Applications are open now through March 15 for the 2024-25 school year!

In May 2023, Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law the Education Scholarship Trust Fund Act (ESTF). This program is similar to others across the country that provides scholarships to families, allowing parents to cover the costs of the education they want for their children. It includes private school tuition and fees, homeschool programs, textbooks and supplies, tutors and many other services and tools that are approved by the state’s Department of Education. The scholarship is $6,000 per year.

Is my child eligible for the ESTF program?

The requirements for the scholarship are as follows:

  • Your child must be a South Carolina resident
  • Have attended a South Carolina public school during the previous school year, OR have not yet attained the age of five on or before September 1 of the previous school year but have attained the age of five on or before September 1 of the current school year, OR have received a scholarship the previous school year; AND
  • Your household income cannot exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (please see chart of poverty guidelines here).
    • Note: Students currently enrolled in a public charter school, home school students, and students participating in the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children’s Fund program are not eligible for this scholarship program.

What if the scholarship does not cover all of the costs of my child’s private school education?

Any ESTF qualifying family that applies to a school whose tuition is higher than the $6,000 scholarship will be responsible for the difference. Some schools may have financial aid available. To determine the amount of financial aid that may be available at a particular school you will need to apply for the aid through the individual school’s FACTS Grant and Aid process. This process will be used to help determine the amount of financial aid that may be available for your family for that school year.

EXAMPLE based on $10,000 tuition: The ESTF covers $6,000 of the $10,000. The school will determine what amount of aid, if any, may be available to help defray the remaining $4,000. Any remaining amounts not covered by the $6,000 scholarship and additional aid will need to be covered by the family.

What if my household income does not meet the requirements for the 2024-2025 school year?

For the 2024-2025 school year, the scholarship requires that you have a household income below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. However, in coming years, the program will expand to include more South Carolina families.

School year Percent of poverty guidelines eligible Number of scholarships available annually
2024-2025 200% Up to 5,000
2025-2026 300% Up to 10,000
2026-2027 and subsequent years 400% Up to 15,000 scholarships/year

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