Licking County News

State offers need-based kindergarten scholarships

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A new state program will provide lower-income families access to kindergarten scholarships to attend private schools such as Liberty Christian Academy, school officials say.

According to a Liberty Christian Academy press release, 2,000 scholarships are available statewide for the 2013-14 school year.

Successful applicants would receive scholarships of $4,250 for tuition at a participating private school. Scholarships can be renewed each year through grade-level graduations.

The new program is all about providing options to parents, said Lisa Evenson, Liberty Christian Academy development director.

While the local Southwest Licking and Licking Heights public school districts provide a solid education, Evenson said, some parents are looking for something different.

"We (provide) a Christ-centered education," Evenson said.

She said Liberty Christian Academy is nondenominational and not funded by any specific church.

"Tuition is our primary income," Evenson said.

Any family whose income is at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines is eligible to apply for the kindergarten scholarships.

For example, a family of four with an annual household income at or below $46,100 would be eligible to apply, according to the application's income-information chart. Estimates can be made by adding $7,920 for each member of the family to the basic income.

Families can access the scholarship applications on the Ohio Department of Education's website or at a direct link from School Choice Ohio, a statewide organization promoting education options for Ohio children, at scohio.org/apply.

The application and all supporting documents must be postmarked by 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 31.

Evenson said the scholarships will be awarded in mid-August.

Liberty Christian Academy now is accepting students for all three of the academy's kindergarten classes, Evenson said.

She said even though the scholarships would not cover the entire cost of tuition, they would be excellent assistance to parents looking for a private education for their kindergartners.

The income-based scholarship program was signed into law June 30 by Gov. John Kasich as part of the state budget bill.

For the 2014-15 school year, the program will expand and families of first-grade students as well as kindergartners will be eligible to apply.

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