Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is searching for donors to support the state's K-12 scholarship program, which parents can now apply for to pay private or home schooling costs.
Fitzpatrick announced Wednesday the program is accepting student scholarship applications, and donors can begin sending funds to coordinating organizations July 1. The Treasurer's Office, which oversees the program, intends to have scholarships available for the upcoming school year.
"This is an exciting day for qualifying Missouri students who need educational options," Fitzpatrick said in a news release. "Our EAO partners, my staff and I have been working hard to get this program up and ready to begin accepting applications. Now, the program needs donors to help make these scholarships possible. We know there are plenty of eligible students who can benefit from the educational opportunities afforded by this program -- and I look forward to seeing MOScholars scholarships put to use this fall."
MOScholars was created by the state Legislature in 2021 to offer students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and low-income students more school options through the use of scholarships propelled by state tax credits. The program offers people who donate to an Educational Assistance Organization (EAO) a tax credit equal to the amount of the donation, but not exceeding half of what the donor may owe for the tax year.
Businesses and individuals can make donations for a tax credit. When creating the program, lawmakers capped tax credits to $25 million for the first year.
Before sending funds to an EAO, donors should reserve tax credits for the amount they intend to donate through the Tax Credit Reservation Portal, which is scheduled to launch Monday at MOScholars.com.
As funds begin rolling in, parents and students can also begin applying for scholarships.
Applicants need to contact the EAO affiliated with the school they would like their child to attend. EAOs pre-screen applications to determine student eligibility before providing applicants the MOScholars online application.
Scholarships for the 2022-23 school year are worth up to $6,375. Award amounts can change year to year as they are based on the state adequacy target determined by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Jefferson City is among the 10 cities and five counties in which residents can use the MOScholars program. Students must have an IEP or live in a household with an annual income less than 200 percent of the free and reduced lunch standard determined by the federal government.
There are two EAOs affiliated with eight private schools in Jefferson City.
The Missouri District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod will offer MOScholars scholarships to students attending affiliated Lutheran schools across the state, including Jefferson City's Calvary Lutheran High School, Immanuel Lutheran School and Trinity Lutheran School. The organization is also offering scholarships for homeschooling.
The Herzog Tomorrow Foundation is primarily partnered with K-12 Christian schools throughout the state, including Jefferson City's Helias Catholic High School, Immaculate Conception School, Lighthouse Preparatory Academy, St. Joseph Cathedral School and St. Peter Interparish School.