5 Reasons Why It’s a Good Idea to Expand Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship
- Georgia legislators are considering a 2023 proposal to increase the cap for Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program.
The communities’ positive response to the scholarship has created a demand for more students to participate.
- Raising the cap on Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program would help students, parents, and the state’s overall education system.
Georgia legislators are considering a 2023 proposal to increase the cap for Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program. Through this program, businesses and individuals can donate toward private school scholarships for K-12 students enrolled in public schools. In return, they receive a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit.
In 2022, the state Legislature raised the cap by $20 million, bringing it up to $120 million from $100 million. But that increase hasn’t proven large enough to keep up with communities’ positive response.
“It’s clear that demand for the program is strong. The existing $120 million cap was met on the very first day of applications this year,” noted Buzz Brockway, Vice President of Public Policy at the Georgia Center for Opportunity. “Georgia families are demanding more options, and lawmakers would be wise to take notice.”
Here are a few reasons why raising the cap on Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program would help students, parents, and the state’s overall education system:
- The Tax Credit Scholarship Program makes private school access more equitable. Traditionally, private schools have been an education option only for families who could afford the tuition and fees. These costs often put private schools out of reach for lower and middle-income households. Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program alleviates some of this inequity by making private school scholarships available to K-12 public school students in need. As a result, more families can look at private schools as a viable option when the local public school isn’t the best fit for their child.
But what about families in rural areas? Aren’t tax credit scholarship programs biased toward urban or suburban areas where there are more private schools? According to a 2017 national study by The Brookings Institute, 69% of families living in rural areas have a private school within 10 miles. Increasing the program cap for Georgia’s tax credit scholarships would help rural Georgia families in this situation. For those that aren’t, there’s still a benefit: Growing the tax credit scholarship program is a way to encourage more private schools to launch and fill education gaps in areas where options are fewer and farther between.
- Raising the program cap makes it possible to serve more kids. This point is critical because 500,000 Georgia students are currently in schools that are underperforming or simply aren’t meeting their specific needs. Increasing the program cap means more families could enjoy the flexibility to consider one of Georgia’s 824 private schools when seeking out educational environments that match their kid’s learning style, their personal values, or other preferences. In 2021, 17,440 scholarships were awarded to eligible students. Imagine how many more kids we could help if Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program expanded to $200 million!
- Expanding our tax credit scholarship program would bring Georgia up-to-date with other states. Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa, and Nevada have all taken note of the growing popularity of tax credit scholarships and have responded by increasing caps on their various programs. Whether it’s tax credit scholarships or other vehicles like Education Savings Accounts, the momentum to embrace more education choice programs is building across many states. It’s time for Georgia to catch up. An easy way to do that? Raise our state’s tax credit scholarship cap.
- It’s one option to relieve parents’ frustration with one-size-fits-all education options. A recent poll of 5,000 parents, conducted by the Harris Poll, revealed that 20% of parents switched schools for their kids during the pandemic. The pandemic itself is a tired topic, but the trend it introduced in education isn’t: Over the last two years, parents’ desire for more education options has skyrocketed as many of them realize that traditional public schools don’t work for every kid.
By investing in educational choice programs, we can guarantee families access to a variety of stellar learning experiences that help their children reach great heights—academically, socially, vocationally…the list goes on. Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program makes private schools one of these meaningful options, regardless of where families live or how much they earn.
- Increasing education tax credits gets more businesses and individuals involved in our kids’ futures. A quality education, tailored to a student’s unique needs, prepares kids for the workplace, for community involvement, and for life. That’s why education is more than a parental concern—it should be a community priority. We all benefit when kids have access to the education option that will help them become healthy, successful citizens, employees, relatives, and friends as they grow up. Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship gives our communities—both businesses and taxpayers—a way to directly invest in K-12 education and ensure bright futures for our students. By raising the program cap, we can expand the investment opportunities available to current donors and to new businesses and individuals who want to get involved.
Learn more about education choice in Georgia
EVERY Kid In Georgia Deserves
A Quality Education
Related Reading: Georgia School Choice In the News
Georgia students need more schooling choices (GCO in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Renewed push to expand Georgia’s private school tuition subsidies (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Proposed bill would increase Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program cap (The Center Square)
School choice in 2023: 10 states to watch (Washington Examiner)