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Welcome!

Welcome, school leader, to your resource for leveraging Missouri’s inaugural MOScholars scholarship program.

As you are probably aware, on July 14, 2021 Governor Mike Parson signed HB349 creating Missouri’s MOScholars scholarship program. It is likely that some of your students will qualify for this $6,375/yr. scholarship.

This portion of our website is designed to educate you and your constituents about the MOScholars program, help you determine the legislation’s impact on your mission, and propose ways to engage stakeholders to maximize program benefits.

We have broken this page down into three sections:

The Basics for School Leaders

The Two Minute Drill

This short video will give you the basic facts about MOScholars Scholarships and how they can help your students in just 2 minutes!

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The Deep Dive

If you would like get an even more in-depth understanding of how Missouri's new MOScholars scholarship program will work please feel free to read the underlying laws that were passed in 2021 to create the MOScholars program.

These include:

  1. HB 349 (the main law creating the program)
     

  2. SB 86 (a second bill that was passed modifying the program)
     

  3. The MOScholars scholarship program will be managed by the Missouri Treasurer's Office, and their official site for the program can be found here.

  • Who is eligible to participate in the MO Scholars program?
    Any elementary or secondary student who is a resident of the state and resides in a county with a charter form of government or a city with more than 30,000 residents is eligible. This includes: Jackson, Jefferson, St. Charles, Clay, and St. Louis counties, as well as the cities of Columbia, St. Joseph, Joplin, Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Liberty, and the City of St. Louis. A student meeting the geographical requirements must either: Have an approved "individualized education plan" (IEP) developed under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The term “individualized education plan” means: An individualized education program (IEP) as defined in 20 U.S.C. §1414(d)(I)(A)(i); or An individual service plan (ISP) that is developed in cooperation with a local educational agency under the IDEA, specifically those provisions pertaining to parentally placed private school children found in 20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(10) and 34 CFR §300.132(b). Any IEP or ISP that is proffered for program eligibility must be dated within thirty-six months of the date of the student’s application to the program. Students with ISPs that are not developed under the IDEA are not eligible. OR • Live in a household whose total annual income does not exceed 100% of the free and reduced lunch rate; and, Attended a public school as a full-time student for at least one (1) semester during the previous twelve (12) months; or Is a child who is eligible to begin kindergarten or first grade. If funding remains available after all students who meet these qualifications have been served, then the next category of qualified student is any student who: Is a member of a household whose total annual income does not exceed 200% of the standard used to qualify for free and reduced lunches and meets at least one of the following qualifications: Attended a public school as a full-time student for at least one (1) semester during the previous twelve (12) months; or Is a child who is eligible to begin kindergarten or first grade. Once enrolled in the program, students remain eligible for MOScholars scholarships until withdrawing from school or graduating high school. Once enrolled in the program, students remain eligible for MOScholars scholarships until withdrawing from school or graduating high school. (*first preference will be given to families at or below 100%)
  • Are students who are currently enrolled in a private school with an IEP eligible to receive the scholarship?
    The legislation prioritizes students who have an Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”) developed under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The term “individualized education plan” means: An individualized education program (IEP) as defined in 20 U.S.C. §1414(d)(I)(A)(i); or An individual service plan (ISP) that is developed in cooperation with a local educational agency under the IDEA, specifically those provisions pertaining to parentally placed private school children found in 20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(10) and 34 CFR §300.132(b). Any IEP or ISP that is proffered for program eligibility must be dated within thirty-six months of the date of the student’s application to the program. Students with ISPs that are not developed under the IDEA are not eligible.
  • When and how can parents of prospective students apply?
    The MOScholars program is new this year and still developing, please know that you may encounter some challenges during your application process. Also, the money for the MOScholars awards is still being raised by the Education Assistance Organizations (EAO). Here is what we recommend you do: 1. Pick your school We have compiled a list of all the schools that currently have a relationship with an EAO. If you can't find your school on the list, it is still possible for your school to connect with an EAO. Call your school and urge them to connect with one of the approved EAOs. Even if you have not selected your school yet OR your school is not on the list, go ahead and pick an EAO that serves your area and interests from this list and complete the pre-qualifying form. 2. Go to the appropriate EAO website to apply You will find a pre-qualification (or pre-application) form that you must first fill out. If you qualify for a MOScholars scholarship, the EAO will send you a follow up email with a link to the actual MOScholars application. Fill out that application as soon as you can as the scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. ​ If you would like to learn more about how the program will work for families we recommend you download and read the Parent Handbook that has been produced by the State Treasurer's Office.
  • How do we connect interested families to the program?
    Families interested in the program should visit ShowMeSchoolOptions.org to learn more about the program and to sign up for updates on when scholarship applications will be available. You can also direct families with specific questions to Cici Tompkins at 314-561-8646 or by email at cici@ceamteam.org.
  • How do individuals and corporations donate to receive the tax credit? Is this a dollar-for-dollar credit?
    Any taxpayer who makes a qualifying contribution to an educational assistance organization (EAO) may claim a dollar-for-dollar (i.e., 100%) credit against state taxes due, not to exceed 50% of the taxpayer’s state tax liability for the tax year for which the credit is claimed. Beginning July 1, 2022 and January 1 every year thereafter, a taxpayer (incl. individuals, firms, corporations, etc.) may apply for the tax credit by visiting the treasurer’s official website and completing the online application for tax credit allocation for contributions to a certified educational assistance organization.
  • What are the requirements and implications for schools that accept students who use MOScholars scholarships for some or all of their tuition?
    A public school, charter school, private school, or a public or private virtual school shall satisfy the following requirements to be considered a qualified school: Full accreditation by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or a nationally recognized education accrediting association. A list of approved nationally recognized education accrediting associations will be made available on the treasurer’s official website; AND Approval from one or more certified education assistance organizations (EAOs). Qualified schools will accept payment from the parent not the state. The law clearly states that accepting students with ESA scholarships shall not be construed to permit any governmental agency to exercise control or supervision over any qualified school and that qualified schools shall not be considered an agent of the state or federal government due to its acceptance of the payment. The law also specifies that qualified schools shall not be required to alter creed, practices, admissions policy, curriculum, etc.
  • Won’t dollar-for-dollar tax credits offered by EAOs divert contributions away from our school’s fundraising efforts?
    The program is created to promote educational opportunities and improve the quality of educational services to ensure all children receive the high-quality education to which they are entitled. House Bill No. 349 specifies that a taxpayer who makes a contribution to an EAO shall not designate the student who will receive a scholarship grant. Furthermore, the treasurer’s office will prohibit an EAO both from having officers who own or operate one of the program’s qualified schools and from providing scholarship accounts to children of its officers or employees. The intent of the legislation is to empower families who need it the most with the dollars necessary to exercise true choice. Schools will benefit in terms of both opportunities to deliver more fully on their mission and in the reallocation of financial aid as students with the greatest need arrive with significantly greater means than in the past. Addiitonally, since the donations to the program provide a 100 percent credit on tax liablity, donors can make donations directly to the school as they normally would AND to a local EAO without impacting their bottom line.
FAQ
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Spread the word
Maximizing Program Benefits

