Summer is when your taking a break from school, enjoy the weather and plan a beach trip or cool off in a pool. Summer is also one of the most active times for the OSTC program. Low achieving schools are sending out their parent letters. Parents and children are considering their school choices for returning to school in the fall. Donors are applying for tax credits. Schools eligible for receiving OSTC are planning for how many kids they will have on OSTC scholarships. Schools and scholarship organizations are planning where the scholarship funds and donors will come from to meet the annual needs of their parents and children eligible for OSTC assistance.
Public schools that are listed as low achieving schools are required to send out parent notification letters to parents. These mass letters are to a targeted group of parents who may not understand the OSTC program causing confusion. Many parents think they are guaranteed a scholarship to attend elsewhere. Nearby schools eligible to receive OSTC children are sometimes overwhelmed by inquiries about OSTC scholarships.
Parents who receive OSTC letters from there schools have to start early in the summer if they want to change to a new school and maximize there OSTC scholarship awards. Parents typically visit there new schools and get information on the tuition costs. Nearby public schools in the OSTC program have tuition costs that the parent owe if a scholarship is not obtained. If the school does not have a robust OSTC scholarship fund with lots of donors then the parents will need to apply at scholarship organizations on the
OSTC list that have funds available or that work regularly with the school the parent have chosen. These OSTC scholarship organizations each have different deadlines and different
funding processed. This summer of 2015 the DCED changed the deadline for eligible schools to get listed as eligible to receive OSTC scholarships. The old deadline was February 15 and that was changed to the end of school in 2015 which appears to be a June 30th deadline but no specific date is posted. As of today there is still no list of schools eligible to receive OSTC scholarships for 2015/2016 which makes planning difficult for parents. The 2014/2015 list is still on the OSTC website so you can assume most of the schools will renew as the process is easy and DCED sends a reminder email but there is no guarantees. Here is the link to the OSTC information page.
For the summer of 2015 OSTC donors have interesting new developments to wade thru. The annual application for all EITC/Preschool tax credits had an option where if requests for these tax credits exceeded demand then you could replace with OSTC credits as of the date of your application. This new twist means there will be many new OSTC donors because EITC/Preschool tax credits are very popular and always run out quickly. There are also many donors that may not follow thru with OSTC letters so being on a waiting list for OSTC tax credits may mean the donor will get a call from DCED near year end that the OSTC credits are available. The current Pennsylvania budget delay will also complicate the process because until the budget is passed DCED can not issue any tax credit award letters. Donors participating in the OSTC process will definitely need to be patient and schools and parents depending on these funds will definitely encounter new dynamics this year in how the OSTC donor tax credit award and funding process works.
As summer moves towards conclusion and schools restart school administrators and parents will juggle how many new kids will come to their school with OSTC scholarships. This issue is especially dramatic at schools close to a new addition to the low achieving school list. Schools and parents that have currently existing kids on OSTC scholarships will be scrambling to renew these scholarships as funding gets released this year late due to the delay in posting eligible receiving schools.
Schools and scholarship organizations that are eligible to receive OSTC donations started helping their donors apply May 15, 2015. New donors could apply July 1, 2015 and based on past utilization of the OSTC program donors can still be reasonably confident of an award by applying this summer before school starts. After school starts and hopefully awards are issued a whole new group of OSTC donors will be making decisions due to the new OSTC second chance tax credits. This will be an interesting year for OSTC tax credit awards for organizations to either grow there programs or find new OSTC scholarships from new organizations and donors that have not been in the system the last few years.
Our charity is an OSTC eligible charity on the OSTC list renewing as an organization eligible to receive OSTC donations from donors. We specialize in assisting other charities in temporarily handling their OSTC funds and redirecting other tax funds to their schools or charity. Our charity also focuses on new OSTC zones and assists the parents and schools in creating a sustainable OSTC program for their area. We direct funds and volunteers to this effort especially with Christian schools and Public schools who do not have other resources to help them with the sudden OSTC scholarship needs. Please contact us if we can help your school. Parents who want to apply for our OSTC funds need to get our application from their school as we use volunteers at each school to help us administer the OSTC scholarship program fairly and properly.