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Central Pennsylvania families benefit from Educational Improvement Tax Credit funds

A check was presented Thursday at Nittany Christian School, giving $64,000 in scholarship money to central Pennsylvania families. (WJAC)

STATE COLLEGE - A check was presented Thursday at Nittany Christian School, giving $64,000 in scholarship money to central Pennsylvania families.

The money comes from the Bridge Educational Foundation, which is made possible by our state's Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.

The Educational Improvement Tax Credit program in Pennsylvania is designed to let businesses receive credit for donating to organizations that help low or middle income families with tuition costs for school.

Those involved with the program said this allows freedom of choice for parents to be able to give their child the education they need.

"Every child is different. So, it's important for the parents to be able to have options, to pick what's best for their child,” said Sen. Jake Corman (R-34th District). “My children go to the traditional public school, and they do well there. But, all children don't necessarily do well in a public school. So this gives them other options and empowers the parents to figure out what is best for their child."

Sending a child to a private school to fit their needs can be costly. That's where this program comes into play.

Local businesses, instead of sending a check to the state, can donate to organizations like Bridge that then send the money onto educational needs throughout the state.

"The scholarships go to help kids with tuition or in some cases, they go to help fund unique programs for public schools," said Natalie Nutt, executive director for the Bridge Educational Foundation.

Now, the Centre County region has $64,000 to make those things happen here. One parent who directly relies on this program said it's allowed her to make the right choice for her children.

"We could not financially afford to put our kids in private school. This ability allows us to be a part of a family, a very small family, and EITC funds allow us to give our kids an opportunity that is significant and builds an education for them for their future," said Cheryl Gigante, a mother of four children.

Legislators also said it's a good way for business and communities to see exactly where their tax dollars are going.

"They're going to pay tax dollars one way or another. But here, they're having some say of where it's going to go. They're investing in a future that benefits all of us," said Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-171st District).

Officials said families who are interested to see if they qualify for this program or want to learn more can contact their schools directly.

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