Proposed cuts could impact Catholic education
for students in need


RICHMOND, Va. – Millions of dollars are at stake for thousands of students who rely on the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credit (EISTC) program to attend private schools.

The Virginia House and Senate have released their respective changes to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposed budget. The Senate budget recommends reducing the cap for the amount of tax credits issued under EISTC to $12 million for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. The current cap is $25 million, meaning the amendment would cut more than half that amount.

The Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC), the public policy advocacy arm of Virginia’s two bishops, is urging everyone to tell their legislators to reject this amendment and keep the cap at $25 million. A link on the VCC website would allow constituents to send a pre-written message directly to their state delegate and senator.

Thousands of students across Virginia benefit from the EISTC program. In the Diocese of Richmond, more than 1,300 students in Catholic schools received EISTC funding in the last fiscal year. The majority of them – 1,060 – attended diocesan schools. Fewer than 300 attended private Catholic schools. The funds for the 2021-2022 school year totaled $14 million.

So far in this school year, scholarship organizations have received donations amounting to more than $15 million in credits issued. That is more than the amount that would be provided under the recommended Senate budget reduction.

The VCC says demand is expected to increase for EISTC as both chambers of the General Assembly have taken action to broaden eligibility to qualify for the program.

The EISTC program began in 2012, providing scholarships for students whose family meets certain federal poverty guidelines.

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