Opportunity Scholarships Act 

  • Tax-Credit Scholarship
  • Enacted 2023
  • Launched 2024

The Opportunity Scholarships Act offers tax credits for individual or corporate contributions to scholarship granting organizations (SGOs), which provide private school scholarships. These nonprofits provide families private school scholarships, with priority given according to need. Learn more about this program’s funding, eligibility, and regulations on this page. 

We do not administer this program. 

Jump Links

  • 1st

    Nebraska’s first educational choice program

  • $5,000

    Initial account value

  • 87%

    Student Eligibility

  • 39%

    Account Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Student Funding

Scholarship amounts are limited to tuition and fees, with the average of all scholarships not to exceed 75 percent of average statewide spending per pupil (about $12,829 in 2022-23). Tax credits are worth the lesser of 100 percent of contributions or 50 percent of the taxpayer’s tax liability, up to an individual credit limit of $100,000. Credits are awarded to companies on a first-come, first-served basis until the cap is reached. For 2024, 2025, and 2026, the tax credit budget cap is $25 million. For 2027 and thereafter, the program has an automatic escalator, where the cap increases by 25% if 90% of credits are issued in the preceding year. 

(Last updated December 18, 2023)  

Student Eligibility

Resident children are eligible for scholarships if they attended a public school for at least one semester during the prior school year. Exceptions to the prior public requirement include: students entering Kindergarten or ninth grade; previous Opportunity Scholarship recipients; and siblings of Opportunity Scholarship recipients who reside in the same household. Scholarships are awarded according to a complex tiered priority system. 

  • First Priority: Previous year scholarship recipients; same-household siblings of scholarship recipients 
  • Second Priority: Students from households at or below 100% FPL (Federal Poverty Limit); students denied under the state’s open enrollment plan; students with an IEP; students experiencing bullying, harassment, or other violence or threats of violence at school; students in foster care; students from military families or whose parent was killed in action 
  • Third Priority: Students from households with income between 100% FPL and 185% FPL 
  • Fourth Priority: Students from households with income between 185% FPL and 213% FPL 
  • Fifth Priority: Students from households with income between 213% FPL and 300% of the income requirement for Federal Reduced Lunch program 


(Last updated December 18, 2023) 

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Nebraska’s Opportunity Scholarships Act could help tens of thousands 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 available to students who attended public school in the prior year, with several exceptions. Almost nine out of ten Nebraska students are eligible for a scholarship. Presently 10 percent of students statewide actually attend a private school.  

The initial scholarship size will be about $5,000, which is only about 39 percent of the average expenditure per student at Nebraska’s district schools. Tax credits are worth the lesser of 100 percent of contributions or 50 percent of the taxpayer’s tax liability, up to an individual credit limit of $100,000, but only $25 million in credits is available, with a 25% automatic escalator after the program’s third year in operation. 

To expand access to educational choice, Nebraska policymakers could increase the per donor credit limit and eliminate the prior public eligibility requirement. The program could also be converted into an education savings account to ensure that all students have access to the education that’s the right fit for them, whether private school or a customized course of education. 

Nebraska’s scholarship program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations.  

(Last updated December 18, 2023) 

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None – low-income priority 
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Conditional 
  • Geographic Limit: Statewide 
  • Enrollment Cap: None 
  • Scholarship Cap: Full tuition, not greater than 75% public per pupil spending 
  • Testing Mandates: None 
  • Credit Value: lesser 100 percent of contributions / 50 percent of tax liability 
  • Per Donor Credit Cap: $100,000 
  • Total Tax Credit Cap: $25 million 2024 through 2026; Beginning 2027, 25% automatic escalator if 90% of previous year’s available credits are issued. 

SGO Requirements: 

  • Multiple SGOs are allowed 
  • Must be registered 501(c)(3) 
  • Use at least 90 percent of contributions for scholarships (if budget cap is under $35 million); use at least 95 percent of contributions for scholarships (if budget cap is $35 million or more) 
  • Beginning in 2028 – Maximum carry forward of 25% to the next fiscal year  
  • Any excess revenue beyond 25% carry forward on June 30th of the fiscal year must be used for student scholarships or transferred to another SGO 
  • Annual financial audit (CPA) to department of education 
  • Annually must disclose to department of education procedures for awarding scholarships 
  • Make scholarships available for more than one school  
  • Fulfill and execute the award priority requirements 
  • Submit an annual report detailing donations received and scholarships awarded and proof of a financial review by a certified public accountant  
  • Verify applicants’ income information  

School Requirements: 

  • Operate as a non-profit 
  • Comply with federal non-discrimination requirements 
  • Comply with health and safety laws 
  • Fulfill accreditation or approval requirements per the State Board of Education  
  • Make scholarships available for more than one school  

(Last updated December 18, 2023)

Governing Statutes

Nebraska Revised Statute §§ 77-2715.07, 77-2717, and 77-2734.03 

(Last updated June 2, 2023)