Tax-Credit Scholarships Opening Doors

Posted on October 30, 2008 In Blog

The Providence Journal reports –

Amelia Kah, a junior at St. Raphael’s in Pawtucket, is among the students attending a private school thanks to the tax-credit program.

Last fall, Amelia was accepted to St. Raphael for her sophomore year, aided by the Rhode Island Scholarship Alliance, a tax-credit scholarship program supported by Governor Carcieri and passed by the General Assembly three years ago.

Amelia was one of 278 students last year to receive the tax-credit scholarships in the program’s first year. The average scholarship ranges between $3,000 and $5,000, and the scholarships are available to families who earn 250 percent or less of the federal poverty level, defined in 2007 as a yearly income of $51,625 or less for a family of four.

Businesses are permitted to donate up to $100,000 each year into the scholarship program, receiving a tax credit of up to 90 percent of their donation. The program is capped at $1 million a year in tax credits.

Supporters say the program enables low-income parents in struggling school districts to send their children to private schools — a choice already open to middle class and wealthy parents who can afford tuition. They also say the program, which takes $1 million a year from state tax revenues, doesn’t cost the state any money, and may even save money — because scores of low-income students leave the public school system.

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