INDIANAPOLIS—EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, released the following statement today following South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s announcement of SAFE Grants, a scholarship program that will empower working and low-income families with access to an educational environment of their choice. The statement can be attributed to EdChoice President and CEO Robert Enlow.
“Gov. McMaster is putting families first during these difficult times. His SAFE Grants program will offer stability to working and low-income families by empowering them to access to educational choice.
“This innovative use of federal funds means students will be able to stay in their schools of choice while others may have access for the first time to educational opportunities that were previously out of reach. This also will help public schools that can ill afford to pay even more for students who would have to transfer back into that system if they lose access to their private school.
“Our research has shown that 99 percent of South Carolina families live within a 30-minute drive of a private school, and 93 percent who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch live within a 20-minute drive. The biggest obstacle to access is cost, and this program helps clear that hurdle.
“EdChoice congratulates the Governor and all of those in the state who have worked hard to bring this program to fruition. The fight for educational freedom is a top priority for families across our nation and in South Carolina, and this program is a huge step in the right direction.”
SAFE Grants are funded through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund as part of the federal CARES Act. Governor McMaster has dedicated up to $32 million of the GEER Funds for SAFE Grants.
South Carolina families with a household adjusted gross income of 300 percent or less of the federal poverty level (FPL) may apply for a SAFE Grant. For a family of four that is an adjusted gross income of $78,600 or less. The maximum value of a SAFE Scholarship is $6,500 per student.
Private and Independent schools can apply to participate in the SAFE Grant program. Schools will need to verify basic legal, educational, and accountability requirements.