Pennsylvania’s Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, enacted and launched in 2012, offers corporations tax credits for their donations to Opportunity Scholarship Organizations (OSOs) that provide private school scholarships. Students who meet the zoning and income requirements can receive those tax-credit scholarships. Learn more about the program, including funding, eligibility and rules, on this page.
Pennsylvania offers tax credits for corporate contributions to Scholarship Organizations (SOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships.
SOs determine scholarship amounts, which are capped at $8,500 ($15,000 for students with disabilities), or the amount of a school’s tuition and fees, whichever is less. Public school boards may set up tuition grant programs that allow students to attend a public or private school. For private schools under such programs, the tuition grant is limited to the state’s per-pupil subsidy amount.
Students must live in a “low-achieving” school zone, with low-achieving defined as the state’s bottom 15 percent of public schools based on standardized test scores. Also, families are eligible only if their household incomes are less than $77,648 plus $15,230 for each child in the family, adjusted annually for inflation. Income limitations multiply for students with certain disabilities.
The newer of Pennsylvania’s two tax-credit scholarship programs has a relatively high cap on scholarship values and generally avoids unnecessary regulations on private schools. However, because of the myriad requirements needed to qualify for a scholarship—coupled with the overall funding cap—the chief weakness of Pennsylvania’s newer tax-credit scholarship program is its student eligibility. For this program to grow successfully, Pennsylvania should consider cutting some of the complexity and red tape placed on student eligibility.
72 P.S. §§ 8701-G.1 through 8712-G.1
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.