Catholic students in church in the shape of a cross

History of CTO

The Educational Opportunities Act of 2006 established school tuition organizations (STO) and provided 65% Iowa tax credits to donors who contributed to one of the 12 STOs in Iowa.

The Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO) was created in 2006 to raise funds to provide tuition assistance to qualifying families attending one of our Catholic schools listed below. The criteria for receiving assistance is based on family size and income.

The Catholic Tuition Organization awards at least ninety percent of all annual revenue to eligible families.

The Iowa legislature and Governor, with bipartisan support, have continued to upgrade the Educational Opportunities Act since it’s inception.


Attend Catholic High Schools
Graduate High Schools
Attend College

Educational Opportunities Act History


In 2006, Governor Tom Vilsack signed the Educational Opportunities Act into law. The STO cap for tax credits in 2006 was set at $2.5 million with an automatic increase to $5 million in 2007.


On May 29, 2007, Governor Chet Culver signed an appropriations bill that included a cap expansion on Iowa income tax credits to a total of $7.5 million in 2008.

Also in 2007, non-cash donations was allowed as contributions to school tuition organizations.


In 2009, Governor Chet Culver signed into law allowing C corporations as contributors and eligible for the same tax credits as individuals. This is the largest tax credit available to corporations who pay income tax in Iowa.


In 2011, Governor Terry Branstad signed into law an increase in the annual tax credit amount to a total of $8.75 million effective January 1, 2012.


In 2013, Governor Terry Branstad signed the increase in annual tax credits to a total of $12 million effective January 1, 2014.

Also, in 2013, S corporations, limited liability corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates were eligible to contribute retroactive to January 1, 2013.


In 2018, Governor Kim Reynolds signed an increase in tax credits from $12 million to $13 million effective January 1, 2019. In addition, the income guidelines for eligible families increased from 300% of federal poverty guidelines to 400% of federal poverty guidelines.

In Aug 2018, the IRS changed the federal deductibility from 100% of gift when itemizing on federal return to the balance after the tax credit; for CTO 35% of donation.


In 2019, Governor Reynolds signed an increase in tax credits from $13 to $15 million effective January 1, 2020.


In 2021, Governor Reynolds signed into law two significant changes to the program:

  • Taxpayers now receive 75% Iowa tax credits, retroactive to January 1, 2021.
  • Tax credits will increase effective January 1, 2022 to $20 million statewide.

Iowa Taxpayers Win School Choice with Bipartisan Tax Credit Law

Thanks to advocacy and education from Iowa Catholic Conference, Iowa ACE and partners such as schools, churches and individuals, legislation allowing individual Iowa taxpayers to receive a tax credit equal to 75 percent of the total amount of voluntary cash contributions donated to a school tuition organization was passed with bi-partisan support. STOs allocate those funds as tuition grants to Iowa students to assist them in attending an accredited nonpublic school.

Catholic boys doing a puzzle in the classroom
catholic student reading a book
teacher helping a student in classroom
catholic students doing art in classroom

Leadership Team & Staff

Board of Directors

  • Rob Szalay, President
  • Chris Coleman, Vice President
  • Kate James, Treasurer
  • Deb Grimes, Secretary
  • Bill Brosnahan
  • Barb Dempsey
  • Sister Jude Fitzpatrick
  • Zach Harnden
  • Chris Ibach
  • Tim Jameson
  • Fr. P.J. McManus
  • Joe Narmi
  • Jennifer Raes
  • Dan Ryan
  • Pat Ryan
  • Kevin Shires

Ex-Officio Members

  • Bruce Baker, Legal Counsel
  • Donna Bishop, Diocesan Superintendent of Schools
  • Chris Cleghorn, Immediate Past President of CTO
  • Laura Holms, Diocese Director of Development
  • Bob Larson, Diocese Director of Finance


  • Mark A. Reed, Sr. CFRE, MPA, Executive Director
  • Chelsea Dellaca, Marketing/Administrative Assistant