HomeSouth CarolinaToday is last day for South Carolina residents to apply for education...

Today is last day for South Carolina residents to apply for education scholarships

South Carolina – Over 5,000 families from every one of the 46 counties in South Carolina have applied for the state’s Education Scholarship Trust Fund. The deadline for these applications is today, Friday, March 15.

“We are thrilled to see the excitement and interest from South Carolina parents in the Education Scholarship Trust Fund program,” Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver said in a statement .

The department of education revealed that almost half (47%) of the people applying identified themselves as Black or African American. Around a third (31%) are White, and 6% described themselves as Hispanic. The other 16% either belong to multiple racial backgrounds or chose not to share their race. Kids from Kindergarten to fifth grade are the majority of applicants, making up 58% of the total. Middle schoolers (grades 6-8) are 22%, and high schoolers (grades 9-12) are 20%.

In May 2023, Governor Henry McMaster made this program official by signing Senate Bill 39, called the Educational Scholarship Trust Fund Act. For the school year of 2024-25, the state plans to give out 5,000 scholarships, each worth $6,000. There are also discussions about making the program bigger in the future, both in terms of the number of grants and the amount given.

The scholarship money can be used for different school costs like tuition, books, tutoring, online classes, fees for moving to another school district, and special education services. To qualify, students need to live in South Carolina and either have been to a public school there the year before or be turning five years old between September 2, 2023, and September 1.

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Also, to be eligible for the scholarship, a family’s income must not be more than twice the federal poverty level. For a family of four, this means they can’t earn more than $62,400 a year. Those who are chosen will get their first payment of $1,500 at the end of July 2024. In a different effort, Americans for Prosperity-South Carolina started a big campaign to support the idea of school choice.

A proposed law, House Bill 5164, aims to make the Education Savings Account program available to all families in South Carolina by the school year 2026-27. The House Education and Public Works Committee recently gave this bill a positive review.

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“Families across South Carolina deserve to be in the driver seat of their child’s education despite their zip code, economic circumstance, or learner’s unique capabilities,” AFP-SC State Director Candace Carroll said in a statement.

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