New Guide: South Carolina’s Education Landscape Transformed with New K-12 Education Savings Account Program

SC launches its first Education Savings Account (ESA) Program making private school and personalized learning more affordable for low-income children.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s educational landscape is experiencing changes that will allow parents to access more educational options in the state. The Education Scholarship Trust Fund Program aims to make private school, tutoring, and personalized learning more affordable for economically disadvantaged children through a type of private school choice program known as an education savings account (ESA).

Starting in the 2024–25 school year, the ESA program will provide a $6,000 scholarship that will be phased over three years. In its inaugural year, the program will benefit up to 5,000 low-income students whose household income does not exceed 200% of federal poverty guidelines. These scholarships will allow families to utilize funds for private school tuition and other approved expenses, including tutoring, technology, or costs associated with attending a public school outside their resident district.

The National School Choice Awareness Foundation — a nonprofit that helps parents navigate K-12 education options in traditional public, public charter, public magnet, private, online, and home education environments — has developed a comprehensive guide highlighting practical considerations for families and answering questions they might have right now.

The guide answers common questions about the program, including:

  • When is this new scholarship available, and who can apply? 
  • How are the scholarship funds delivered to families? 
  • What learning expenses can the scholarship be used for? 
  • How will families apply when it comes time? 

 “South Carolina has many strong school choice options, from traditional public schools to public charter, magnet, online, and homeschooling, and two existing private school choice programs,” said Shelby Doyle, vice president of public awareness at the National School Choice Awareness Foundation. “What makes this new program different is the ability for parents to pay for customized combinations of educational needs, whether that’s tuition and fees at a private school, occupational therapy, tutoring, transportation, and more, making options more holistically accessible to families.”

More information and resources for journalists can be found at schoolchoiceweek.com/multimedia. More information for families can be found at schoolchoiceweek.com/south-carolina-education-scholarship/ or https://schoolchoiceweek.com/guide-school-choice-south-carolina/

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The National School Choice Awareness Foundation (NSCAF) raises broad and positive awareness of school choice through two charitable programs: organizing National School Choice Week each January and the research, development, and promotion of comprehensive and unbiased school navigation resources for parents via School Choice Week and Conoce tus Opciones Escolares. NSCAF does not advocate for or oppose legislation at any level of government and is steadfastly nonpartisan and nonpolitical.

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