Rubio, Rokita Propose Scholarship Tax Credit Program
Bill will empower students in need to have access to quality educational options
Washington, D.C. (March 19, 2015) – The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, applauds Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) for reintroducing the Educational Opportunities Act which would create an individual and corporate tax credit for donations that pay for scholarships for students to attend a private school of their parents’ choice.
“There’s no single domestic issue more pressing than fixing our nation’s antiquated education system and the Educational Opportunities Act will empower parents throughout the country to have access to quality educational options that are otherwise out of reach,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. “It is long past time for our education system to embrace bolder reform and that begins by offering parents greater educational choice, challenging the status quo and ensuring that children are no longer trapped in schools that are not meeting their needs.”
The Educational Opportunity Act allows qualified families to receive scholarships from nonprofit scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) that would pay or defer the cost of private school tuition or other related educational expenses. The bill creates an individual federal tax credit of up to $4,500 and a corporate credit of up to $100,000 for donations to qualifying, non-profit SGOs. Currently, there are 17 tax credit scholarship programs in existence nationwide – including in Florida and Indiana – which provided more than $660 million in scholarships to students in the 2013-14 school year.
“Tax credit scholarship programs are extremely popular and successful nationwide,” added Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children. “This is a common sense piece of legislation that has found broad bipartisan support on the state level and could prove to be game-changer for children nationwide. When our nation has a child drop out of school every 26 seconds, when less than 60 percent of black males gradate high school, we need to run, not walk, toward educational options that ensure every child, regardless of their zip code, can get a quality education.”
“It is shameful that the only parents in our country who don’t have choice regarding their children’s education are parents living in poverty,” said Rubio. “This bill will ensure every parent and child has access to a school that best suits their learning needs where they can thrive and go on to become America’s future leaders.:
“This legislation capitalizes on Americans’ generosity and would increase access to educational opportunities without spending more money. I am grateful for Senator Rubio’s continued leadership on this issue, and look forward to advancing the promise of school choice,” said Rokita.
American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.
Betsy DeVos is the chairman of the American Federation for Children and Alliance for School Choice. A longtime advocate for innovating and improving our nation’s education system, DeVos was selected to speak at the 2015 SXSWedu conference to share her vision on revolutionizing our nation’s education system.
Kevin P. Chavous is executive counsel and a founding board member for the American Federation for Children. He is a former member of the Council of the District of Columbia and a former chairman of D.C.’s Education Committee, Chavous was responsible for enacting numerous education reforms in D.C. Chavous is chair emeritus of the Democrats for Education Reform and a former chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options.