax credit value to 100 percent of educational expenditures and providing a refundable credit (similar to Alabama’s) so that lower-income families can participate.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: $500,000 (married); $250,000 (single)
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Credit Value: 25%
  • Taxpayer Credit Cap: $750
  • Testing Mandates: None

Parent Requirements

  • Parents must ensure students are residents of Illinois, under the age of 21 at the close of the school year and were full-time pupils in grades K–12 in any qualifying public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school

Governing Statutes

35 ILCS5/201(m)

Tax Credits for Educational Expenses State Groups

That Support School Choice

Empower Illinois works to expand quality educational options through research, policy and advocacy initiatives.

The Illinois Department of Education approved a list of organizations that provide students private school scholarships.