December 6, 2012

Arizona School Tuition Organizations (STO) Information for Military Students Attending Private Schools

By Elena McShane

Arizona state tax payers are allowed to donate a percentage of their state tax dollars through a variety of private school tuition tax credit programs to support K-12 students attending private/parochial schools with tuition scholarships.  Arizona tax payers who choose to donate their state tax dollars to a private school or to a specific student attending a private school utilizing a School Tuition Organization (S.T.O.) will receive a dollar for dollar tax credit when filing their annual state income tax returns.

Starting in the 2012-13 school year, dependents of U.S. Armed Forces members stationed in Arizona on military orders are eligible to receive tuition scholarships through the new “Switcher” Tax Credit.  Military students must have a scholarship application form on file with one or both of the School Tuition Organizations below.

1. Yuma’s Education Scholarship Fund for Kids, Inc. (Y.E.S. Fund) www.azyesfund.org  928-314-0033

4027 S. Navel Avenue Yuma, AZ 85365

2. School Tuition Association of Yuma, Inc. (S.T.A.Y.) www.azstay.org  928-782-5786

P.O. Box 515 Yuma, AZ 85366

It is recommended that military families with children attending private schools download and complete a scholarship application for each child by going to the Y.E.S. and S.T.A.Y websites.  Make sure you check that your child is a dependent of an active duty member of the armed forces stationed in Arizona and include a copy of the military orders stationing the military member in Arizona.  Mail the completed scholarship applications to Y.E.S. & S.T.A.Y. and notify your child’s school finance director that you have submitted a scholarship application to these School Tuition Organizations.

It is important to remember that just because most military families do not pay Arizona state taxes, these families can still apply for school tuition scholarships.   Military families do not have to seek out donors to support their children with tuition scholarships, but it would be advantageous to find donors who are willing to donate their state tax dollars directly to military children.  There is never any guarantee that funds will be donated directly to a military child, but the chances are very high that some funds may be applied towards the tuition of a military child as long as an application for that child is on file with Y.E.S. or S.T.A.Y.   Out of state family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles may donate funds towards a S.T.O. in the name of a military child and claim a federal charitable tax deduction for their donation.  It is recommended that they speak to their tax advisor to find out if they qualify for a federal charitable tax deduction.

Military families can call the MCAS Yuma School Liaison, Elena McShane, at (928)269-5373 to learn more about the Arizona School Tuition Organization Scholarships for military children.

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