OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 9, 2017) – Legislation allowing the Opportunity Scholarship Fund (OSF) to help hundreds of lower-income families afford to send their children to private school benefits the state budget, a fiscal impact study found.
The Oklahoma City University study by economists Dr. Jacob Dearmon and Dr. Russell Evans revealed for every $1 of tax credit issued to scholarship donors through the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act, the Oklahoma state budget saves $1.24. The fiscal impact to the state is determined by the tradeoff of tax revenue and the state’s per-pupil expenditures for common education. The act was authorized in 2011.
“These scholarships help parents realize their dream of finding the best school for their children,” said Charles Daniels, OSF president. “This analysis proves what OSF has always said: This program is good for families and good for the state budget.”
OSF, a scholarship granting organization (SGO), helps administer and fund tax-credit scholarships for 58 member schools across Oklahoma. Recipients are selected by the member schools’ financial aid committees.
Highlights from the study:
• The total educational savings equaled $8,855,674 from all funding sources in 2016.
• Based on the state’s per-pupil spending on common education, the fiscal return to the state is $1.24 of savings for every $1 of tax credit issued. (When
accounting for all funding sources, the fiscal return is $2.58 for every $1 of tax credit issued.)
• In the 2016-17 school year, SGOs awarded more than 1,400 scholarships, with an average award of more than $1,000 per scholarship.
• 62 percent of dollars raised come from qualified business entities.
• 89 percent of donations come from individual Oklahoma taxpayers.
“The evidence shows the many benefits of this program,” said Daniels. “We trust legislators will see it makes sense to expand the program so even more families can find the school that’s right for their child.”
Oklahoma is one of 18 states with a tax-credit scholarship program. Under Oklahoma’s program, a tax credit of 50 percent is offered for donations to a SGO, and a 75 percent tax credit is offered for equal pledge amounts for two consecutive years. Credits are capped at $100,000 for qualified business entities, $2,000 for taxpayers filing a joint tax return and $1,000 for individual tax filers.
The entire report is available here.
About Opportunity Scholarship Fund
The Opportunity Scholarship Fund (OSF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization helping promote and manage the Oklahoma tax-credit scholarship program. Students qualify based on standards established by individual member schools’ financial aid criteria and meet the requirements established by the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act. Established in late 2014, OSF is the premier scholarship granting organization in Oklahoma.
For more information, visit: https://osfkids.org.