By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Philadelphia school officials finalize school closures and future plans for public schools, a local non-profit is offering low-income families another option for their children’s education.

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The Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia is private funded program that provides thousands of four-year scholarships to students in grades K through 8.

“We currently have 3,500 students actively receiving scholarships in our program,” says Ina Lipman, executive director of the fund.

She says this year, the fund will award 2,000 more scholarships, with a maximum of $2,200 awarded per child. She says the scholarships are awarded on sliding scale based on family income, with an average award of $1,500 per award.

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“The average tuition amount is $4,000 per child, per year,” Lipman says, “which really represents the bulk of the types of schools that are successful throughout the city in every zip code.”

She says the scholarships will be awarded through a lottery and can be used at any tuition-based private school in Philadelphia.

“The parents get the scholarship award,” Lipman says, “and then they choose the school that best meets their child’s needs.”

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Families must fill out the free application by March 1st. For more info, go to