Dr. Esther White
Last school year, over $15,000 in scholarships from this program went to BJA students. So far this school year it appears over $90,000 has been committed to BJA students through scholarships and tax credits. We are hopeful that the final amount for this school year will be well over $100,000.
One component of the ECENC program enables parents of qualifying students who attend a qualifying school to receive a tax credit for tuition paid for that student. The SC DOR’s website currently indicates that about $3.5 million of the $4 million available for this program remains. I encourage parents who have a student who may qualify for the program to take the time to review both of my previous blogs and the material that I’ve linked to from those blogs to see if there is a fit.
I described the other component of the ECENC program in detail this spring. This enables individual and corporate donors to contribute up to 60 percent of their SC tax liability to special charities which in turn provide scholarships for qualifying students at qualifying schools. The state then credits that entire amount to the donor at tax season. The state has capped this program at $8 million. The program begins each year on July 1, with the state’s new budget year. While in 2014 the cap was met in November, this year the cap was met within several weeks of the beginning of the program--around mid-July. By implication, if you are interested in being a donor for the program in 2016, you will want to plan your giving amount before July 1 and then both make your donation and submit your tax “reservation” form to the SC Department of Revenue (SC DOR) on or very close to that July 1 opening date. I have heard that in some states with similar programs, the cap is met on the first day that the program opens for the new year, and South Carolina seems likely to follow suit.
Earlier this week Mr. Neil Mellen, director of the school-choice advocacy group Access Opportunity SC, spoke to families of BJA students who may qualify for these ECENC programs, explaining both parts of the program in detail. We are grateful to people like Neil who are working for school choice in South Carolina!