Kansas - Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program

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Kansas – Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program

Kansas – Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program

The Kansas Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program—a tax-credit scholarship program—was enacted in 2014 and launched in 2015, making it Kansas’s first school choice program. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations and more.

Program Fast Facts

  • Kansas’s first private school choice program

  • Limited to low-income families in “lowest-performing” public schools

  • 369 students participating (2018–19)

  • 7 percent of students eligible statewide

  • 9 participating scholarship organizations (2018–19)

  • 114 participating schools (2018–19)

  • Average scholarship value: $4,058 (2018–19)

  • Value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 37 percent

Program Details

Kansas’s Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Click the + symbols to learn more about this program’s details.

Kansas offers tax credits to individuals and businesses supporting Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships to low-income students in the 100 lowest-performing public schools as defined by the state.

Student Funding

Each SGO determines the amount of the scholarships it distributes, but no scholarship amount can exceed the cost of tuition, fees, expenses and transportation by a qualified school. The maximum scholarship amount is $8,000.

Student Eligibility

Children are eligible to receive scholarships if their family income does not exceed 100 percent of the guidelines needed to qualify for the free lunch program ($33,475 for a family of four in 2019–20). They also must be assigned to one of Kansas’s 100 lowest-performing schools as defined by the state’s board of education. Children must be between ages 5 and 21 to participate. In addition, children must have been enrolled in any public school the previous school year, unless the child is younger than 6.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Kansas’s tax-credit scholarship program’s $8,000 maximum scholarship amount is high enough to provide even the poorest families with access to almost all private schools in Kansas, yet it provides enough flexibility for each SGO to determine the needs of their individual students. The program also avoids unnecessary regulations on private schools. However, the legislature should expand eligibility requirements to serve more students. By removing the “lowest-performing schools” requirement, this program would be simpler for parents to ascertain eligibility and for private schools to effectively reach students. Second, any increase in the income requirement would exponentially expand the program to even more families. A simple extension of families up to 185 percent of the federal poverty limit or even higher would make scholarships available to an even greater number of low-income families.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: 130 percent x Poverty
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
  • Geographic Limit: Limited to 100 lowest-performing schools statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Scholarship Cap: $8,000
  • Testing Mandates: None
  • Credit Value: 70 percent
  • Total Credit Cap: $500,000
  • Budget Cap: $10 million


SGO Requirements:

  • Use at least 90 percent of contributions for scholarships within 36 months of receiving the contributions
  • Issue a receipt prescribed by the Secretary of Revenue to any contributing taxpayer
  • Receive written verification from the state board of education that a student is eligible prior to awarding an educational scholarship to students previously enrolled in a public school
  • Report to the state board of education all students that receive a scholarship
  • Provide the state board of education a surety bond or financial information demonstrating the SGO’s ability to pay the amount expected to be received during the school year if the SGO exceeds $50,000 in donations
  • Ensure that qualified schools that receive scholarships are in compliance with the requirements of the program
  • Have its accounts examined and audited by a certified public accountant at the end of the calendar year
  • for verification that the education scholarships that were awarded were distributed to eligible students
  • and file a copy of the audit with the state board of education
  • Submit annually to the state (via a report approved by a certified public accountant):
    • Names and addresses of eligible students receiving an educational scholarship by the SGO
    • Total number and dollar amount of contributions received during the preceding 12-month period
    • Total number and dollar amount of educational scholarships awarded the preceding 12-month period to eligible students

Governing Statutes

K.S.A. §§ 72-453 through 457

Legal History

No legal challenges have been filed against this program.

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