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School Choice Programs Across the Nation

There are 15 school voucher programs in 8 states plus the District of Columbia and Douglas County, Colorado. During the 2011-2012 school year, 81,590 students participated in private school voucher programs and $483 million was spent on school voucher programs cumulatively.

Florida
 The John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program provides private school vouchers to assist children with special needs in Florida. Enacted in 1999, the program serves 22,861 students and expends $153 million*. For information on applying, visit the Florida Department of Education.

Georgia
 The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program is a special needs voucher that provides scholarships for children to attend private school. In the last school year, the program served 2,965 students and expended $20,340,000*. For information on applying, visit the Georgia Department of Education.

Indiana
 The Choice Scholarship Program, the nation’s broadest voucher program, provides scholarships to low- and middle-income students. Students must take the state standardized assessment and participating schools that receive a grade D or F in two consecutive years must suspend admitting new scholarship students until test scores improve. In the 2011-12 school year, the program served 3,919 students and expended $17,635,500*. For information on applying, visit the Indiana Department of Education.

Louisiana 
The Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence provides private school vouchers to assist low-income children in failing schools in New Orleans. Both a means-tested and a failing schools voucher, the program awarded 1,848 scholarships and expended $8.5 million* in 2011-2012. For information on applying, visit the Louisiana Department of Education.

The School Choice Pilot Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities is a special needs voucher program enacted in 2010. In the 2011-2012 school year the program served 186 students and expended $400,000*. For information on applying, visit the Louisiana Department of Education.

Ohio
 The Educational Choice Scholarship Program, enacted in 2005, is a failing schools voucher that was recently expanded to provide 30,000 scholarships in 2011-2012 and 60,000 scholarships on 2012-2013. The program provides scholarships of $4,250 for students in grades K-8 and of $5,000 for students in grades 9-12. The program served 16,136 students and expended $62 million* in 2011-2012. For information on applying, visit the Ohio Department of Education.

The Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Programs provide private school vouchers to assist low-income children in Cleveland, Ohio. The program was expanded to increase scholarship amounts and allows high school students to participate in the program without having received a scholarship in the 8th grade. The programs served 5,603 students and expended $16.5 million* in 2011-2012. For information on applying, visit the Ohio Department of Education.

The Autism Scholarship Program provides private school vouchers to assist children with autism in Ohio. Created in 2003, the program has a scholarship cap of $20,000. The program served 2,236 students and expended $36 million* in 2011-2012. For information on applying, visit the Ohio Department of Education.

The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students who have an Individualized Education Program. Students receive 90 percent of the per-pupil state funding, up to $20,000. The program is capped at 5 percent of students in the state with special needs, or approximately 13,000 students. The program was created in this year’s Ohio state budget and is slated to begin in the 2012-2013 school year. For information on applying, visit the Ohio Department of Education.

Oklahoma
 The Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program provides private school vouchers to assist children with special needs in Oklahoma. The program served 160 students and expended $1,189,760* in 2011-2012. For information on applying, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Utah
 The Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship provides private school vouchers to assist children with special needs in Utah. The program served 635 students and expended $3,412,490* in 2011-2012. For more information on applying visit Parents for Choice in Education.

Wisconsin
 The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, created in 1990, provides private school vouchers to assist low-income children in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the 2011-2012 school year, 23,189 students participated, and the program expended just short of $150 million*. For information on applying, visit the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

The Racine Parental Choice Program, created in 2011, provides private school vouchers for low-income students in the Racine Unified School District. The program resembles the highly effective Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. In the 2011-2012 school year this program served 228 students and expended $1.4 million*. For information on applying, visit the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Washington, D.C.
 The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is a means-tested voucher program that provides private school vouchers to assist low-income children in Washington, D.C. In the 2011-2012 school year, 1,615 students scholarships were award and 41 schools participated in the program. In April, the program was expanded and reauthorized for five years at $20 million annually. To apply, contact the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.

