Find an Education Service Provider

May 1, 2024

In order to accept scholarship funds from the Education Scholarship Trust Fund program, independent schools and other entities must be registered with the SC Department of Education as Education Service Providers. These applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so this list is constantly being updated. For the most up to date list, check your

Breaking Down 2024-25 ESTF Application Data

March 28, 2024

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

Coverdell ESA vs. South Carolina ESA

January 6, 2024
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When the South Carolina Education Scholarship Account (ESA) legislation was being written, there was the option of naming it an Education Savings Account (ESA). South Carolina legislators chose not to do this because of the confusion it might create with federal Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.     The key difference aside from state versus federal law is whose money funds the

Find an independent or private school

January 6, 2024
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If a child receives an ESA, a wide range of educational services opens. Tuition and transportation for a South Carolina private (independent) school is just one option for ESA spending. If you think a private school may be an option for your family, the South Carolina Department of Education provides a list.This list does not necessarily

Are ESAs constitutional?

January 6, 2024
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Yes. Even as the U.S. Supreme Court has overwhelmingly upheld school choice programs of all stripes, state Constitutional questions born of bigoted anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments have routinely plagued voucher programs. However, Education Savings Accounts have withstood Blaine Amendment challenges precisely because of their legal differences from vouchers. Arizona, home of the nation’s oldest ESA program, provides the framework.

Aren’t independent schools FULL and EXPENSIVE?

January 6, 2024
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The South Carolina ESA is worth $6,000 per year for tuition and books with up to $750 in additional funds for transportation. Isn’t that woefully inadequate? Isn’t private (independent) school tuition north of $20,000? What about available seats? Aren’t most private schools running at capacity? EdChoice conducted a survey of South Carolina private schools in 2018 to get at some of these questions.  Here

What type of expenses are eligible?

January 6, 2024
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• Tuition and fees of an education service provider • Textbooks, curriculum, or other instructional materials including, but not limited to, any supplemental materials or associated online instruction required by either a curriculum or an education service provider • Tutoring services approved by the Department of Education • Computer hardware or other technological devices that are used primarily