Parents and Students

UPDATE 4.27.18: To date, Big Shoulders Fund has awarded approximately 6.8 million dollars in Tax Credit Scholarships to more than 1,100 students. The Tax Credit Scholarship Program allows donors to restrict their contribution to a particular school or subset of schools, and after exhausting available funding to award scholarships there is remaining funding available for several specific schools. Due to this remaining donor-restricted funding, we will re-open applications ONLY for families interested in attending the following schools: St. Bede the Venerable, St. Francis de Sales High School, St. James Arlington Heights, St. Joseph Libertyville, Josephinum Academy, Leo High School, Most Blessed Trinity, and Village Leadership Academy.

Applications will open on April 30, 2018 at 10 am. Because of the limited funding available for these schools, the application will close on May 1, 2018 at 10 pm. 

Click here to apply!



Thank you to all the families who submitted applications to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Big Shoulders Fund received more than 12,000 applications, reflecting tremendous demand and need for educational opportunity.

As the number of applications increased, it was apparent that the demand outweighed our current ability to award Tax Credit Scholarships; therefore, we proactively chose to suspend our application at 11:59pm on January 23, 2018. We communicated the decision to suspend our application in advance via our website, email, and social media channels to give families as much notice as possible.

As required by the Illinois Invest In Kids Act, we will notify everyone in Priority Group 1 within 10 business days after the receipt of application. All applicants in Priority Group 1 will receive an email response no later than Monday, February 5, 2018. Applicants in Priority Group 2 will be notified at a later date.  Additional information is provided at


Choose Big Shoulders Fund Schools

Generations of families from many different backgrounds and faiths entrust their children’s education to Chicago’s many wonderful Catholic schools.

So why should your family do the same?

Big Shoulders Fund schools are safe and family-oriented. We offer extended day programs before and after school for working families, and our schools succeed in helping students achieve their maximum academic potential. You are welcome to come and visit any of the schools we support to see first-hand the culture of success that our students and their families experience every day.

Families interested in sending their child to one of our schools can apply for one of our many scholarship programs. We now have two different types of scholarship programs.

The first is our traditional, privately funded group of programs which we have been providing to families for many years. There are a wide variety of scholarships available with differing requirements. You can only apply for these scholarships through a school. Please contact the principal of your local Big Shoulders Fund school to discuss your scholarship eligibility and the application process for these programs.

Beginning in 2018, we are excited to announce that Big Shoulders Fund will add a new type of scholarship program. We have been approved to operate as a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) under the recently passed Illinois Invest in Kids Act. An SGO is a tax-exempt charity approved by the Illinois Department of Revenue to administer scholarship dollars donated specifically for this program. Donors receive a tax credit for their contribution, rather than a charitable tax deduction. This new Tax Credit Scholarship Program provides an additional source of funding for scholarships that can benefit eligible students enrolled in, or applying to, qualified non-public schools, including the schools traditionally supported by the Big Shoulders Fund. Families apply directly to SGOs to obtain a tax credit scholarship. Scholarships are determined solely based on eligibility and family income as defined by the Invest in Kids Act. Payments are made to the scholarship recipients’ schools on their behalf. Please visit for more information about eligibility requirements and the application process.