Last year nearly 20 families in the community had their children awarded STC scholarships by Big Shoulders Fund (BSF). This is aside from the hundreds of students awarded by Empower Illinois.

This year, the BSF application will officially go live on:

Tuesday, January 22 at 8:00 AM

You’re welcome to apply from home or anywhere with an internet connection!
Just make sure you have all required documents ready to upload.

Important note: Last year the BSF application went live before the announced time.
We therefore recommend all families be seated in front of a computer and ready by:7:30 AM.

There is a lot of helpful information on the Big Shoulders website which can assist you in preparing for the “go-live” date. To visit their website, please click the button below:

BSF’s Video Tutorial is a particularly valuable tool as it’s a clear, step by step, six-minute walkthrough of exactly what to expect on the application. Click below to watch it:

There are several important differences between the BSF application and that of Empower Illinois. Some notable differences are:

  • The entire application must be finished in one session.
  • For proof of address, BSF will not accept tax returns or income-related documents, but rather a utility bill, driver’s license, or the like is required. Applicants will need to prepare proof of address in digital format in advance.
  • For proof of income, BSF only requires page 1 of your Federal tax return Form 1040.
  • BSF only accepts form 1040 as proof of 2017 income, no other forms are accepted. They will, however accept a sworn statement that an applicant did not file taxes in 2017.
  • Documentation is required for English Language Learner status, but is not required to prove the student was awarded a scholarship in 2018-2019. This documentation is NOT required at the time of the application, but will be required later if you indicate ELL or Gifted.
  • You must know your public school district. Anyone living in Chicago should select “City of Chicago SD 299 (Chicago Public Schools)”.
  • This information is subject to change. Please go through all of the materials to best prepare yourself.

Applying to BSF at Pharmore

If you reserved a computer at Pharmore for the BSF application after Phase I, please note:

  • Be sure to arrive before 7:30 AM on Tuesday 1/22 to give you time to settle in
  • Parents can either bring required Big Shoulders documents on a flash drive or come early and download them from their personal email or cloud storage service.
  • Any parent who wants to scan paper documents at Pharmore and save them on a USB for Big Shoulders needs to do it during their appointment of Phase II. There will be no opportunity to scan paper docs on Tuesday 1/22


Feel free to email with any questions.