Applications for the 2024-25 school year are closed. Apply for the 2025-26 school year January 15 – March 15, 2025!


Breaking Down 2024-25 ESTF Application Data

For the 2024-25 school year, South Carolina’s Education Scholarship Trust Fund (ESTF) program has 5,000 slots available to students who meet the eligibility requirements: 1) have attended a public school during the 2023-24 school year OR are entering kindergarten for the 2024-25 school year and 2) have a household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty line.


We knew that with these restrictions, our work would be difficult as we worked to ensure that all 5,000 scholarships were awarded.


But, we are proud to report that the program was met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception from South Carolina families! When the application window closed at 11:59pm on March 15, 2024, the State Department of Education (SCDE) had received 7,907 student applications, coming from 5,281 different families.


SCDE and ClassWallet are still processing the applications to determine how many are from students who are actually eligible, and the 5,000 scholarship slots will be awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis.


Here are some other facts we know about the 2024-25 applicant pool:

● Families from all 46 South Carolina counties applied for ESTF scholarships.

● 5,900 applications came from Medicaid recipients.

● 3,540 applications came from English language learners.

● 602 applications came from military families.

● A decisive majority of student applicants self-identify as racial minorities.

3,815 students self-identified as African American (and 364 more applications came from students who self-identified as both African American and one or more other racial groups).

655 applicants self-identified as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish.

◦ 200 applicants self-identified as Asian American and Pacific Islander.

◦ 94 applicants self-identified as American Indian or Alaska Native.

◦ 66 applicants self-identified as Middle Eastern or North African.

◦ 2,409 applicants self-identified as only white.

Note that students may self-identify as multiple racial groups on the ESTF application, so these numbers do not add up to the 7,907 application total.

● Applicants represent a broad age and grade range, with kindergarten applications far exceeding other grades, likely due to kindergarten applicants not having a prior public school attendance requirement.

Based on the reported residential city of applicants, Palmetto Promise has developed this heat map, showing the raw number of ESTF student applicants per county in South Carolina.

Additionally, we created a map that adjusts for county population (since county population varies so much across the state). This map looks at student application numbers per county as a percentage of a county’s total population.



So what is the big takeaway?


Education scholarship accounts are being embraced by South Carolinians across the state, representing every county, age, and racial group. The Education Scholarship Trust Fund program, in the first year of its existence, has exceeded all expectations, far outpacing most other states’ first year ESA scholarship participation (Arizona 153; Florida 1,560; Mississippi 174; North Carolina 277; Tennessee 1,972; and West Virginia 2,333).


Education scholarship providers, like private schools and tutoring services, can still apply to join the ESTF program–those applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Interested providers should visit our provider resource page for more information! When we have more data available on ESTF providers, we will publish an analysis of those as well.


Note: Palmetto Promise Institute and SC School Choice Alliance are not representatives of the SC Department of Education or ClassWallet. The facts we share here are those publicly shared in news releases and on the SC House floor, and the maps above represent some rough estimates and approximation for the purposes of broad visualizations of applicant data.

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