Â Our Mission Is Our Passion
The Arizona School Choice Trust (ASCT) is a state-approved School Tuition Organization (STO) that exclusively serves low-income children through the administration of three state tax credit scholarship programs–the Individual Tuition Tax Credit Program, the Corporate Tuition Tax Credit Program, and Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Foster students.
The mission of ASCT is to provide hope and opportunity to low-income children as well as low-income children who are also disabled and/or displaced awarding tuition scholarships to attend private elementary and secondary schools (K-12).
We believe that all children have unique learning needs and that it is critical to provide educational options to our state’s underprivileged, disabled and foster children. A strong educational base is the foundation for greatness and allows our youth to achieve their full potential.
The Power of Choice
In 1991, Jack and Isabelle McVaugh were captivated by the Wall Street Journal’s profile on Pat Rooney. Rooney, chairman of the board of Golden Rule Insurance Company at the time of the article, encouraged the state legislature to fund private school tuition with state resources. When his attempt did not succeed, the Indiana billionaire created a privately funded school choice scholarship program for students from low-income families in Indina.
After reading the article, Jack and Isabelle McVaugh, recent Arizona retirees, were impressed with what they read about Rooneyâs initiative. The McVaugh’s were fortunate to be able to afford to send their children to the best schools possible, but knew that some families, especially with lower incomes, did not have the same opportunity. Their vision was to enhance K-12 education for all Arizona school children by giving parents freedom to choose the school that best met their children’s needs, regardless of income.
On May 11, 1993, with the help of friends and associates, ASCT was established. The initial program served Maricopa County residents whose household income qualified for the federal free and reduced-price school lunch program. Within 10 days of publishing a request for applications for the ASCT program in the Arizona Republic newspaper, 500 students applied and were on the waiting list for scholarships. What started in 1993 with 54 privately-funded scholarships has grown to almost 1,000 annual scholarships to children from low-income families in Arizona.
ASCT has helped thousands of families achieve educational freedom through its scholarship program. ASCT serves the most number of schools throughout Arizona with no preference to religious affiliation. ASCT was providing tuition scholarships for nearly five years prior to the passage of tax credit legislation in 1997.