MOScholars: FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • MOScholars was established by the Missouri General Assembly in 2021 to provide educational options to Missouri students and families. The law provides for state tax credits for contributions to approved, non-profit Education Assistance Organizations (EAOs). These EAOs use the contributions to award scholarships to eligible Missouri students.
  • MOScholars does not reduce the funding received by a student’s resident school district. Instead, student scholarships are funded with private donations leveraged by state tax credits.
  • Per statute, qualified students, in order of priority, are:
    • Any elementary or secondary school student who is a Missouri resident and resides in an eligible county or city (a county with a charter form of government or any city with at least 30,000 residents who:
      1. Has an approved "individualized education plan" (IEP) developed under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The term “individualized education plan” means:
        1. An individualized education program (IEP) as defined in 20 U.S.C. §1414(d)(I)(A)(i); or
        2. 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
      2. Lives 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:
      1. 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.
  • Income standards for free and reduced lunch are issued by the federal government annually.
  • Eligible expenses include:
    • Tuition and fees at a qualified school;
    • Textbooks required by a qualified school;
    • Educational therapies or services from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider including, but not limited to, licensed or accredited paraprofessionals or educational aides;
    • Tutoring services;
    • Curriculum;
    • Tuition or fees for a private, virtual school;
    • Fees for a nationally standardized norm-referenced achievement test, advanced placement examinations, international baccalaureate examinations, or any examinations related to college or university admission;
    • Fees for management of the Missouri Scholarship Account Program by firms selected by the education assistance organization;
    • Services provided by a public school including, but not limited to, individual classes and extracurricular programs;
    • Computer hardware or other technological devices that are used to help meet the qualified student’s educational needs and that are approved by an educational assistance organization;
    • Fees for summer education programs and specialized after-school education programs;
    • Transportation costs for mileage to and from a qualified school.
  • Scholarships may not be used on the following:
    • Consumable educational supplies included, but not limited to, pens, pencils, paper, markers
    • Tuition at a private school outside the state of Missouri
    • Payments or reimbursements to any person related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to a qualified student
  • This program is under development. Once it has launched, parents and students will apply through the certified EAO that is partnering with their school of choice.
  • An EAO is a nonprofit organization that, after approval by the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office, can receive qualified contributions from individuals and businesses to establish MOScholars scholarship accounts for qualified Missouri students.
  • The 2022 application period for EAO certification is closed. The next application period for EAO certification is expected to open in late fall 2022.
  • For 2022, $25 million in MOScholars tax credits are available.

Eligible donors to the MOScholars program include any of the following that files a Missouri income tax return and is not a dependent of any other taxpayer:

  • An individual subject to state income tax;
  • An individual, firm, partner in a firm, corporation or shareholder in an S-Corp doing business in the state and subject to state income tax; and,
  • An express company that pays an annual tax on its gross receipts in Missouri under chapter 153.
  • This program is still under development. Once launched, EAOs may begin accepting donations.
  • Eligible contributions are monetary donations of $500 or more, including:
    1. Checks drawn on a US banking institution
    2. Money orders
    3. Electronic funds transfers
  • The tax credit is equal to 100% of an eligible donation, not to exceed 50% of the donor’s state tax liability for the tax year the credit is first claimed.
  • MOScholars tax credits may be carried forward for four (4) subsequent tax years.
  • The tax credit is not sellable, transferrable, or refundable.