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What is Exceptional SC?

Exceptional SC (a 501(c)(3)), also known as the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children Fund or ECENC, was created by the South Carolina Legislature in 2016. The fund is made of tax-deductible donations that serve as scholarships for exceptional needs students in South Carolina to attend an approved independent school that best serves their needs. More information is available at ExceptionalSC.org.

What is the Parental Refundable Tax Credit?

This refundable income tax credit is available for parents or guardians of exceptional needs students who pay the student’s tuition at an eligible school. Credits are approved on a first come, first served basis and are capped to a certain amount. More information is available below. 



The information below is for Tax Year 2021.

Parental Refundable Tax Credits for Tuition Payments:

The $2 million cap for 2020 parental refundable credits was met on January 15, 2021. Approved applicants will receive a letter, and those next in line will be placed on a waiting list. 
Learn more about the application process >

The SCDOR will begin accepting the 2021 TC-57A, Application for Parental Refundable Credit, on January 18, 2022, at 8:30am.

Parents or guardians of exceptional needs students can pay the student’s tuition at an eligible school, then apply for a tax credit toward their South Carolina income tax bill as outlined below:

  1. Parents or guardians make their payment to an eligible school for their qualifying student's tuition.
  2. Parents complete and submit the TC-57A online using MyDORWAY, our free and secure tax processing system. The tax credit application cannot exceed the amount paid out of pocket for the student's tuition. The maximum amount of refundable credit that may be requested for each qualifying student is $11,000 or the cost of tuition, whichever is less, minus the amount of scholarship the qualifying student receives from Exceptional SC. Exceptional SC scholarships are not considered an out of pocket payment and cannot be claimed for this credit. Please save documentation and credit approval letter from the SCDOR with your tax records, including the exceptional needs child's proof of eligibility.
  3. The SCDOR will tentatively approve the parental refundable credit requests on a first come, first-served basis according to the applicants’ representations as long as the $2 million cap* has not been met.
  4. When you file your South Carolina income taxes, the tentatively approved parental refundable credit is claimed by completing the I-361 form.

§12-6-3790 provides that South Carolina parental refundable tax credits may not exceed $2 million for each tax year.

Nonrefundable Tax Credits for Exceptional SC Donations:

Exceptional SC is now accepting tax year 2021 donations. For donation information, please contact Exceptional SC.

2021 donor credit information as of 08/31/2021:
Credits approved: $1,203,225.68

Anyone can donate to the Exceptional SC 501(c)(3) scholarship fund, which provides scholarships to exceptional needs students. Individuals and corporations who pay South Carolina taxes can make a donation to Exceptional SC and claim a dollar for dollar tax credit against their overall South Carolina income tax liability (personal corporate income tax). 

A taxpayer may not claim more than 75% of his total South Carolina tax liability for the year the contribution was made. If a taxpayer deducts the amount of the contribution on his federal return and claims the nonrefundable credit, then he must add back the amount of the deduction for South Carolina income tax purposes.

Donors are:

  • Eligible to claim a dollar for dollar credit on state income tax liability;
  • Not allowed to designate a specific student or school as beneficiary;
  • Limited by a first come, first served annual statewide cap of $12 million.*
  • Donors can carry forward credit up to three years beginning with tax year 2021.

Please visit ExceptionalSC.org/donate for more information and to make a donation. §12-6-3790 provides that South Carolina tax credits for donations to Exceptional SC may not exceed $12 million for each tax year. 

​*If Exceptional SC receives less than $12 million in donations in a tax year, then the Parental Refundable Tax Credit cap of $2 million may be increased by up to $3 million. The combined credit cap cannot exceed the authorized total of $14 million.​

For more information:

2016-2017 Fiscal Year Recap:

  • The $10 million cap for nonrefundable tax credits for donations to Exceptional SC in Fiscal Year 2017, provided in Proviso 109.15, was met in April 2017.
  • The $2 million cap for parental refundable tax credits in Fiscal Year 2017, provided in Proviso 109.15, was met in September 2016.

2017-2018 Fiscal Year Recap:

  • The $11 million cap for nonrefundable tax credits for donations to Exceptional SC in Fiscal Year 2018, provided in Proviso 109.11, was met on December 29, 2017.
  • The $2 million cap for parental refundable tax credits in Fiscal Year 2018, provided in Proviso 109.11was met on July 5, 2017.

2018 Tax Year Recap:

  • The $12 million cap for nonrefundable tax credits for donations to Exceptional SC in Fiscal Year 2019, provided in §12-6-3790, was met on July 6, 2018.
  • The $2 million cap for parental refundable tax credits in Fiscal Year 2019, provided in §12-6-3790, was met on October 1, 2018.

2019 Tax Year Recap:

  • As of December 31, 2019, $4,547,101.10 in nonrefundable tax credits were approved for donations to Exceptional SC, provided in §12-6-3790. 
  • The $2 million cap for parental refundable credits, provided in §12-6-3790, was met on October 1, 2019. 

2020 Tax Year Recap:

  • As of December 31, 2020, $4,095,107.80 in nonrefundable tax credits were approved for donations to Exceptional SC, provided in §12-6-3790. 
  • The $2 million cap for parental refundable credits, provided in §12-6-3790, was met on January 15, 2021.