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(Columbia, SC) The South Carolina Corporate Collation for Community Service announced yesterday that it signed the Access Opportunity Best Practices Pledge, a voluntary commitment for scholarship providers participating in the special needs scholarship program.

The Corporate Collation is a special type of non-for-profit, and serves as a scholarship provider (or “SFO”) in South Carolina’s new tax credit funded grant program for exceptional needs students. The group issues grants for students enrolling at private K-12 schools that offer special services for challenged children. These grants can pay for tuition, textbooks and transportation costs at certain state-authorized independent schools.

The Collation was established to provide families with educational and economic alternatives in South Carolina. “The effort is in response to the growing needs and interest for educational, corporate and community based groups to collaborate” explained Coalition Board President Dr. Glen Jones “and to afford students that reside in the K5 through 12th grade educational system educational choice.”  “We intend to provide grants with a specific emphasis on outreach to families of the most serious special needs students and with a particular focus on communities of color,” Dr. Jones continued.

South Carolina’s new program, “Educational Credits for Exceptional Needs Children,” (or “ECENC”) allows private taxpayers to fund these grants for students with special learning needs. Like dozens of parental choice programs in other states, the goal is to help all parents gain access to schools that meet the individual learning needs of their child.

The Corporate Collation is now the third SFO to sign the Access Opportunity South Carolina (AOSC) Best Practices pledge, a voluntary set of standards above and beyond the legal requirements SFOs are held to under the terms of Educational Credits program. The AOSC Best Practices Pledge includes a commitment by the signatory SFOs to hold their employees, volunteers, and contractors to the same high standards the ECENC already requires of their Board of Directors. That includes a strict prohibition against felons, bankruptcy filers and the parents of grant recipients.  “Advance Carolina” and “The St. Thomas Aquinas SFO” are the other two scholarships providers who have made that commitment.

Both individual and corporate donors to the Corporate Collation for Community Service are eligible for state income tax credits. These contributors can claim a dollar for dollar credit for up to 60 percent of their one-year state tax liability. They are not allowed to designate a specific student or school as beneficiary of the grant.

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