South Carolina’s ECENC helps students with special needs attend credentialed private schools. Parents can chose either tuition tax credits or scholarships funded by Exceptional SC.
“Exceptional Needs Students” are those eligible either to receive scholarships from Exceptional SC, or for whom tuition tax credits may be claimed.
As defined by the ECENC, “exceptional needs children” are either those who have been designated by the South Carolina State Department of Education to meet the requirements of CFR Part A Section 300.8, or those who’ve been designated eligible to receive grants by a third party expert.
Option I. Public School Designation
Evidence of eligiblity issued by a public school district include: a Multi-Disciplinary Team Report, an Individualized Education Plan, an Individualized Service Plan, an Eligibility Determination Letter, as well as a letter issued by the district specifically indicatiing the child’s eliglity for the ECENC. In all cases, the document must be dated within the last three years.
Option II. Third Party Designation
The alternative is determination by a private expert. The student must have been diagnosed within the last three years by a licensed speech-language pathologist, psychiatrist, or medical, mental health, psycho-educational, or other comparable licensed healthcare provider as having a neurodevelopmental disorder; a substantial sensory or physical impairment (such as deaf, blind, or orthopedic disability); or some other disability or acute or chronic condition that significantly impedes the student’s ability to learn and succeed in school without specialized instructional and associated supports and services tailored to the child’s unique needs.
Exceptional SC requires this form from applicants providing Option II eligibility.
Families seeking Tuition Tax Credits make their payment for the student to attend an eligible school. Then, they complete and submit a TC-57A credit reservation form to the Department of Revenue (DOR). They need to keep that proof of student eligibility, as well as the tuition receipts, as they would other important tax documents, such as W-2s and Form 1098s.
Families seeking grants from Exceptional SC will need to provide that proof of student eligibility to the Fund -not the school- when applying for the scholarship.
Yes, the ECENC scholarships and tuition tax credits can cover transportation expenses. If the eligible school charges transportation to and from school with the tuition, then it can be considered in the credit claimed, or scholarship application.
If your child is attending a public school during the day but is also attending an after school program geared for exceptional needs children at a certified private school, she is not eligible for the scholarships or credits. Eligible students must attend an approved private school, at which the compulsory attendance requirements of Section 59-65-10 are meet.