We want to make it easy for you to share information about MOScholars scholarships with your families and school community, so we have created several flyers, social media posts, images, and newsletter blurbs you can use to keep them informed about MOScholars scholarships! Please feel free to use any of the material below.

Flyers

The Children's Education Alliance of Missouri has created several flyers that explain how ESA scholarships work. Please feel free to download and share these flyers with your families and school community.

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Copy for Newsletters

Many schools send out a regular newsletter to help keep the communities they serve informed about important issues. These newsletters are a great place to share information about Missouri's new MOScholars scholarship program. To make this easier we have drafted three short blurbs about the program that you can simply copy and paste into your newsletter.  Please feel free to use any or all of these in your upcoming newsletters!

What is a MOScholars Scholarship?

The MOScholars scholarhsip program is a new program designed to give low-income families and students with special needs the financial resources needed to choose an education that fits their specific needs.

 

Under the new program, students who qualify will receive up to $6,375 per year to pay for a wide variety of educational expenses that could include:

  • tuition to a private school

  • tuition to a public charter or district school outside of their assigned school zone

  • tutoring

  • educational therapy  

  • and much more.

 

MOSchoalrs scholarships are not tied to academic performance or school behavior but are instead distributed based on where a student lives and whether or not a student has special needs or lives in a low-income household.

 

To learn more about MOScholars scholarships and find out if your child qualifies please visit www.ShowMeSchoolOptions.org.

Who qualifies for a MOScholars Scholarship?

Does your child qualify for one of the new MOScholars scholarships ?

These new scholarships are not based on academic performance but instead designed to help some of Missouri's most disadvantaged students regardless of school performance or behavior. 

