What types of scholarships are available?
ACSTO awards two different scholarships, which are funded by two different tax credits.
Original Scholarships are funded through the Original Individual Tax Credit Law, enacted in 1997 as A.R.S. 43-1089. Any student enrolled in a private school in grades K-12 (or a preschooler with disabilities) qualifies for this scholarship.
Overflow Scholarships are funded by the Switcher tax credit law which took effect in August of 2012 as ARS 43-1089.03. To be eligible, students must fall under one of the following categories.
- The student attended an Arizona district or charter school for at least 90 days in the prior school year, then transferred to a private school.
- The student is currently enrolled in Kindergarten at a private school.
- The student is a dependent of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who is stationed in Arizona under military orders.
- The student previously received an Overflow or Corporate scholarship in a prior year, and has attended private school continuously since.
Beginning with the '21-'22 academic year, eligibility prerequisites have been expanded to include:
- The student was homeschooled immediately prior to enrolling in a private school.
- The student moved to Arizona from out of state immediately prior to enrolling in a private school.
- The student participated in the ESA program and did not renew or accept the scholarship in order to accept STO scholarships.
(ACSTO does not award Corporate Scholarships; visit our sister organization at schoolchoicearizona.org for more information.)
How do I receive a scholarship for my child?
Parents need to apply for scholarships through their Parent Portal account. Once you create an account, you will be able to apply online, update family information, view award history, and be notified about award decisions.
You may also print an application. Submit the completed application to us by mail, fax, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your application is used for both Original and Overflow Scholarships. We have multiple award cycles each school year; only one application is required per school year. Application Deadlines can be found here.
ACSTO can only make an award if your student is enrolled at the school named on the application.
Applications expire at the end of the school year shown on the application, regardless of when they are received.
How are scholarships awarded and what factors are considered?
Please keep in mind that, per the tax credit laws, scholarships are not guaranteed.
Our Selection Committees consider three factors when making award decisions:
- The Financial Circumstances of the student's family
(This is a required factor by state law. It is held in strictest confidence.)
- A Narrative provided by the parents
- Donor Recommendations received for the student
Every student who has a current application on file, is enrolled, and meets the qualifications of each type of scholarship is considered. If a student does not receive an award, it is simply because there weren’t enough funds during that award cycle to go around.
What if my student receives an award but transfers to another school?
As long as the new school is a private Christian School in Arizona that partners with ACSTO, the unused portion will follow the student. Otherwise, any remaining scholarship amount would be awarded among other students at that school. For a list of our Partner Schools, click here.
May a student receive funds from more than one STO?
Yes, we encourage you to apply for any opportunities available. Our number one goal is for you to be able to afford a Christian Education for your child.
If my student receives Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) money from the Arizona Department of Education, can they also receive a scholarship from ACSTO?
The ESA statute (A.R.S. 15-2402 (B)(3)) requires that while a parent has a contract with the ESA program, a student cannot accept ESA and STO money for the same period. If a parent chooses to end their ESA contract during the school year, there is no conflict if the student receives an STO scholarship for the remainder of the academic year.
Are scholarships awarded to families?
Per the Arizona Department of Revenue, scholarship awards are only given to individual students. There are no family accounts. These awards are non-transferable, even within the same family.