PA Department of Community and Economic Development
The mission of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is to foster opportunities for businesses to grow and for communities to succeed and thrive in a global economy. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Pennsylvania citizens while assuring transparency and accountability in the expenditure of public funds.
400 North Street Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17120 United States
Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Learn more about the OSTC program, eligibility, and the application process
Parents and Students
Approved List of Opportunity Scholarship Organizations
Parents/Student must apply through an approved Opportunity Scholarship Organization (OSO).
Am I eligible?
Students who live within the attendance boundaries of a low-achieving school, as determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, are eligible to receive a scholarship if their household’s annual income is no greater than $77,648 plus $15,530 for each dependent member of the household.
For the 2016-17 school year, the maximum scholarship award available to non-special education students is $8,500 and the maximum for a special education student is $15,000.
Is my school low-achieving? What schools are participating?
The Pennsylvania Department of Education posts the list of receiving schools and low achieving schools for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program. Participating schools are required to submit the proper enrollment forms to the PA Department of Education.
How do I apply?
Parents and students must work through an approved opportunity scholarship organization (OSO), not DCED, to participate in this program. These organizations are currently reviewing the guidelines and are beginning their application process. Once they become approved, these organizations will be posted on this site. Parents/students will be able to select an approved OSO and submit their application through them. Please continue to check back regularly for updates to the listing on this site.
Opportunity Scholarship Organization
An Opportunity Scholarship Organization receives funds applied from a businesses tax credit. A business may receive a tax credit equal to 75% of its contribution to an approved Opportunity Scholarship Organization that is included on the current list published by the Department, up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year. The tax credit may be increased to 90% of the contribution made, up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year, if the business agrees to provide the same amount of contribution to an organization for two consecutive years. Please read on if you are interested in becoming an Opportunity Scholarship Organization.
An organization that desires to be included on the Department’s list of approved Opportunity Scholarship Organizations must meet the following criteria:
The organization must be a nonprofit entity.
The organization must be exempt from payment of federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The organization must contribute at least 80% of its annual OSTC receipts to an opportunity scholarship organization. For a full description of the guidelines and eligibility please see the Guideline Booklet. Applications can be found on page 6.
Pennsylvania businesses can apply for Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits through DCED’s electronic single application system. Tax credit applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis by day submitted. All applications received on a specific day will be processed on a random basis before moving on to the next day’s applications.
Applications will be approved until the amount of available tax credits is exhausted.