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Oklahoma City University economists release updated fiscal impact study

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 13, 2018) – A new fiscal impact study shows Oklahoma’s tax credit scholarship programs save the state – and public education – money while helping hundreds of lower-income families afford to send their children to private school.

The Opportunity Scholarship Fund (OSF) is one of several scholarship granting organizations (SGOs) created under the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Act in 2011.

An updated study by economists at Oklahoma City University revealed for every $1 of tax credit issued to donors, the Oklahoma state budget saved $1.39, a 15-cent increase from 2017 results.

The fiscal impact to the state is determined by the tradeoff of tax revenue and the state’s per-pupil expenditures for common education.

“This analysis proves what OSF has always said: This program is good for Oklahoma’s families and good for the state budget,” said Charles Daniels, OSF president.

OSF helps administer and fund tax-credit scholarships for 64 member schools across Oklahoma. Recipients are selected by the member schools’ financial aid committees.

Highlights from the study:

  • The total educational savings from the SGOs equaled $14,653,958 from all funding sources (federal, state and local) in 2017.
  • Based on the state’s per-pupil spending on common education, the fiscal return to the state is $1.39 of savings for every $1 of tax credit issued. (When accounting for all funding sources, the fiscal return is $2.91 for every $1 of tax credit issued.)
  • In the 2017-18 school year, the state’s three main SGOs awarded more than 2,466 scholarships, with an average award of more than $1,800 per scholarship.
  • Looking ahead to fiscal year 2019, with the additional funding for teacher compensation and classroom funding, the fiscal return to the state is $1.51 of savings for every $1 of tax credit issued; $3.16 from all funding sources.

“The evidence shows the many benefits of this program,” said Daniels. “We hope 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, and the Oklahoma program has the second-lowest total of tax credits offered in the country. 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.

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Larisha Hunter

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Benefits to Oklahoma’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program Continue to Grow

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