The applicant must be enrolled or have applied for admission to the member school. You can apply directly through the school’s website or contact the school for information.
The online application[insert link] should be completed and submitted. Also required is a copy of the first 2 pages of the applicant’s 1040 form for the previous year. This 1040 form should be emailed to It is not submitted online for security reasons. The form needs to contain the name of the family, the student should be listed as a dependent, and the adjusted gross income should be listed. All information will be kept confidential. A report will be generated by the IISTO documenting eligibility and submitted to the applicant’s school. Member schools will allocate tuition assistance awards to eligible applicants.
The amount of tuition assistance awarded to individual families will take into consideration such factors as; income level and number of dependants, as well as, tuition level of the school, family circumstances, cost of living for the area, and the ability to meet all local admissions requirements.
Anyone may donate and receive and IRS donation letter and Iowa Tax Credit Certificate. Taxpayers who owe both state and federal taxes will reap the most benefit.
The law requires that at least ninety percent of the money donated must be disbursed to qualifying families within twelve months of receipt of the gift. The STO may use up to ten percent of the proceeds for out of pocket expenses such as printing costs, mailing fees, and administration of the program.
Yes. It is possible for a donor to restrict their gift to an individual school. It is important to note, however, that once the identified needs of the families attending that school have been met any unused restricted donations must be made available to other needy families at other STO schools where the local need has not been met. For example, if there are restricted gifts totaling $10,000 to School A, and the families who need scholarships at School A are eligible for a total of $7,000, the unused $3,000 of restricted gifts must be made available to other eligible families in the STO schools that need support. Unlike an endowment fund, donations by law cannot be held to support future needs. Therefore, the STO must raise funds annually and present scholarships annually to support the ongoing needs of the eligible families.
The law requires that tax credits will issue equal to 65% of the gift received. In 2017 there is a statewide cap of $12 million allocation to all student tuition organizations.
The Iowa Indpendent School Tuition Organization serves 4 schools with enrollment of more than 400 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The four schools include: Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment (Fairfield), the Iowa Mennonite School (Kalona), Bergman Academy (Des Moines), and Willowwind School (Iowa City).
No. The tuition tax credit program is completely separate from the donations to an STO. The tuition tax credit program provides a tax credit to parents/guardians for the first 25% of tuition paid by the parents up to a maximum credit of $250 per child in grades K-12.
The Iowa Department of Revenue will allow and K-8 students to receive assistance, and any pre-K student who is 5 years of age by September 15 of the year in which assistance is sought.
An annual review and/or audit of the funds and distributions will take place by certified public accountants to ensure compliance.
Donors should be encouraged not to replace existing giving because the net result will not increase opportunities for student assistance.
The STO will issue gifts to families based upon that families’ identified need. Any additional assistance presented to that family would be a decision made by the school the child is attending.
No. There will be no additional funds available for a broad-based STO appeal process.
The deadline for the applications will be May 1 of each year with award letters being sent in June.
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IISTO Attn: Nathan Olson
18 – 52nd Street, Des Moines, IA 50312 / 515.314.4034