Education Tax Credit Program
- Tax-Credit Scholarship
- Enacted 2012
- Launched 2013
The New Hampshire Education Tax Credit Program offers tax credits to businesses and individuals supporting scholarship organizations (SOs)—nonprofits that provide private school scholarships or home school support to students in need. Families who meet the income requirements can receive scholarships they may use towards private schooling, tutoring, online learning, classes at colleges or universities and/or homeschooling expenses. Learn more about this tax-credit scholarship program, including average scholarship value, rules and regulations, on this page.
We do not administer this program.
Participating Students (2020-21)
of Families with Children Income-eligible Statewide
Scholarship Organizations (2020-21)
Participating Schools (2020-21)
Average Scholarship Value (2020-21)
Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending
New Hampshire’s Education Tax Credit Program Participation
Individuals subject to New Hampshire’s interest and dividends tax and businesses may receive 85 percent tax credits for donations to scholarship organizations (SOs). The average value of all non-homeschooling scholarships an SO awards cannot exceed $2,882 in 2020–21, except for students with special needs, whose scholarships cannot be less than $5,043. That amount is adjusted each year to reflect the changes in the Consumer Price Index. Homeschooling students may receive reimbursements for educational expenses.
Students must be between ages 5 and 20 and come from households where family income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($78,600 for a family of four in 2020–21). In the first two years of the program, scholarship organizations were required to award 70 percent of scholarship funds to students who previously attended a public school (“switchers”) or to switchers who already received a scholarship. However, beginning in the third year, the percentage of required switchers reduced by 5 percent each year. In 2020–21, the program will require at least 35 percent of scholarship recipients to be switchers. Additionally, at least 40 percent of the total scholarships SOs award must be given to students who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program.
EdChoice Expert Feedback
New Hampshire’s tax-credit scholarship program helps hundreds of students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity.
Eligibility for the scholarships is limited to 300 percent of the federal poverty line. Only 31 percent of New Hampshire students are eligible for a scholarship and only 0.4 percent of students statewide actually use a scholarship or participate in the Granite State’s town tuitioning program.
The average scholarship size is about $2,800, which is about 16 percent of the average expenditure per student at New Hampshire’s district schools, though the cap on scholarship values is somewhat higher. Tax credits are worth 85 percent of the value of the contributions to scholarship organizations. Only $5.1 million in tax credits are available annually, which is equivalent to only 0.16 percent of New Hampshire’s total K–12 revenue.
New Hampshire’s tax-credit scholarship program deserves credit for being the most expansive in the nation in terms of how parents may use scholarship funds to customize their child’s education. It more closely resembles education savings accounts than other tax-credit scholarship programs. The program also avoids unnecessarily burdensome school regulations.
In order to expand access to educational choice, New Hampshire policymakers should dramatically increase the available tax credits and expand eligibility to all students (prioritizing scholarships based on need). Increasing the credit value to attract more contributions and restoring the “escalator” that allowed the cap to increase over time to meet demand would be a good start.
Rules and Regulations
- Income Limit: 300 percent x Poverty
- Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes
- Geographic Limit: Statewide
- Enrollment Cap: None
- Scholarship Cap: $2,882, on average / $5,043 (special needs minimum)
- Testing Mandates: None
- Credit Value: 85 percent
- Per Donor Credit Cap: $600,000
- Budget Cap: $5.1 million
- Use at least 90 percent of contributions for scholarships
- Comply with state and federal antidiscrimination and privacy laws
- Be registered with the state director of charitable trusts
- Be approved by the state
- In awarding scholarships to students who attended public school, who received a scholarship the previous year, or who are entering kindergarten or first grade, award at least 40 percent of scholarships to students who qualified for free and reduced-price lunch in the final year they were in public school
- Refrain from restricting scholarships for use at a single school and reserving scholarships for specific students
- Submit to the state:
- Total number and dollar amount of scholarships awarded and the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch for each of the student eligibility categories
- Total dollar amount of donations spent on administrative expenses
- Total carryover dollar amount
- Total dollar amount of contributions used and not used for scholarships
- Number of scholarships distributed per school and the dollar range of those scholarships
- Analysis, by ZIP Code, of the place of residence for each student that receives a scholarship
- Aggregated results of a parental satisfaction survey, designed by the state
- Number of students who graduated and the number who dropped out of school
On August 28, 2014, the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the state’s tax-credit scholarship program. This case positioned individuals represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) against the state’s new tax-credit scholarship program. In the decision, the court dismissed the lawsuit due to lack of standing by the defendants; the court reasoned they were unable to show harm caused by the program. The justices overturned a previous lower court ruling, which disallowed scholarships to schools that were religiously affiliated. Duncan v. State, 102 A.3d 913 (N.H. 2014)
Education Tax Credit Program State Groups
That Support School Choice
Children’s Scholarship Fund New Hampshire provides scholarships to empower low-income New Hampshire families to choose the schools that best fit their children’s needs, regardless of their income or ZIP Code.