The Opportunity Scholarship Fund is a scholarship granting organization providing life-changing opportunities to low-income students who would not normally receive a pathway to specialized education. OSF offers scholarship help to students in grades K-12, with an emphasis on lower-income Oklahoma families. Students and families have more affordable education options with accredited private schools through our scholarships. Participating donors are eligible for Oklahoma tax credits, and charitable contribution deductions when taxpayers itemize their deductions.
OSF accommodates students with special learning challenges and younger students with special educational needs.
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 scholarship granting organization, or SGO, and a 75 percent tax credit for equal amounts pledged for two consecutive years. Income tax 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.
Tax-credit scholarships save Oklahoma money. Considering the state’s share of per pupil expenditures, the fiscal return to the state is $1.51 saved for every $1 in tax credits issued.
What Are Tax Credit Scholarships?
Tax-credit scholarships, sometimes called scholarship tax credits, are different from other school choice programs, such as school vouchers. What sets them apart? Tax credit scholarships uses only privately donated money, whereas vouchers reach into state coffers, and the scholarships can be sought at any participating school.
1. A student must be a legal resident of the United States, live in Oklahoma, and have been accepted by an accredited Oklahoma private school for the current school year.
2. A student must meet ONE of the following three criteria: Live in a family within the Adjusted Gross Income guidelines OR; attend, or live in the attendance zone, of a public school designated as “in need of improvement” by the State Board of Education OR; attended an Oklahoma public school with an individualized education program (IEP).
Benefits for Oklahoma Donors
In 2011, the Oklahoma legislature authorized generous tax credits for donors to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) like Opportunity Scholarship Fund. These SGOs are not-for-profit entities that must expend at least 90% of their revenues on private school scholarships.
All donors are eligible for Oklahoma tax credits of 50% of the annual donation amount.
Effective January 1, 2016, donors who pledge in writing to give the same amount over two years will receive a 75% tax credit for both years. All donations receive a written receipt letter.
Regardless of donation amount or tax credit percentage, annual Oklahoma tax credits may not exceed $1,000 for individuals; $2,000 for families filing jointly; and $100,000 for eligible business entities. “Pass-through” business entities (partnerships, subchapter S corporations and limited liability companies that flows the business financial activity to the owners’ individual tax returns) are not subject to the tax credit limitations of $1,000/$2,000 for individual and married filing jointly returns.
*Please speak with a tax specialist about the positive tax implications for you as an individual or for a company for participating in the Opportunity Scholarship Fund.
** Please speak with a tax specialist about using a 529 Plan to help with tuition and other associated expenses.
We are very grateful to the following businesses for their generous support (past and present) of our needs-based financial aid program through the Opportunity Scholarship Fund.