Missouri University to Offer Scholarships to Private and Homeschool Students in the Near Future

Starting in the 2024-2025 school year, Missouri University of Science and Technology will award K-12 scholarships through MOScholars, the state’s tax-credit-based program.

MOScholars program will have a new educational assistance organization (EAO) within Missouri S&T. The organization will receive donations and distribute the money as scholarships for private-school and homeschool expenses, under the oversight of the state treasurer.

In May, Stephen Roberts, vice chancellor of strategic initiatives for Missouri S&T, referred to MOScholars as a “philanthropy opportunity/vehicle.” He emphasized that the program aligns with the university’s goals and those of its partnered nonprofit, the Kummer Institute Foundation.

MOScholars provides a funding opportunity of $6,500 that students can potentially use for Missouri S&T camps or dual-enrollment programs, as mentioned in an email from Roberts in May. Andrew Careaga, the university’s communications leader, also mentioned this possibility after discussing the program with the treasurer.

K-12 scholarships provided by MOScholars only cover school-administered costs and cannot be used for educational programs offered by the EAO directly, according to Roberts. However, administrators at Missouri S&T expressed mixed opinions about participating in MOScholars due to concerns about its connection to school vouchers.

Despite some concerns, Missouri S&T included eleven schools in their scholarship application, most of which are religious schools. Roberts confirmed that the program allows EAOs to grant scholarships to students in any public or private school, not just the listed ones. The university plans to accept applicants from several counties and cities, including Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City, Springfield, St. Louis, and more. Homeschooled students will also receive support through the program.

Coordination between the university and the state treasurer’s office is evident from email records. Mehrzad Boroujerdi, the vice provost and dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, mentioned in an email that Malek, the treasurer, advised submitting the application as a nonprofit organization. Following Malek’s suggestion, Missouri S&T listed the Kummer Institute for Student Success, Research, and Economic Development, a nonprofit within the university, as the designated 501c3 for the program.

In their application, Missouri S&T and the Kummer Institute Foundation requested $1 million in tax credits for the 2024-2025 school year to support 136 students. The MOScholars program aims to expand its funding as it faces a gap between the school year and donations, leading some EAOs to provide loans and increase fundraising efforts.

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