As a parent, it can be difficult to know what is best for your children. Parents worry about their child’s safety in school and the quality of education they receive there. But not every family has the financial resources to send their kids to a quality school. Many are left to settle in low-achieving schools due to financial constraints and fewer opportunities. Fortunately, there are scholarships available that parents may qualify for so that their children can go to the school of their choice. One of the best educational programs that parents can look forward to is the Pennsylvania Opportunity Scholarship Tax-Credit (OSTC) program.
In this article, we will discuss the eligibility requirements for this program, guidelines for parents, and more.
What is the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program?
The Opportunity Scholarship Tax-Credit Program is a program that enables students to attend another public or non-public school if their local school is categorized as a low-achieving school. The program was created according to Act 85 of 2012 and grants scholarships to eligible children for them to get a better education than what they would have at the current institution.
A low-achieving school is defined as a public elementary or secondary school within Pennsylvania that ranked in the lowest 15% of its designation based on combined Mathematics/Algebra I and Reading/Literature scores from annual assessments (PASA, PSSA, Keystone).
If you want to know if your child’s school is a low-achieving school, you can visit the Department of Education’s website to see the list. To view, just click on the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program icon.
What are the qualifications and where do I apply for this program?
For new students and students already attending non-public schools to qualify for the OSTC program, there are income and geographic requirements that need to be met.
- Students must be residing within the attendance radius of a low-achieving school. This is determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- The household’s annual income does not exceed $92,160 Plus $16,222 for each dependent child in the household.
If you are a parent and your family meets these requirements, you can apply for a scholarship directly with the school.
How much support can my child get from this program?
Once your student is approved for a scholarship, the funds are allocated based on the actual tuition and other fees. For non-special education students, the maximum scholarship award given is $8,500. The scholarship funds are sent directly to the school of your choice which will be used for tuition and other school related fees charged by the school in which your child is enrolled.
The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program has provided scholarships for students that would have otherwise been unable to afford a better education. This is also beneficial to businesses and individual taxpayers. A business can receive a 75% tax credit on donations they made to non-profit organizations, and they even get it up to 90% if they commit to donating for two consecutive years. This program is one of the many ways Pennsylvania strives to provide quality opportunities for all citizens, and it’s working!