In order to qualify, a student must live in a city with a population of over 30,000, this includes the cities of:

  • St. Louis City

  • Blue Springs

  • Wentzville

  • Saint Peters

  • O’Fallon

  • Cape Girardeau

  • Saint Charles

  • Columbia

  • Springfield

  • Lee’s Summit

  • Liberty

  • Kansas City

  • Jefferson City

  • Wildwood

  • Oakville

  • University City

  • Florissant

  • Chesterfield

  • St. Joseph

  • and Joplin

and these counties:

  • St. Louis County

  • St. Charles County

  • Jefferson County

  • Clay County

  • or Jackson County.

Students living in those areas must also either have an IEP or qualify for up to 200 percent of the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch rate.

To learn more about MOScholars scholarships and find out if your child qualifies please visit www.ShowMeSchoolOptions.org.

Why you should donate to an ESA scholarship fund?

Missouri's new MOScholars scholarships program offers a great way for people to make sure their tax dollars are helping some of Missouri's most disadvantaged students. 

The new program allows donors to make a donation of up to 50 percent of their state tax liability to an Education Assistance Organization (EAO) and receive a 100 percent tax credit in return. EAOs will then use those donations to distribute needs-based scholarships of up to $6,375 to students with special needs and low-income students to pay for K-12 educational expenses.

That means that if you owe $1,000 in taxes to the state of Missouri, you can donate $500 to an EAO to help disadvantaged children improve their educational outcomes and reduce your state tax bill to $500. Essentially, you can ensure that Missouri students have the funding they need to succeed without impacting your bottom line.

To learn more about MOScholars scholarships ​and find out if your child qualifies please visit www.ShowMeSchoolOptions.org.

What can families use MOScholars scholarships to pay for?

Every child learns differently, and a child’s family knows best what educational environment and services will give them the best chance of success.​

​The Missouri MOScholars scholarship program is specifically designed to help these students by giving their families the funding they require to craft a unique educational plan that meets all of their child’s specific needs. When the new program is fully operational, qualifying students will be able to apply for scholarships of up to $6,375 that can be used for a wide range of educational expenses.

MOScholars scholarships can be used to pay for private school expenses and curriculum, tutoring, therapy, transportation, computers, testing, and much more.

The great thing about the MOScholars program is that the family gets to choose how to use the scholarship funds and can pick and choose the services, schools, and more that best suit their child’s needs.

To learn more about MOScholars scholarships and find out if your child qualifies please visit www.ShowMeSchoolOptions.org.

Social Media posts

We hope that you will share information about MOScholrs scholarships on your social media pages and in any Facebook groups you are a member of. To make it easier for you we have created a number of isample posts that you can use to let your network know about how MOScholars scholarships can improve educational opportunities in Missouri! Please feel free to use any of the content below!

Do you have children in <insert school name>'s Pre-K program? Did you know that may automatically qualify them for Missouri's new MOScholars scholarship program which will pay for their tuition when they start Kindergarten? Learn more at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

Do you know someone who could from benefit from sending their children to <insert school name> but can't afford tuition? Make sure they know about Missouri's new MOScholars scholarship program that offers needs-based funding for private school tuition. Learn more at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

Shouldn't more children be able to benefit from the amazing education offered at <insert school name>? Now they can thanks to Missouri's new MOScholars scholarship program! These needs-based scholarships can help students pay for tuition at <insert school name>! Learn more at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

You can help more students benefit from everything <insert school name> offers! Make sure your friends and family know about the new needs-based MOScholars scholarship program and how it can help them pay for tuition to <insert school name>! Learn more at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

Help more children attend <insert school name>! Missouri's new K-12 scholarship program can help more children pay tuition. Learn more at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org #schoolchoice


Wouldn't it be great if more students could have the benefit of attending <insert school name> ? You can help by spreading the word about MOScholars   #scholarships! Learn more at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

Do you want more children to have the same educational opportunities as your kids? Learn more about how MOScholars scholarships can create #educationfreedom at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org 

Do you know someone who can't afford to attend <insert school name> ? Empowerment scholarships could help them get the education of their dreams! Learn more about MOScholars #scholarships at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

Learn more about how Missouri's new K-12 scholarship program can help more children attend <insert school name> at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org #schoolchoice

Help <insert school name> grow by spreading the word about MOScholars #scholarships! MOScholars scholarships can help more families afford tuition! #schoolchoice Learn more at https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

Are you happy with the education your child is receiving at <insert school name>? Learn how MOScholars scholarships can help more families have the same opportunity at  https://www.showmeschooloptions.org #ParentPower

Have kids entering Kindergarten or First grade? Learn how an MOScholars #scholarship can help you send your child to <insert school name> at  https://www.showmeschooloptions.org/

Images to post
Social Media Posts
Copy for newsletters
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