Catholic Opportunities Scholarship Fund

Catholic Opportunities Scholarship Fund

The Catholic Schools Opportunity Scholarship Fund will allow many young people in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City the opportunity to attend their local Catholic school. In 2005, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, "It is the responsibility of the entire Catholic community...to strive towards making Catholic elementary and secondary schools...affordable to all Catholic parents, including the poor and middle class".

Key findings in a recent Archdiocesan study of Catholic schools found:

• Catholic education affordability is a major challenge
• Tuition costs are growing at or greater than cost of living.

The Archdiocesan Plan Recommendations include:

• Reinforce the mission for all Catholics to support Catholic Education
• Improve affordability by increasing funds available, especially to those in need
• Aggressively pursue funding available through a State Tuition tax credit
• Seek ways to improve enrollment at schools that have excess capacity

Many Catholics have recognized the urgency to establish need-based scholarships for Catholic students to attend Catholic elementary schools and high schools in the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese has established this program under the Catholic Schools Opportunity Scholarship Fund, Inc., a separate not-for-profit entity, designed to organize, raise funds for and administer need-based scholarships for Catholic students to attend Catholic Schools. Such a program is funded by annual contributions to the program from individuals, corporations or other organizations.

The Scholarship Program, with the guidance and approval of the Archdiocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools, accepts applications from Catholic students of the Archdiocese who wish to attend Catholic schools within the Archdiocese; it evaluates applications for appropriate need, consults with pastors and principals as to acceptability and makes determinations in a fair and impartial manner based on the resources available.

In 2011, the Oklahoma Legislature passed and the governor signed the Equal Opportunity Scholarship Act that provides for a 50% income tax credit to be given for donations to a Scholarship-Granting Organization. The Catholic Schools Opportunity Scholarship Fund, Inc. serves in this capacity and also makes your tax-deductible contribution eligible for a state income tax credits.

Please consider becoming a partner in the growth and support of Catholic education. Whether your gift is $100, $500, $1000 or $2000, your donation will help ensure that children who don't have the opportunity for Catholic education will be able to attend their local Catholic school. These Catholic schools afford the fullest and best opportunity to realize the fourfold purpose of Christian education, namely to provide an atmosphere in which the Gospel message is proclaimed, community in Christ is experienced, service to our sisters and brothers is the norm, and thanksgiving and worship of our God is cultivated. Help us pass along the Catholic faith through a strong Catholic education to as many children as we can. The power is in your hands.

NEW FOR 2015: The Tax Credit Law has been amended, beginning in 2015. If you make a 3-year pledge to the Fund, your income tax credit for the first year will be 75% of your gift amount. The gift amounts for the 2nd and 3rd year continue to qualify for the 50% income tax credit.

NEW FOR 2016: The Tax Credit Law has been amended again, beginning with donations made after January 1, 2016, if you make a 2-year pledge, both year's gifts are eligible for the 75% tax credit.

Our Best Advice is to make a one-year pledge in 2015 and receive the 50% tax credit and then, in 2016, make a two-year pledge and qualify to receive a 75% tax credit both years. The Oklahoma Tax Commission will not allow the 75% tax credit in 2016 and 2017 if you have made a three-year pledge in 2015.

Click here to make your contribution to the Catholic Opportunities Scholarship Fund.