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Exceptional SC reaches $11 million donation cap

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Exceptional SC, South Carolina’s scholarship program for special needs students, reached its $11 million donation cap in 2017, hitting the milestone on Dec. 29.

Begun in 2015, Exceptional SC has provided scholarships for more than 4,000 S.C. students who need special accommodations to meet their learning needs.

“I am grateful to the 797 individuals and businesses in South Carolina that made it possible for us to hit our $11 million scholarship cap for 2017 two days before year’s end,” said Chad Connelly, executive director of Exceptional SC, in a news release. “However, it is a real testament to the amazing generosity of South Carolinians that we had another million dollars-plus in attempted donations beyond that cap.”

Donations above the legislative-mandated $11 million cap must be held until the next scholarship cycle that begins July 1.

Exceptional SC is a 501c3 organization established by a five-member board appointed by the S.C. Legislature. The organization helps match special needs students with the private school that can best accommodate their educational needs.

The program operates under a state budget proviso and must be approved annually. Donations are capped at $11 million for private individuals or businesses who can give up to 60% of their state income tax liability toward the program.

“This program needs to expand and become permanent law,” said Rep. Garry Smith, R-Simpsonville, sponsor of a bill to codify Exceptional SC. “This program is meeting the needs of students with education that best fits their learning styles.”

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