A fund through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is helping families with a tuition break at local Catholic schools.
And money going into the Second Century Scholarship Fund is coming from local businesses.
Through the commonwealth’s educational improvement tax credit program, businesses can contribute funds to local schools for a chance at a tax break.
EITC founded in 2001
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The initiative was established in the spring of 2001 through the state’s Department of Community & Economic Development.
Credits can be applied against tax liability of a business for the year when the contribution was made.
According to the EITC website, that includes personal income, capital stock and foreign franchise, corporate net income, bank shares, title insurance and trust company shares, insurance premium, mutual thrift and malt beverage tax.
The Second Century Scholarship Fund was founded in the summer of 2001 to put monies from businesses that participate in the EITC program specifically toward financial assistance for families whose children attend Catholic schools within the diocese, Director of Development Chris Ringkamp said.
Ringkamp said monies collected each year are then distributed to schools within their eight-county region based on eligibility.
At a breakfast conference Wednesday morning at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center, the diocese and members of Catholic schools within the diocese recognized businesses for their contributions.
Some of the businesses included Stocker Chevrolet, One on One Fitness and Mammoth Inc.
It enables us to provide affordable education, and charges them less than the cost of education per student
Chris Chirieleison, St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy Principal
“It enables us to provide affordable education, and charges them less than the cost of education per student,” St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy Principal Chris Chirieleison said.
More than half the students at the Boalsburg school receive financial assistance, he said.
This school year, St. Joe’s received $88,531 in EITC scholarship money through the Second Century Scholarship Fund, providing 27 students with financial aid.
Total contributions this school year through the EITC program to the Second Century Scholarship Fund exceeded $1.6 million.
Ringkamp said businesses can donate unrestricted funds or direct their contributions to a school.
He said donations have been as little as $250 and as high as about $80,000.
EITC business application
July 1: Deadline for new businesses applying for the EITC program
Deadline passed for current businesses in the EITC program wanting to reapply for a two-year EITC commitment
By the numbers
A look at how Second Century Scholarship Fund tax contributions benefit students
$110,137 is given to 95 recipients ($1,160 average per student) at Our Lady of Victory School
$38,728 is given to 41 recipients ($945 average per student) at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School
$88,531 is given to 27 recipients ($3,279 average per student) at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy
Throughout the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese
$1,717,328: total contributions in the 2014-15 fiscal year
$1,637,234: total awarded scholarships in the 2015-16 academic year
1,694 total scholarships awarded
$966 average scholarship amount