Nov 25, 2015
Two Types of Scholarships Are Available
ACSTO has two types of scholarships available:
- the Original scholarship that we have been awarding for years, and
- the Overflow/PLUS scholarship opportunity that became available in 2012.
You use the same ACSTO scholarship application for both, though you are required to provide additional documentation when applying for an Overflow Scholarship (except for those in Kindergarten).
#1 - Original Tax Credit Scholarship
The Original scholarship is the traditional scholarship opportunity that has existed since the beginning in 1998 as A.R.S. 43-1089. It has not changed. ACSTO has given it a specific title in order to differentiate it from the Overflow scholarship.
Any student who is attending a private Christian school partnered with ACSTO is eligible to apply for an Original scholarship. In order to be considered, the student must simply be enrolled at the school (or in the process) and have a completed scholarship application.
Please be advised that even with a completed application and/or a donor's recommendation, nothing guarantees a scholarship (see our Student Recommendations page). There are also no set scholarship amounts. While this program is meant to help make Christian education affordable, the average scholarship only pays for a third of the average annual cost of private schooling. Therefore, expect you will still have to pay some percentage of your student's tuition.
#2 - Overflow/PLUS Tax Credit Scholarship
The Overflow/PLUS scholarship is the new opportunity that became law in 2012 as A.R.S. 43-1089.03 (also known as the 'Switcher' credit). It is intended to give private schools additional help with their students' cost of tuition while still ensuring that the end result is budget positive for the state.
This is accomplished by limiting scholarships from this source to certain qualifying student, such as those who switch to a private school instead of a public or charter. For every student no longer enrolled at a public school, the state no longer has to pay for that student's education, hence, a budget positive result.
Students who are eligible fall under one of these categories (or here is an Overflow cheat-sheet):
- Switchers: A student who switched from an Arizona public school to a private school in the previous school year after having attended the public school for at least 90 days (or one full semester) before switching. This does include charters.
- Kindergartners: Automatically qualify once enrolled in Kindergarten (not pre-K).
- Pre-K w/a disability: A student with disabilities (and an IEP) enrolled in a pre-school that offers services to students with disabilities will qualify.
- Military: Students who are the dependents of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who is stationed in Arizona pursuant to military orders.
- Corporate: A student who has already received a scholarship from the Corporate tax credit* in a previous school year, and has continued in private school since.
- Previous Overflow: Students who have already received an Overflow/PLUS scholarship, and has continued in private school ever since, continue to qualify.
*ACSTO is NOT a corporate source. Scholarships from the Original tax credit do not count.
Any student who is attending a private Christian school partnered with ACSTO, and can verify that the student qualifies under one of the above categories, is eligible to apply for an Overflow/PLUS scholarship. In order to be considered, the student must be enrolled at the school (or in the process), have a completed scholarship application, and submitted the required paperwork to verify qualification.
Switchers need to complete a Public School Attendance Verification Form; Pre-K students with disabilities must submit a copy of the student's IEP; military families must submit a copy of their military orders indicating the Arizona station; Corporate recipients must complete an Corporate Scholarship Verification form or an award letter; and Overflow/PLUS recipients must submit a Overflow/PLUS Scholarship Verification form or a copy of their scholarship award letter from the STO that made the award (you do not need to if ACSTO made the award). Kindergarten students do not need any additional documentation, they just have to be enrolled.
While we do everything we can to notify parents and schools when paperwork is needed, it is the responsibility of the parent to make sure ACSTO received a current and complete application and/or any required Overflow/PLUS paperwork.
Please be advised that a completed application and/or a donor's recommendation is no guarantee for a scholarship (see our Student Recommendations page). There are also no set scholarship amounts. Therefore, it is best to expect you will still have to pay some percentage of your student's tuition.
There are also Corporate Scholarships available for those who qualify, but ACSTO does not work with those tax credit laws. You can see a summary of tax credit scholarships available in Arizona here. You can also contact our sister organization School Choice Arizona, who handles corporate donations & scholarships by calling 480-722-7502.