FAQs for students who attend Southside Christian School
This program really works?
Since 2008, more than $1 billion has been contributed across the state to the Education Tax Credit program. In 2022, the GA Legislature increased the statewide cap from $100 million per year to $120 million per year. So, this program is tried and true.
Since 2015, the Alyn Scholarship Fund has distributed over $2,000,000 in scholarships.
Who determines the rules of the Education Tax Credit Program?
This is a state program that is governed by Georgia state law. The Alyn Scholarship Fund is a registered Student Scholarship Organization (SSO) and follows all provisions of the law.
How much is the scholarship?
There is no set scholarship amount. Award amounts depend on how much money is available, how many eligible students apply & the financial need of applicants.
The more donations we have, the more money available for scholarships. Please help increase these funds by becoming a donor.
When are scholarships awarded?
For returning students, award determinations are made in June/July so parents can plan their finances and make the scholarship transaction to SCS when school starts in August.
Since new transfer students are required by law to apply before enrolling at SCS, those award determinations are made on a case by case basis throughout the school year.
Who do I contact to start the scholarship process?
Because it makes good common sense. First, the more scholarship funds that are available, the more money we award. Contributors drive how much money is available.
Second, scholarships make attending SCS more affordable which can help maintain and/or increase the number of students at SCS. This helps spread the burden of financing private education across more families and thus, lightens the load for everyone.
Third, you have to pay your taxes. Paying them like always leaves you also paying full tuition on top of that. However, reallocating some of your taxes to ASF may help reduce the out-of-pocket expense for tuition and save you money.
Do I have to contribute for my child to receive a scholarship?
No, a student's eligibility for a scholarship is dictated by state law which has nothing to do with whether a parent contributes or not. A student either meets the eligibility criteria or they don't. If they're eligible and apply for a scholarship, we'll provide them one.
Parents are certainly encouraged to contribute so we'll have more scholarship funds to distribute, but it's not a requirement.
How much of the contributions actually go toward scholarships?
As an SSO, we are required by law to distribute at least 92% of all contributions to students. So, for every $1,000 that ASF takes in, a minimum of $920 goes directly to scholarship awards for students.
If I contribute, will my child's scholarship be for that same amount?
No. This is not a Quid Pro Quo system where you make a contribution and your child gets a scholarship in that same amount. Scholarship awards depend on how much money is available, how many eligible students apply and financial need. It's possible that the scholarship award may be less than what you contributed or it could be for more.
There's really no cost to contribute?
That's correct, you get a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for the amount of your contribution. So, if you contribute $5,000 of your state taxes to ASF, your tax bill is reduced by that same $5,000.
What you're really doing is simply redirecting where your taxes go and who gets to spend your hard-earned money. Your money will either go to Atlanta for the politicians to spend or it can go to ASF where eligible SCS students will benefit.
What are the contribution limits?
A Single person or married person filing separately can contribute up to: $2,500
A Married Couple filing jointly can contribute up to: $5,000
Each shareholder of a Pass-Through Business (LLC, Sole Proprietorship) can contribute up to: $25,000
A C-Corp or Trust can contribute up to: 75% of its state tax liability
S-Corps & Partnerships can elect to pay their taxes at the entity level and contribute up to: 75% of its state tax liability & claim a Federal tax deduction for the full amount of the state taxes paid & credits claimed
What if I can't contribute that much right now?
It's not an "all or nothing" proposition. The contribution limits for each category are the maximum that can be given. If you're not able to give the full amount for your category, that's perfectly fine. Give an amount that fits within your finances.
Can I still contribute in 2022?
The annual fund cap has already been reached for 2022. So, no more contributions can be accepted until the fund reopens on January 3rd, 2023.
Participants can go ahead and submit their requests now for a 2023 donation so we'll have the information to make the request on the first day that the fund opens. This is a first-come, first-serve system and the first day is the only time we can guarantee that requests will be approved.
Click the button below to submit your tax credit request today.
Can schools access these funds outside of scholarships?
No. This money can only be used as scholarships for students to attend Georgia private schools for Pre-K - 12th grade. While the law allows for SSOs and schools to work together in the scholarship process, the GA DOE has made it clear that scholarship transactions are actually between the SSO and parents; not schools and parents. SSOs were created as a gate-keeper to help ensure that the program is administered in accordance with the law. Private schools cannot access these funds in any other manner or for any other purpose.
My child is a 1st Grader and started at SCS this year. He's eligible?
Yes, but it's vitally important that he receive a scholarship while still in the 1st grade. The law says that students eligible to be enrolled in Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade are automatically eligible for an Education Tax Credit Scholarship. Since your child is in the 1st grade and already in private school, to be eligible in future years, he has to receive a scholarship before he completes the 1st grade or his window of opportunity will close. If he completes 1st grade without receiving an Education Tax Credit Scholarship, the only way to become eligible again will be to transfer to a public school, attend that school for at least six weeks (or home school for a year) and then transfer back to SCS.
My child received a scholarship at a different private school last year...
As long as your child transferred directly from a GA private school to SCS, their scholarship eligibility will remain intact. The money won't follow him, but his eligibility will remain intact and he can receive a scholarship at SCS.
My child received a scholarship years ago, but hasn't since then...
As long as your child has remained in a GA private school since they last received a scholarship, they're still eligible. It's not a requirement to receive a scholarship each year in order to maintain eligibility; just that, after receiving a scholarship, they continuously remain in the private school setting.
My child was at SCS and received a scholarship, later transferred to a public school and is now back at SCS. Is he still eligible?
Yes, but not because of previously receiving a scholarship. Once he left the private school setting for public school, that ended his eligibility. To become eligible again, he has to follow the regulations for any other transfer student. He must attend a GA public school for at least six weeks and then apply for a scholarship before enrolling at SCS.
Note: This scenario doesn't apply to Pre-K, Kindergarten & 1st Grade students as they are automatically eligible.
We're zoned for a Low Performing school. What does that mean?
Every public school in Georgia receives a CCRPI score that the Dept. of Education uses to determine if a school is failing or not. Each school's CCRPI score is tabulated annually and published on the GA DOE's website. There is a provision in the law that allows students zoned to attend a failing school to forgo the six week attendance requirement. Students in this situation are immediately eligible for a scholarship as long as they're in a grade that the failing school provides. Example: XYZ Middle School is deemed a failing school. Any 6th, 7th & 8th grade SCA student zoned for that school is scholarship eligible.
Our children were being homeschooled. They're eligible?
Yes, but they had to of been in the homeschool setting for a minimum of one year to meet the eligibility requirements. They also have to apply for the scholarship before enrolling at SCS.
Why is it important to submit contribution requests in January?
While the state-wide fund is $120 million, it's also a first come, first serve program. Through the history of the program, there have been many years when all the tax credits were claimed on the first day that the fund opened. So, anyone who did not submit a tax credit request on the first day was denied approval and had to wait until the next year to submit another request when the fund reopened.
Submitting tax credit requests on the first day is the only way that we can guarantee donors will get approved, so we work very hard to get our ASF tax credit requests in on the first working day of each year.