Old Suwanee Christian School to offer scholarships

BUFORD - Old Suwanee Christian School is partnering with the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program to award scholarships to low- and middle-income families with students who wish to enroll in the private school, school officials have announced.

Old Suwanee Christian is one of 74 private K-12 schools in Georgia that participates in the Greater Opportunities for Access to Learning Scholarship Program. Other Gwinnett private schools that participate in the program are Greater Atlanta Christian School, Killian Hill Christian School, Loganville Christian Academy, Notre Dame Academy, Providence Christian Academy and Wesleyan School.

"As the leading Georgia SSO (student scholarship organization), GOAL takes seriously its obligation to run an effective, efficient and ethical scholarship program that will benefit deserving students, private schools and communities around the state," said Lisa Kelly, executive director of the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program. "During the 2009-10 school year, more than 600 GOAL Scholarship recipients are attending the private schools chosen by their parents or guardians."

In 2008, Georgia passed a law that permits taxpayers to take a state income tax credit for amounts contributed to qualified student scholarship organizations, according to a news release. The contributions must be used to provide scholarships to students who desire to transfer from public to a private school or who are eligible to enter pre-K or kindergarten at a private school.

Under the new law, Georgia taxpayers can redirect all or a portion of their Georgia income taxes to GOAL by making a tax-credit eligible contribution and designating that the contribution be used to provide scholarships at Old Suwanee Christian or another eligible institution. Thus, the school will be able to increase the financial aid that it can offer new students, increase school enrollment and increase the funds dedicated to educational offerings.

Individual taxpayers can receive a Georgia income tax credit for contributions to GOAL of up to $1,000, while married couples can contribute up to $2,500 and receive a corresponding tax credit. Meanwhile, "C" corporations may contribute up to 75 percent of their Georgia income tax liability and receive a corresponding state income tax credit. In most cases, a federal charitable income tax deduction is also available.

To make a qualified contribution to GOAL to provide scholarships, taxpayers must follow four steps:

1. File for Approval - Download Georgia Form IT-QEE-TP1 from the GOAL Web site, complete and deliver it to the school for filing with the Georgia Department of Revenue.

2. Receive Approval - If the annual $50 million cap on tuition tax credits has not been exceeded, the Department of Revenue will send the taxpayer their approved form.

3. Contribute - Within 30 days of the Department of Revenue approval date, the taxpayer must contribute to Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program Inc., designating the school in the memo section of their check, which can be delivered, along with a copy of their approved form, to the school for mailing to GOAL. GOAL will send the taxpayer an acknowledgement form that is to be filed with the taxpayer's Georgia income tax return.

4. Take Credit - The taxpayer claims the tax credit on their Georgia income tax return and, if the taxpayer itemizes deductions, takes a corresponding charitable income tax deduction on their federal income tax return.

Complete information about the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program and all required forms are located on the GOAL Web site at www.goalscholarship.org.