Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children
South Carolina allows individuals, partnerships, corporations, and similar entities to claim a 100 percent tax credit for contributions to approved Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. Individuals, partnerships, corporations, and similar entities can claim tax credits up to 60 percent of their tax liability; however, married couples filing separate returns may claim only half of the tax credit allowed had they filed jointly. The total amount of tax credits awarded statewide is limited to $8 million. The maximum scholarship amount an SFO may award is $10,000. Scholarships may be used for tuition, transportation, textbook expenses, or any combination of these at qualifying private schools. Students are eligible to receive scholarships if they have been designated by the South Carolina Department of Education as meeting the federal definition of a "child with a disability" (34 CFR 300.8). Additionally, a student's parents must believe the assigned public school district does not sufficiently meet the student's needs. Students who have been diagnosed within the last three years by a licensed speech-language pathologist, psychiatrist, or medical, mental health, psycho-educational, or other comparable licensed healthcare provider as having a neurodevelopmental disorder; a substantial sensory or physical impairment (such as deaf, blind, or orthopedic disability); or some other disability or acute or chronic condition that significantly impedes the student's ability to learn and succeed in school without specialized instructional and associated supports and services tailored to the child's unique needs are now eligible. The program launched in 2014.