“The tradition of financial aid at Penn Charter has its roots in William Penn’s vision for the school. Specifically, Penn stipulated that those he charged with the oversight of the school would help pay for students whose families could not afford a Penn Charter education. Three centuries later, students, teachers, parents and alumni agree that our socioeconomically diverse student body is central to the school’s unique character and is a source of our strength. I am excited that, working together, we can make PC even stronger.”
—Head of School Darryl J. Ford
Pennsylvania’s new Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC)—and the alumni and parents who participated in the program—provided Penn Charter’s mission-driven financial aid program with $479,000 in new revenue this school year.
The new program functions much like the decade-old Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program: The OSTC and EITC programs enable a Pennsylvania business to apply to both programs and direct up to $400,000 from each to financial aid at Penn Charter. Tax credits are given for 75 percent of a one-year gift and 90 percent of gifts given in two consecutive years.
The OSTC and EITC programs, combined, were responsible for $798,055 in new revenue for Penn Charter this year.
The Commonwealth, searching for ways to provide Pennsylvania parents with education choices for their children, designed the new OSTC program to provide financial aid for children residing within the attendance boundaries of low-achieving public schools as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. To be eligible, a child’s family income cannot exceed $60,000 annually, plus $10,000 per dependent.
Penn Charter was in a unique position to benefit from the new program. PC allotted more than $5 million in need-based financial aid for the 2012-13 school year, much of it to more than 100 students eligible for the OSTC program because of their family income and neighborhood public school assignment—in most cases a Philadelphia public school.
“Socioeconomic diversity is at the core of Penn Charter, not only benefiting the students who receive financial aid but enriching the experience of every student in the community,” Head of School Darryl J. Ford wrote in a letter to parents when the OSTC program was announced last fall. “Clearly, OSTC monies will help us extend our financial aid offerings deeper and wider, while allowing us to remain nimble with our operating budget.”
One of the first to act on the OSTC opportunity was current parent and graduate Shanin Specter OPC ’75. Specter and his law partner Thomas Kline, a former PC parent, directed $222,222 in states taxes from his legal firm Kline & Specter to Penn Charter for financial aid.
That gift equaled Penn Charter’s biggest-ever EITC gift, which was made by William A. Graham IV OPC ’58 in 2006 when he directed $222,222 in state taxes from his Philadelphia-based insurance firm, The Graham Co. This year, Graham participated in EITC—and he plans an OSTC gift, too.
“Both of these gifts exemplify the intense loyalty that benefits our school,” said Head of School Darryl J. Ford. “In both cases, these gentlemen saw an opportunity and jumped on it for Penn Charter.”
The Commonwealth developed the two tax credit programs to promote education choices for Pennsylvania parents. To qualify for participation in these state tax programs, businesses must be subject to any one of these Pennsylvania taxes:
- Corporate Net Income Tax
- Capital Stock Franchise Tax
- Bank & Trust Company Shares Tax
- Title Insurance Company Shares Tax
- Insurance Premiums Tax
- Mutual Thrift Institution Tax
- Personal Income Tax of S-Corp shareholders, or partnership partners.
If you or someone you know is affiliated with a business that might be eligible to participate, contact or direct your friend to Major Gifts Officer Stephanie Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-844-3460 ext. 112. The state’s website at http://www.newpa.com provides the full business guidelines as well as the online application link, and http://www.penncharter.com/taxes provides more details.