McMaster announces creation of SAFE Grants to help families pay for private, independent schools

McMaster announces creation of SAFE Grants to help families pay for private, independent schools
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced Monday the investment of education relief funds. (Source: WIS)

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WMBF) - As the back-to-school debate continues, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster held a press conference Monday to announce the investment of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds.

McMaster announced the creation of the Safe Access to Flexible Education Grants at Hampton Park Christian School in Greenville. These one-time, needs-based grants of up to $6,500 will help or subsidize the 2020-21 tuition for eligible students at participating private, parochial or independent schools in South Carolina, a press release stated. Approximately 5,000 grants will be funded.

The one-time grants are funded by monies received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Trump and allocated directly to each governor, according to the release. Each state received an allocation for a GEER fund.

South Carolina’s share of GEER funds was $48 million, the release stated. Of that amount, $32 million will fund SAFE Grants. The governor recently announced an investment of GEER funds to the state’s eight historically black colleges and universities.

To be eligible for SAFE Grants, a student must be from a household with an adjusted gross income of 300% or less of the federal poverty level.

“Private schools in our state provide an essential education to over 50,000 children,” said McMaster. “They provide parents the ability to choose the type of education environment and instruction they feel best suits their child’s unique needs. And a large number of these students come from working or low-income families who - in the best economy – are barely able to scrimp and scrape together just enough money to pay their child’s tuition.”

Modeled on grant and scholarship programs serving thousands of students in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, SAFE Grants will provide support for working, low-income families impacted financially by the pandemic, according to the release. SAFE Grants will ensure that these students can access an education of their choice.

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