CHAMPIONSHIP: Vote on Our Greatest Policy Win!

April 10, 2024

Palmetto Promise Team

We are back with an exciting update on our Policy Bracketology competition from the other week. In honor of March Madness, we asked you to cast your vote in the Final Four to determine which Palmetto Promise initiative deserves the distinction of being named our greatest policy win. Thank you to all who voted! 

Now, we come to you with our championship matchup between two of Palmetto Promise’s signature policy initiatives.

Both of these policies passed into law in 2023, after a long history with Palmetto Promise that dates back nearly a decade! Each of these policy wins originated from conversations and advocacy first started in South Carolina by Palmetto Promise.

And so, without further ado, we present our Policy Championship!


Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) (2015-2024)

Palmetto Promise first advocated for South Carolina to adopt an ESA model back in 2015. That is almost ten years of advocacy! We took up this challenge out of our sincere belief that South Carolina education dollars should follow the student, and opportunity should be available to all children, not just limited based on a zip code or income. The ESA law that passed in 2023 established a three-year phase in for the Education Scholarship Trust Fund (ESTF) program, which awards eligible families a $6,000 scholarship to use for their student’s educational expenses, such as private school tuition, online school, public school interdistrict transfer fees, textbooks, disability services, and much more. Palmetto Promise has recently worked to help implement this program, creating our informational website and encouraging student applications with an extensive outreach campaign. Additionally, we are working to expand this ESA program to a universal model, so more South Carolina students can have these opportunities.  


Certificate of Need (CON) Repeal (2016-2023)

A 1970s-era Certificate of Need law led to high prices, long wait times, and low-quality healthcare in South Carolina. In 2016, only our third year of existence, Palmetto Promise Institute started the conversation about the need to repeal South Carolina’s Certificate of Need (CON) statute. When the fight began, the tides were strongly against us. An opponent of our efforts even told us, “we will nuke you.” No one gave our little coalition a chance, particularly in “incrementalist” South Carolina, with the added challenge of an army of highly-paid lobbyists patrolling the Statehouse. Yet, through telling the stories of physicians and patients, drawing on a wide breadth of in-house and national policy research, and enjoying grassroots work by allies, PPI was able to chip away at support for CON each year (2016-2023). In a few years, we went from all the odds stacked against us to the nation’s most significant CON repeal since 2015. Ultimately, the legislation passed the House and Senate with bipartisan and unanimous support, and now we are seeing new healthcare facilities pop up all over the state!


Which will you pick?

Cast your vote now in our Palmetto Promise Policy Championship!