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What is Exceptional SC?

The Exceptional SC scholarship fund (a 501(c)(3), also known as the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children or ECENC) was created by the South Carolina Legislature. The fund is made up of tax-deductible donations that serve as scholarships for tuition for exceptional needs students in South Carolina to attend an approved independent school that best serves their needs. Applications and eligibility information are available at ExceptionalSC.org. The Exceptional SC board reviews applications and awards scholarships based on a number of criteria. Students who are awarded the scholarship must attend a school that the Education Oversight Committee has approved for program participation.

The information below is for the 2018-2019 school year.

Parental Refundable Tax Credits for Tuition Payments:

The SCDOR begins accepting parental tax credit applications on September 17, 2018 at noon for 2018 tuition payments made to qualifying schools for the 2018-2019 school year.

Parental Refundable Tax Credits Requested: $0
Available Parental Credits: $2,000,000.00 

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 Form TC-57A (available this fall) to request the parental refundable credit. 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 confirm the "reservation" of the parental refundable credit, as long as the $2 million refundable credit 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 2018. 

Nonrefundable Tax Credits for Exceptional SC Donations:

Exceptional SC began accepting donations on July 2, 2018.

As of July 6, 2018:
Donations to Exceptional SC: $12,000,000.00
Available Tax Credits for Donors: $0

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). Donors can deduct contributions made to Exceptional SC on their federal income taxes under IRC Section 170.

A taxpayer may not claim more than sixty percent 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.

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 2018. 

For more Information:


The SCDOR is committed to providing outstanding service and ensuring continued opportunities for exceptional needs children.

2016-2017 School 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 School 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.