Ekram Ibrahim is a first-generation college student from West Philadelphia. As a K-8 scholarship recipient, the support laid the foundation for her educational journey. She attended the West Philadelphia School of Islamic Education and credits her time there – coupled with her dedicated support system and network of mentors – to the educational opportunities she has since received.
Ibrahim is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania. In a speech at the recent Philadelphia Children’s Scholarship Fund Legacy Gala and 20th Anniversary Celebration, where she won the Distinguished Alumni Award, Ibrahim shared:
“Education has always been important to my family and me. However, access to quality education and resources was not something I had at my disposal. The scholarship enabled my parents to send my siblings and me to a private school where I had many opportunities to advance my academic journey and work towards success.
Ibrahim is just one example of a student who received a tax-credit scholarship. Its success is extraordinary, but it shouldn’t be. We know there are thousands of students in Philadelphia who deserve and could benefit from scholarships but cannot access them. Each year, we turn away thousands of deserving Philadelphia students whose lives could be transformed through education.
Stock exchanges work. Almost all (98%) of students who receive our scholarships graduate from high school on time and 70% enroll in college. With more funds available for Pennsylvania students like Ibrahim, we will continue to invest in the bright future of even more Philadelphia students.
On July 8, Governor Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s 2022-23 fiscal budget, which includes a $125 million increase to the Education Enhancement Tax Credit, Scholarship Tax Credit similar studies and programs.
These programs, which allow Pennsylvania businesses to earn state tax credits in exchange for contributing to an accredited scholarship organization, are having an indelible impact on thousands of students in Philadelphia and around the whole Commonwealth. This is the largest increase in the program’s history – more than double last year’s $40 million increase – and will provide approximately 31,000 additional K-12 students with scholarships to the school of their choice. We thank Governor Wolf and the General Assembly for providing this additional funding.
Tax credit scholarships benefit students who need safe, quality school options the most. In Philadelphia, approximately one in four students in parochial and private schools from kindergarten through eighth grade receive scholarships from the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia, through current tax credit programs to help pay for school tuition in their choice. According to the most recent data available from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 65% of private schools in Philadelphia serve low-income students, and more than half of those schools serve a student population of which at least 50% is low-income. revenue.
As Philadelphia’s largest K-8 scholarship organization, we primarily serve students of color. About 5,500 students received one of our scholarships during the last academic year. Three out of four of our students live in the city’s worst-performing public school districts. The average annual household income of families of students who receive our scholarship is $40,000.
The bottom line is that tax credit scholarships in Philadelphia benefit underfunded students who would otherwise attend an underperforming school. Program results prove that scholarships work.
Keisha Jordan is President and CEO of Philadelphia Children’s Scholarship Fund. @csfphiladelphia