WASHINGTON, DC –The Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) commends the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act unveiled by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and bill sponsor Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL), during an event at the U.S. Department of Education.
Under the plan proposed, individuals, married couples, and businesses can invest their tax dollars in a K-12, nonprofit 501(c)(3) scholarship granting organization (SGO) and receive a non-refundable, dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit in return. An SGO must spend at least 90 percent of revenue on student scholarships, with the remaining balance available for program evaluation, program administration, or other things.
Currently, 26 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico operate 54 publicly-funded scholarship programs for approximately 500,000 students. Under the proposed federal plan, all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Indian Education, Puerto Rico and the outlying areas could choose to identify SGOs to offer scholarships to students.
“Families, employees, and employers deserve an opportunity to invest their tax dollars in an SGO they believe provides students with access to new learning venues” said Gerard Robinson, executive director of CAO. “The program as defined will support, not supplant, existing tax credit programs operating in states and U.S. territories.”
For families living in fragile communities in the United States, which CAO defines in its State of Opportunity in American Report (2018) as “communities that are characterized by high proportions of residents struggling in their daily lives and possessing limited opportunities for social mobility,” lack of access to a quality K-12 and postsecondary education remains a major barrier to economic prosperity. This legislation has the potential to open the doors of opportunity to millions of families, students, and educators alike.
For more information on the 2018 CAO report, visit http://www.advancingopportunity.org/opportunity-survey/
About the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO)
The Center for Advancing Opportunity expands educational, social and economic opportunities in our nation’s most fragile communities through original research, educational programs and direct engagement with residents. By listening to different community voices and supporting scholars and students passionate about making a positive difference, we work to empower people eager to put ideas into action and discover mutually beneficial solutions to bolster fragile communities across the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Center for Advancing Opportunity is a research and education initiative borne out of a partnership between the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries. CAO supports students and faculty members at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as other institutions by developing research-based solutions to the most pressing issues in fragile communities.
For more information about the Center for Advancing Opportunity, visit www.advancingopportunity.org.