Nevada’s Educational Choice Scholarship program was enacted and launched in 2015. The tax-credit scholarship program allows corporations to claim a 100 percent tax credit when they contribute to approved scholarship-granting organizations (SGOs). The SGOs then provide private school scholarships to families who meet the income requirements. Learn more about the program’s funding, eligibility, and regulations on this page.
America’s 19th tax-credit scholarship program
53 percent of families with children income-eligible statewide
1,491 students participating (2019–20)
61 participating schools (2018–19)
6 scholarship granting organizations (2019–20)
Average scholarship award: $6,289 (2019–20)
Average value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 67 percent
Corporations can claim a 100 percent tax credit for contributions to approved Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships, counted against the Modified Business Tax. Taxpayers may carry forward a tax credit under this program for five years. The total amount of tax credits awarded statewide is $11.4 million in 2019–20.
Scholarship amounts are determined by SGOs. The maximum scholarship is worth $8,262 in 2019–20, a limit that increases by the Consumer Price Index increase each year.
All students that receive scholarships under this program must come from families whose household incomes are at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty line ($77,250 for a family of four in 2019–20).
This scholarship program learned from the successes of others before it and has implemented many positive attributes for a school choice program. By including a budget escalator for the tax credit cap year to year, the program will eventually grow to meet demand, and a tax credit of 100 percent per donor will help raise necessary funds for students. Participation likely was affected this school year because of funding uncertainty and regulations interpreted to prevent new applicants. That interpretation was reversed shortly before the 2019 –20 school year. Although this program is still young, it could be broadened to allow for universal access. The program does allow for current private school families to access the fund, a very welcomed addition as there are many families who have sacrificed to put their children in private school already. Additionally, the regulations on the program are sensible and unobtrusive. Schools are allowed to choose the type of nationally norm-referenced test that best aligns with their curriculum and teaching style.
On August 15, 2019, parents represented by the Institute for Justice filed litigation against the State of Nevada, alleging that Senate Bill 458 passed during the 2019 legislative session, which repealed the escalator clause in the state’s tax-credit scholarship program, required a two-thirds vote. Because the bill was passed with a simple majority, it is in violation of Nevada’s constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds vote for any bill or resolution that creates, generates or increases any public revenue in any form. If found to be unconstitutional, the provision repealing the escalator clause in Nevada’s tax-credit scholarship program would be nullified. Morency v. State, District Court, Clark County, Nevada, Case no. A-19-800267-C (2019). Pending.
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