Equal Opportunity Scholarships-Giving Students Options
If you could expand educational opportunities for students in failing schools by leveraging greater private investment in education, would you do it? Of course you would! This is exactly the idea behind the Equal Opportunity Scholarship idea (otherwise known as a tax credit scholarship).
The way it works is pretty simple. Taxpayers donate money to a scholarship organization. In exchange for their donation, they get a credit toward their taxes. Let’s say the credit is 75 percent. That would mean a donation of $1,000 to a scholarship organization would net a credit toward tax liabilities of $750. While the total taxes collected drops by $750, the total amount contributed goes up. The end result is greater private investment in education.
With the funds, the scholarship organizations provide tuition assistance for students who wish to attend high-quality private schools. More than a dozen states have similar programs. They are a proven method of increasing options for students. And they have the added benefit of saving taxpayers money. The Show-Me Institute has highlighted successful examples in Arizona, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.
Over the next few months, Missouri lawmakers will bandy about ideas to “solve” the problem of unaccredited schools. Thus far, Equal Opportunity Scholarships are the only proactive idea that will expand options for Missouri students.