A school choice program that allows businesses to make tax write offs for donating to education scholarships had a banner year in 2016.
The program received $385,662 in donations last year, according to an annual report filed with the state’s Department of Revenue Administration. That’s a 77 percent increase from the $217,199 in donations the program saw in 2015.
Passed in 2012, the education tax credit program allows companies to give donations for scholarships and claim 85 percent off their business taxes.
Organizations then give that scholarship money to families; most use it to help cover the cost of tuition at private, religious schools or to fund home school programs.
Speaking to lawmakers earlier this month, Children’s Scholarship Fund executive director Kate Baker says her program has benefited 265 Granite State children.
“And we prioritize our scholarships based on highest financial need, taking into consideration income and family size,” she said.
In 2016, the school with the most students benefiting from the program was Concord Christian Academy, with 24. Those scholarships ranged from $1,668 to $4646.
Portsmouth Christian Academy, Bishop Brady High School in Concord, Laconia Christian School, and Mount Zion Christian School in Manchester each had more than 10 students receiving scholarships last year, according to the annual report.
Twenty-nine families used scholarships to pay for home school programs.
Lawmakers are now considering legislation to expand the program.
The bill would allow eligible high school students to use the funds for college courses, and would also extend the timeline for businesses to apply for the credit.
Governor Chris Sununu says he supports that measure.