Supporting Students: EITC scholarship support from Cordray Corporation

 

Support for scholarships at Penn Charter makes access to an excellent education possible for talented students with limited means.

Cordray Corporation, owned by Peter Cordray OPC ’91, has supported Penn Charter for four years through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC). Under the program, businesses can donate up to $750,000 to eligible schools and educational programs to support scholarships for Pennsylvania children. In return, businesses receive a direct credit on their state income tax bill of up to 90 percent of their donation to be applied to their state income tax liability. The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (OSTC) supports scholarships for students in low-income households coming from underperforming schools. Penn Charter is eligible to receive both EITC and OSTC donations.

Peter Cordray OPC ’91, with wife Kelly and children Molly
​​and Will, has a deep appreciation for Quaker education at PC.

“I am thrilled to support Penn Charter and give others the educational opportunities I had. EITC is a very powerful tool to do both,” Peter Cordray said.

Cordray Corporation, based in King of Prussia, is a manufacturer and distributor of fasteners and wire harnesses and assemblies. Both manufacturing and Penn Charter run in the family. Henry Cordray OPC ’58, Peter’s father, started Cordray Corporation as a sales representative firm. Like Henry before him, Peter worked for his own father when he joined the company; he later expanded Cordray Corporation into manufacturing. Henry, who died in 2004, was beloved to PC and especially the class of 1958. The family ties to PC run deep—Peter’s uncle is John W. (Jim) Cordray OPC ’64.

These days, Peter lives in Wayne with his family. Growing up, he lived in Berwyn and traveled the 20 miles to East Falls every day. “It was a long way,” Cordray recalled, “but I got a ride from a teacher who lived nearby. I still love the Quaker aspect of Penn Charter. I think the school balances athletics and academics appropriately, and I appreciate the natural diversity of the school, its history and style of education. Absolutely I would send my children to Penn Charter if we lived closer, but I enjoy returning to campus whenever my kids have a game at PC.”

Peter’s desire to support scholarships at Penn Charter by participating in EITC was almost derailed this year by the political fight over the state budget in Harrisburg. “It was a rocky road last year,” Cordray said. “Traditionally, charitable contributions must be postmarked by Dec. 31, but the legislature hadn’t passed a budget by year’s end and funds for EITC were not approved.”

Patience and perseverance by Cordray and the 19 other donors who made EITC and OSTC gifts to Penn Charter have a significant impact on the school. “One of the key objectives of financial aid is diversity—of all kinds—of the school,” said Allan Brown, director of financial aid. “EITC support has been critical in helping us advance that goal.”

In fact, the budget battle between the Pennsylvania Legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf dragged out into February. “In order to make the gift, I needed the standard letter of approval of my tax allocation from the Department of Revenue,” Cordray said, “and I didn’t get one until February.” When the letter arrived, Cordray made his EITC gift to Penn Charter, to Baldwin (where his wife attended), and to Haverford and Agnes Irwin. “It was a little strange, making a contribution two months after the tax year closed, but the Legislature did allow EITC donors to do that.”

EITC gifts play an important role in PC’s ability to attract and educate the most talented students, no matter their financial situation. “The process with the state this year was a slog, but supporting students is absolutely worth it,” Cordray said.

Does your company or employer operate in Pennsylvania and pay any of these taxes? 

• Corporate Net Income Tax
• Capital Stock Franchise Tax
• Bank and Trust Company Shares Tax
• Title Insurance Companies Shares Tax
• Insurance Premiums Tax
• Mutual Thrift Institution Tax
• Personal Income Tax

If so, the business may be eligible to participate in two state tax-credit programs that make it possible to redirect tax dollars to Penn Charter for financial aid. The application process is easy, and the benefits to the school and to deserving students are significant.

What are EITC and OSTC? 

Enacted by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2001, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) provides a tax credit to businesses that pay Pennsylvania’s corporate income tax for contributions to scholarship organizations that give private-school scholarships to eligible children.

In August 2012, Pennsylvania created a second program—the Opportunity School Tax Credit (OSTC)—to offer further support for students whose neighborhood public school is low-achieving.

The EITC and OSTC programs enable a Pennsylvania business to direct up to $750,000 of its Pennsylvania state tax dollars directly to Penn Charter’s scholarship program. Tax credits are given for 75 percent of a one- year gift and 90 percent of gifts given in two consecutive years. Last year, tax-credit gifts to PC ranged from $1,000 to $400,000.

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