The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Pennsylvania - Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program

Enacted 2012 • Launched 2012 • Tax-Credit Scholarship

Pennsylvania provides tax credits for corporate contributions to Scholarship Organizations (SOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. A company may claim a tax credit worth 75 percent of its contribution (90 percent if it commits to the same amount for two consecutive years). Tax credits are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The total funding amount of tax credits is capped at $50 million. SOs also are required to give preference to students who received scholarships the previous year, those eligible for free and reduced-price lunch (FRL), and FRL students in certain school districts (a “first class” school district, a district with more than 7,500 students that receives an advance of its basic education subsidy, or a school district that has both received an advance of its subsidy and is either in financial distress or is involved in a school finance lawsuit against the state).

Latest Stats (2012-13)

  • Students participating: N.A.
  • Schools participating: N.A.
  • Scholarship organizations: N.A.
  • Average scholarship value: N.A.

Program Details

Student Funding
SOs determine the amount of scholarships, which are capped at $8,500 for non-disabled students ($15,000 for students with disabilities), or the amount of tuition and fees, whichever is less. Public school boards also are allowed to set up tuition grant programs that allow students to attend a public or private school. For private schools under such programs, the tuition grant is limited to the state’s per-pupil subsidy amount.

Student Eligibility
Students must live in a “low-achieving” school zone, with low-achieving defined as the state’s bottom 15 percent of public schools based on standardized test scores. Also, children are eligible only if their household incomes are less than $75,000 plus $15,000 for each child in the family. Income limitations multiply for students with certain disabilities. Starting July 1, 2014, those levels increase to account for inflation.

Legal Developments
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: $75,000 + $15,000/child
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: Statewide
• Enrollment Cap: None
• Scholarship Cap: $8,500 / $15,000 (special needs)
• Testing Mandates: None
• Credit Value: 75 percent / 90 percent
• Total Credit Cap: Yes
• Budget Cap: $50 million

Governing Statutes
Pa. Tax Reform Code of 1971, Article XVII-G.1 §§ 1701-G.1 to 1712-G.1

Friedman Contact
Stephanie Linn | stephanie@edchoice.org

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