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- Scholarship Info
CSFP is a leveraged investment in the future. Local contributions for scholarships are matched by the national office of the Children’s Scholarship Fund. Participating families are asked to pay a portion of tuition. The average family contributes approximately $1,800 per child, or about 50% of the tuition, thereby more than doubling the leverage of the original donation.
There is a tremendous demand for educational alternatives to public schools in Philadelphia. CSFP has received over 115,000 applications over the last twelve years for the 10,500 scholarships.
Research and experience tell us that the earlier a child begins receiving a solid education, the better. That is why the CSFP focuses on the elementary years, from kindergarten through eighth grade. The seeds for aspiring to, and succeeding in, college are sowed during the formative years in grades K-8, by a sound educational experience that both challenges and motivates. Unfortunately, children from low-income families often are not exposed to such an education at their local public school. Scholarships at the pre-college level bring help earlier, when it is needed most.
The parental contribution is a vital element in the success of the program. Families who pay tuition treat their child’s education as a priority and become more involved in their child’s education.
CSFP makes awards to families, not to schools. If a participating family moves, or becomes dissatisfied with their chosen school, they may take their scholarship with them to a different school.
Scholarships are awarded on a sliding scale, depending on a family’s size and income. Poorer and/or larger families pay a smaller percentage of the tuition, while families with a somewhat higher income pay a greater portion. The minimum family contribution is $500 per year or 25% of tuition—whichever is greater.
In an evaluation of the Children’s Scholarship Fund by Harvard University, 68% of the 850 recipient families surveyed indicated that they were “very satisfied” with the private schools’ academic quality, safety, discipline, and the values taught in the school. Only 23% of their public school counterparts felt similarly. (Click here to view the Harvard study)
Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia is one of approximately forty partner programs that comprise the Children’s Scholarship Fund. CSFP will enter its thirteenth school year this fall 2013. The program is helping approximately 3,500 low-income children attend the school of their family’s choice. The average school tuition per child is $4,000 and the average CSFP scholarship is $1,500, with a maximum award of $2,200. The average family contribution per child is $1,800/year on an average annual income of $29,000.
Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia is a diverse program. Participating families come from every ethnic background, and their choices of schools reveal a similar variety. Of the 175 schools participating in the program, religious-oriented schools represent the largest single group: they include Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Islamic, Lutheran, and Pentecostal. Also represented are traditional college preparatory schools, Montessori, Afro-Centric, foreign-language, and other non-sectarian private schools.
In 1997, Ted Forstmann and John Walton contributed a total of $6 million to a scholarship program in Washington, D.C. that helps children in grades K-8 from low-income families attend the private schools of their choice. In only 16 weeks, the parents of nearly 8,000 children applied for a scholarship. It was this impressive demonstration of demand for educational alternatives that compelled both men to expand their efforts into a nationwide program. In June 1998, they launched the Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSF) as a national version of the Washington program. Immediately after the new program was announced, applications began to pour in at an astonishing rate. By the end of the application period, the parents of a 1.25 million children from 20,000 communities in all 50 states had applied. Their average family income was $22,000. On April 21, 1999, CSF held its National Lottery Day, at which Forstmann and Walton announced the awarding of 40,000 scholarships to families nationwide. A locally based staff has successfully administered the program for the past thirteen years. In spring 2001, through local efforts, a separate CSF Philadelphia was formed with its own board of directors, 501(c iii ) certification and the appointment of an Executive Director. The Fund is the largest provider of scholarship money K-8 in Pennsylvania and has serviced over 10,500 children.
The CSF Solution
Watch this video to learn about CSF's role in helping close the achievement gap.