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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 “failing” public schools

  • 188 students participating (2016–17)

  • 22 percent of students eligible statewide

  • 7 participating scholarship organizations (2016–17)

  • 90 participating schools (2016–17)

  • Average scholarship value: $1,693 (2016–17)

  • Value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 17 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’ Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program allows corporations to claim a 70 percent tax credit for contributions to approved scholarship-granting organizations (SGOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. There is no limit on the dollar amount of the tax credit that can be claimed, although the total amount of tax credits awarded statewide is limited to $10 million.

Student Funding

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

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 ($31,590 for a family of four in 2016–17); they also must be assigned to a Title 1 Focus School or a Title 1 Priority School (“Failing Schools”). 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 fewer than 6 years of age.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Kansas’ 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. However, student eligibility needs to be improved. By removing the “failing 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 Kansans.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: 130 percent x Poverty
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
  • Geographic Limit: Limited to “Failing Schools” statewide
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Scholarship Cap: $8,000
  • Testing Mandates: None
  • Credit Value: 70 percent
  • Total Credit Cap: None
  • Budget Cap: $10 million

 

SGO Requirements:

  • Use at least 90 percent of contributions for scholarships within 36 months of receiving the contributions
  • Must issue a receipt prescribed by the Secretary of Revenue to any contributing taxpayer
  • Must 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 receiving 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 receiving scholarships are in compliance with the requirements of the program
  • At the end of the calendar year, the SGO shall have its accounts examined and audited by a certified public accountant 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. §§ 72-99a01(Supp) through 72-99a07 (Supp); 79-32,138 (Supp)

Legal History

No legal challenges have been filed against this program.

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