Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (OSTC) provide significant tax credits for contributions to scholarship organizations approved by the Commonwealth.
The Foundation for Jewish Day Schools, a partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the region’s day schools, is committed to supporting Jewish education in Greater Philadelphia. Thanks to two programs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (OSTC) – the Foundation is making it possible for Pennsylvania business and individual taxpayers to help support day schools and pre-schools while earning a state tax credit.
These programs provide significant tax credits for contributions to scholarship organizations approved by the Commonwealth. The Foundation makes community members aware of this opportunity to support Jewish education and encourages them to take advantage of it.
The Jewish community’s support of Jewish schools through the Foundation has grown exponentially since the EITC program’s start in 2001, when $130,000 was raised. In 2014, the Jewish Federation hired Ellen Horowitz Matz to staff the Foundation full time. And while the EITC/OSTC program until recently permitted only businesses to participate, it has now expanded to individuals and to married couples who file jointly. In calendar year 2015, businesses and individuals contributed $5.9 million to EITC/OSTC scholarships; $6.6 million has already been raised for the 2016-17 academic year.
Elliot Holtz, Chairman of the Foundation, describes its mission as two-pronged: “We’re trying to get as many families as possible to enroll their children in Jewish day schools and pre-schools by making them aware that scholarship support is available for them. At the same time, we’re trying to increase that amount of available support by getting the community to take advantage of this opportunity to support Jewish day schools and pre-schools through the EITC/OSTC program.”
Matz tells community members: “Don’t think you can’t afford a Jewish education for your children. Our schools are eager to provide your children with a quality and nurturing Jewish education.” She also notes that the EITC/OSTC program helps fund scholarships for those in need but not directly eligible: while the program has a household income threshold for scholarship eligibility, EITC/OSTC funds make it possible for the schools to direct scholarship dollars received from other sources to children from families who don’t meet that requirement but still have significant financial need. Applications for scholarships are still being accepted for the 2016-17 school year. Parents should contact their child’s Jewish pre-school or day school for information on applying.
July 1 is the date on which new EITC/OSTC applications can be filed by businesses and individuals to convert these tax credits into contributions. For more information on supporting Jewish schools through the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools and the EITC/OSTC program, please look for more information in upcoming issues of the Jewish Exponent, or contact Ellen Horowitz Matz at 215.832.0525 or [email protected] or visit jewishphilly.org/eitc.