Must students submit a scholarship application each year?
Yes. In addition, the School Tuition Organization (STO) is statutorily required to collect income information every year from all scholarship recipients as they are required to report annually to the state the amount of scholarships awarded by income level. This information is provided by the parent on the Income Declaration Form.
Are foster children accounted for differently when reporting household income?
Yes. The income for the family with whom the foster child is living should not be considered. For a foster child, the only income considered is the amount of the foster child’s “personal use” income. The foster child’s income can be from a part-time job held by the child, or from any funds provided to the child for the child’s personal use. The income from the family with whom the foster child is living should not be considered. If a household where a foster child resides applies for a scholarship for a non-foster child, the foster child may be included as a household member any personal income received by the foster child is reportable.
Must a student live in Arizona to be eligible for a School Tuition Organization (STO) scholarship?
Are there age requirements for kindergarten students?
Yes. Private school kindergarten students must meet the same age requirement as public schools. Arizona requires that children must be 5 years old as of September 1, though a school district governing board may allow admitting children into kindergarten who will reach the age of 6 by January 1.
My child has a disability. What do I need to provide to the STO?
A disability is defined in A.R.S. § 43-1601 as a student who has a hearing impairment, a visual impairment, severe delay in speech/language impairment, or development delay. The parent should provide documentation from the public school on the child’s disabilities. The documentation must indicate a disability this is mentioned in A.R.S. §43-1601. The document should specifically name the applicable disability(ies). This documentation would be in the form of an IEP (Individual Education Plan), MET (Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team), or ISP (Individual Service Plan) issued by the Arizona public school district. A 504 plan does not meet the requirement.
Are homeschool students eligible for a scholarship? What if the homeschool student is taking some classes at a private school?
Homeschool students are not eligible for STO scholarships. Students must be enrolled in private school full-time to receive an STO scholarship. Homeschool students by definition would not be enrolled in private school full-time.
Are online private schools considered qualified (scholarship-eligible) schools?
Only if the online private school is located in Arizona and the student that is enrolled lives in Arizona. The student must be enrolled full time in the online school. The school must provide instruction, classes, grades, credits and promotion to the next grade etc., and not through a third party correspondence program.
Are hybrid (teacher-parent integrated instructional approach) private schools considered qualified (scholarship-eligible) schools?
A.R.S. §15-802 (G) (3) requires a private school to provide academic instruction “for at least the same number of days and hours each year as a public school.” A.R.S. § 15-901 requires kindergarten through twelfth grade to meet for 180 days or the instructional hours prescribed in the section. If the hybrid school instructional hours provided by the private school teachers (and not the parents) add up to the required instructional hours, it is possible that the school may qualify.
Can an STO award a scholarship for tuition for a prior academic year?
Can an STO award a scholarship for tuition that the school considers past due?
Scholarships paid can ONLY apply to the current year tuition. As long as the school year is not over, the STO may award a scholarship for the unpaid tuition.
What happens if a scholarship is awarded for a full year and part of the year has already been paid by an individual?
The school must refund the tuition already paid back to the individual who made the tuition payment OR the school must return the amount of the scholarship that exceeds the tuition balance to the STO.
What if multiple STOs provide a scholarship to the same student, resulting in total scholarship equaling more than the tuition for the academic year?
If the parent has already paid part of the tuition for the academic year, the school may refund that partial tuition paid to the parent. If the parent has not paid part of the tuition or if there is still excess scholarship money for the academic year after a refund to the parent, the school must return that excess money to one or all of the STOs paying scholarships and may not be rolled-over to the next academic year. The amount of scholarships paid from all STOs for one student cannot exceed the amount of tuition for that academic year.
If a student leaves a private school can the school keep the unused tuition scholarship and apply it to another student or roll-over the amount to the next year?
No. Any unused scholarship amounts must be returned to the STO. The private school does not have a part in deciding award amounts to students.
What school costs are covered by an STO scholarship?
The scholarship cover tuition only. If the school’s tuition covers fees that apply to ALL students such as application fees, registration fees, facility fees, these amounts can be covered by the scholarship.
Can a student receive a scholarship to study abroad?
Can a student scholarship be applied to a dual enrollment high school/college course?
Yes, if the dual enrollment course is taught by the high school and the scholarship applies only to the high school portion of the tuition. Any portion of the tuition that is for the cost of the college credit may not be covered by scholarship monies.
Can a taxpayer direct his or her donation to benefit his/her dependent?
No. A dependent is either a “qualifying child” or “qualifying relative” as defined under Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code. https://irc.bloombergtax.com/public/uscode/doc/irc/section_152
Can a donation have a student recommendation?
Yes. However, the intended primary benefit of a donation is that the taxpayer is allowed by the state to redirect his/her donation to an STO and in turn receive tax credit against his/her state tax liability. The donation cannot be made on the condition that a particular student is guaranteed of a scholarship based on donor recommendation, nor can the STO give a scholarship solely on the basis of recommendation. A.R.S. §43-1603 (B) (4)
Are donor names revealed to scholarship recipients?
No. Arizona Adventist Scholarships maintains the anonymity of all donors. This is to prevent the impression that the money donated to the STO will always be used for the student beneficiary recommended by the donor.
A.R.S. §43-1603 (B) (3)