ACE Scholarships Supports Equity in Education in Delaware

The nonprofit aims to serve children from low-income families by providing aid to cover the cost of tuition.

A Colorado-based nonprofit is now helping kids in Delaware from low-income families attend private school. Founded in 2000 by a group of school choice advocates, ACE Scholarships offers aid for kids in K through 12 to help parents or caregivers cover the cost of tuition.

Already offering services to about a dozen states west of the Mississippi, ACE saw an opportunity in Delaware, where a committed benefactor contributed a significant donation to a scholarship fund.

The Nation’s Report Card (NAEP) cites high spending per student with poor showings in Delaware—ahead of only the District of Columbia, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. According to the Delaware Department of Education’s state report card, the state spent $18,604 per student in the 2022 school year. Statistics from the Census Bureau show that as landing above the national average, albeit below several other states.

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In its inaugural year in Delaware, ACE has awarded 653 scholarships, mostly downstate, and aims to continue to expand through additional financial support.

Since its inception, the organization has provided 66,000 scholarships worth $170 million to the states it serves. Here, the average family receiving scholarships earns less than $58,000 annually for a household of four. (ACE works with households that have income up to 350% of the federal poverty guidelines—about $100,000 for a family of four.)

Estimating the average private school tuition in Delaware at $11,408, ACE offers up to half of that in scholarships. Many quality private schools have open seats—but they need extra funding to fill them.

“I still believe wholeheartedly in the public education system and charter schools and the wonderful teachers we have in the system,” notes Heidi Ganahl, chief marketing strategist for ACE Scholarships. “But [public school] is not right for every child.”

One of her own children who needed extra support had trouble finding it in public school. Now in a smaller class, her child is thriving.

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“I want every child, every family, to have that same opportunity,” Ganahl says.

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Related: The Pete du Pont Papers Are Available for Viewing in Delaware

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