Jonathan Butcher

Tax credit scholarships encourage big dreams

Posted on December 06, 2011 | Author: Jonathan Butcher
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Jorge has big plans. A senior at Glendale Christian Academy, Jorge has set his sights on earning a degree in business management and then starting his own business. He looks forward to using his music skills one day to help underprivileged children by offering music lessons.

Jorge and his mother, Lydia, say these goals wouldn’t be possible without his scholarship to attend Glendale Christian, granted by one of Arizona’s School Tuition Organizations and made possible through the state’s scholarship tax credit program. Married couples filing jointly can receive a tax credit on donations of up to $1,000 to scholarship organizations. Corporations can also receive credits for donations.

In 2010, Arizonans donated over $43 million to scholarship organizations, who then awarded 26,453 scholarships to students.

Research indicates these scholarships help students with financial needs. A study that included nearly 80 percent of all 2009 scholarship recipients found that recipients’ median family income was almost $5,000 lower than the U.S. Census Bureau’s statewide median annual income for Arizona. In addition, recipients’ median family income was nearly $5,000 lower than the median incomes in recipients’ neighborhoods.

Researcher Vicki E. (Murray) Alger writes, “[A] higher proportion of scholarship recipients come from families whose incomes qualify them as poor (at or below $20,050 for a family of four) than the U.S. Census Bureau statewide average.”

Scholarship-granting organizations depend on the generosity of individuals who want all students to succeed. The tax credit program gives Arizonans the opportunity to give students a chance at a bright future.

Or, as Jorge says: “Glendale Christian Academy has transformed my life.”

Jonathan Butcher is education director for the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Program on Education Policy and Governance: An Analysis of Arizona Individual Income Tax-credit Scholarship Recipients’ Family Income, 2009-10 School Year

Arizona School Tuition Organization Association: Find an STO

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