The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program provides tax-credit scholarships for private school tuition and other educational expenses. Scholarship recipients must live in an eligible county or city and meet other requirements, and students with disabilities and low-income students will be given priority.
About Missouri Empowerment Scholarship
In July 2021, the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program (HB 349) was signed into law.
K-12 students can apply for scholarships of up to $6,375 for private school tuition or other educational expenses through the program, and individuals and corporations who donate to scholarship-giving organizations will receive state tax credits. While the program’s rules and regulations are still being worked out, one of the main legislative compromises for the bill’s passage was a geographic eligibility provision. To be eligible for a scholarship, students must reside in one of the state’s four charter counties or in a city with a population of 30,000 or more.
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Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Amount
Each student may be eligible for a scholarship of up to $6,375.00 through the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship. As a result, for an SCA student, this money would cover the entire cost of tuition. Tuition assistance of up to 50% of the total tuition cost may be added to the amount. Attending SCA will always incur some out-of-pocket expenses.
The Missouri Empowerment Scholarship program is limited to $25 million in the first year, but the current law allows for an increase to $50 million. There is precedent from other states of Empowerment Scholarships growing due to grassroots demands as families express a desire to participate. For example, Florida increased its scholarship fund from $40 million to more than $200 million. Arizona began with $5 million and has since grown to $120 million. These increases are the result of parents’ demands to be heard.
These funds will be spent on.
- Tuition for private schools
- Expenses associated with homeschooling
- Instructional materials/curriculum Textbooks
- Fees for standardized tests
- Tutoring Therapy for Disabled Students
- Online courses and programs
- Public school courses à la carte
- Putting money aside for future college expenses
Eligibility and Requirements
ESAs are only available to students who live in charter counties or cities with a population of more than 30,000 people. Clay, Jackson, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. Louis counties are among them, as are the cities of Columbia, St. Joseph, Joplin, Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau, and St. Louis.
Furthermore, a student must have attended a public school for at least one semester in the previous 12 months or be entering kindergarten or first grade and either (1) have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students with special needs or (2) come from a family whose income does not exceed 200 percent of the federal free-and-reduced-price lunch income eligibility level ($98,050 for a family of 4 in 2021-22 session). Students who enroll in the program are eligible for ESAs until they drop out or graduate from high school.
- Provide taxpayers with a state-treasurer-approved receipt for contributions made by the organization.
Sort awards according to:
The IEP status
Students from families earning up to 200 percent FRL ($95,050 in 2022-23) are eligible.
Every other qualified student
- Ensure that all interest and dividend income is used to fund scholarships.
- Non-scholarship expenses should not exceed 10% of revenue.
- At the request of a parent, distribute scholarship account payments quarterly or in a lump sum at the start of the school year. Carry out criminal background reviews on all employees and board members. Conduct annual audits by a CPA.
- Inform the state treasurer of aggregate student demographic data.
- Conduct an annual parental satisfaction survey and report on the results.
- In any given year, no more than ten years may be certified to administer scholarship accounts.
Except for a qualified student in the custody of the state, the qualified student shall not be enrolled in a public school operated by, or a charter school located within, the qualified student’s district of residence, and shall release the district of residence from liability. Money deposited in a qualified student’s Missouri empowerment scholarship account may only be used for qualified expenses.
How To Apply for Missouri Empowerment Scholarship
Deadline and opening dates
Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Deadline hasn’t been announced yet.