The New ESA K-12 Scholarship Portal is Now Open!

5,000 Scholarships Will Provide Private K-12 Options for Low and Moderate Income Families

After nearly eight years of hard work by scores of members of the South Carolina General Assembly, the Education Scholarship Trust Fund (ESTF) was created by act of the legislature in 2023. The ESTF is similar to Education Scholarship Account (ESA) programs that have been sweeping the nation in the last four years.

The ESTF program is state-funded and provides $6,000 scholarships to qualifying South Carolina students. Families can use ESTF funds from the Scholarship Trust Fund to create a customized, flexible education for their student, including paying for approved expenses like independent school tuition and fees, tutoring, educational therapies, online courses, and more! The South Carolina Department of Education administers the ESTF program. At $6,000 the value of the scholarship is close to the average tuition for a South Carolina independent (private) school.

****A portal has been created by the South Carolina Department of Education to accept applications for the new program. That portal opened on Monday, January 15.****

The passage of the Education Scholarship Account law is a significant victory for parents, students, and the future of education in South Carolina. But now we must get the word out. We call on all South Carolinians who believe in a wide array of education options for kids to tell every parent they know about ESTF.

Palmetto Promise Institute is committed to providing valuable information to families and education providers. In support of this commitment, PPI has created an informational website accessible at This website serves as a resource hub, offering insights into the ESA program, guidance on eligibility, as well as a link to the SC Department of Education application portal.

NOTE: Education providers, including private schools, who wish to be a part of the ESTF program will need to apply as well. That portal opened on January 8.