Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Archbishop Applies For G.R.A.C.E. Scholars Tax Credit

Published November 20, 2008

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory threw his support behind the new G.R.A.C.E. Scholars program by completing the first step to direct the maximum $1,000 of his state taxes to the scholarship.

Archbishop Gregory, who filled out the state forms in his office Thursday, Nov. 13, said the scholarship is potentially the most beneficial program to make Catholic education more affordable for families.

It is “my prayer” that Catholic taxpayers support the program because it directly benefits youngsters who want to attend Catholic schools, he said.

G.R.A.C.E. Scholars is part of a new state initiative for residents who want to contribute to faith-based or private education. It allows taxpayers to redirect a portion of their tax liability to nonprofit school scholarship programs.

As of Nov. 13, $5,000 has been donated to the G.R.A.C.E. scholarship program. It is a joint project of the Atlanta Archdiocese and the Diocese of Savannah.

The law, enacted in 2008, provides an income tax credit for Georgians or corporations to donate to a Student Scholarship Organization (SSO) for students in public schools or just starting school at faith-based or private accredited educational institutions. SSOs are charitable organizations that supplement the cost of private school education.

The Atlanta and Savannah dioceses formed the nonprofit G.R.A.C.E. Scholars, Inc. for scholarship donations to attend Catholic schools statewide. The name is an acronym for Georgia Residents Assisting Children’s Education.

Any individual, married couple or corporation who pays state taxes can contribute to G.R.A.C.E. Scholars. At least 90 percent of the funds will be spent assisting qualified families who enroll a child in a Georgia Catholic school with a portion of their tuition. The scholarship is available to families with a combined income of less than $90,000.

The scholarship program assists families entering students from the public system to the private system. Students already enrolled in Catholic schools are not eligible for this scholarship fund.

Supporters of the program urged donors to start the paperwork before the end of November to be accepted in the 2008 tax year. Through this program donors can receive a straight tax credit rather than a deduction for state income tax reporting. Because there is $50 million in tax credits allotted per calendar year for all SSOs, it is a first-come, first-served application. Taxpayers are notified within 30 days if there are available tax credit funds for their proposed donation.

If approved, the donor then sends a check to G.R.A.C.E Scholars within a month. A receipt for the donation is then sent to the donor to file for state taxes.

The $50 million cap resets on Jan. 1, 2009.

For more information and to get the documents, please go to the G.R.A.C.E. Scholars Web site at