The scholarship part of the ECENC allows a business or individual to donate up to 60 percent of his/her tax liability to a scholarship funding organization (SFO), which in turn presents scholarships to qualifying students who attend qualifying schools. That business or individual who gave the gift receives credit for it on South Carolina taxes due, so the taxes are reduced by that amount. In essence, the contributor is able to support school choice at no cost to himself. In the last two years, Academy students have received $36,000 for tuition through this program. We anticipate that additional scholarships will be awarded this fall. If you have not participated in this program in the past, would you consider doing it this year? Your participation not only benefits students and families but also expresses to the legislature that you are interested in school choice, encouraging them to broaden school choice opportunity in South Carolina.
The parental tuition tax credit allows parents of qualifying students to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for the money they spent on tuition. Though I don’t know exactly how many of our parents of qualifying students have taken advantage of this opportunity, indications are that at least 20 families received back through this program’s parental tax credit every dollar of their qualifying student’s tuition. As with the scholarship portion, participation by parents of qualifying students communicates to the legislature the interest that South Carolina parents have in school choice.
Students who qualify for the ECENC program are often in BJA’s Learning Resource Center program or speech therapy. However, other disabilities can qualify a student for the scholarship. I have been sending email updates to families of students in these categories. If you believe your student may qualify but you have not been receiving these email updates, please feel free to discuss your student’s situation with me or ask to be added to my email list.
Detailed information about the ECENC is available here. In addition, again this year we are hosting a meeting about the ECENC. It will be held on Tuesday, August 16, at 7 p.m. in the Academy Auditorium. Mr. Neil Mellen, of Access Opportunity South Carolina, will present details about the program and answer any questions families may have.