Douglas County, Colorado 
The Choice Scholarship Program was created by the Douglas County Board of Education to provide school vouchers for students living in Douglas County. Students would receive 75 percent of Douglas County’s per-pupil revenue, or about $4,575. A Colorado district court issued an injunction barring the program from going forward, but the Colorado Court of Appeals has overturned the lower court ruling. For more information, visit the Douglas County Board of Education.

There are 10 scholarship tax credit programs in eight states. During the 2011-2012 school year, 128,792 students participated in scholarship tax credit programs and $289 million was donated by corporations and individuals for scholarships.

Arizona
 Lexie’s Law provides scholarships for foster children and children with special needs to attend private schools. Corporations that donate to School Tuition Organizations receive a tax credit value of 100 percent of donations. The program has a statewide cap of $5 million. In the 2011-2012 school year, 115 students participated in the program. For information on applying, visit the Arizona School Choice website.

The Individual School Tuition Organization Tax Credit provides scholarships for children to attend private schools. Individuals that donate to School Tuition Organizations receive a tax credit value of 100 percent of donations. Donor caps are limited to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples. In the 2011-2012 school year, 25,343 students participated in the program. For information on applying, visit the Arizona School Choice website.

The Corporate School Tuition Organization Tax Credit provides scholarships for low and lower-middle-income children to attend private schools. Corporations that donate to School Tuition Organizations receive a tax credit value of 100 percent of donations. Donor caps were limited to $20.74 million in fiscal year 2011 with a slated 20 percent annual increase each year. In the 2011-2012 school year, 4,578 students participated in the program. For information on applying, visit the Arizona School Choice website.

Florida
 The Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program provides scholarships for low-income children to attend private schools. Corporations can redirect 100 percent of their tax liabilities to eligible Student Funding Organizations. Insurance companies can contribute up to 100 percent of their insurance premium liability. In the 2011-2012 school year, 37.998 students participated. For information on applying, visit the Florida Department of Education.

Georgia
 The Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program provides scholarships for children to attend private schools. Tax credits are provided to individual and corporate donors. The program has a statewide cap of $50 million. Individual donors can donate $1,000, married couples can donate $2,500, and corporations can donate 75 percent of the corporation’s state income tax liability. The program served 8,131 students in the 2011-2012 school year. For information on applying, visit the Georgia Department of Education.

Indiana
 The Corporate and Individual Scholarship Tax Credit Program provides scholarships for low and lower-middle income children to attend private schools. Tax credits are provided to individual and corporate donors, who receive a 50 percent credit on donations with a statewide cap of $2.5 million in credits. In the 2011-2012 school year, 5,909 students participated in the program. For information on applying, visit School Choice Indiana.

Iowa
 The Individual School Tuition Organization Tax Credit provides scholarships for low and lower-middle income children to attend private schools. Tax credits are provided to individual and corporate donors who receive a tax credit value of 65 percent of donations. The program has a statewide cap of $7.5 million where corporations are limited to 25 percent of the statewide cap. In the 2011-2012 school year, 10,820 students participated in the program. For more information on applying, contact the Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education.

Oklahoma
 The Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships program, which was enacted in 2011, provides scholarships for children in families with incomes up to 300 percent of free and reduced price lunch. Scholarships are $5,000 or eighty percent of the average in-district per-pupil expenditure (whichever is greater). Scholarships for children with special needs may not exceed $25,000. Scholarship Granting Organizations must spend a portion of their expenditures for low-income students in an amount equal to or greater than the percentage of low-income students in the state. The program is set to begin in the 2012-13 school year.

Pennsylvania
 The Educational Improvement Tax Credit provides scholarships for low and lower-middle income children to attend private schools. Corporate donors receive a 75 percent tax credit value on one-year donations and a 90 percent tax credit value on two-year donations. The program has a statewide cap of $50 million. In the 2011-2012 school year, 40,876 students participated in the program. For information on applying, visit the REACH Foundation.

Rhode Island
 The Rhode Island Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit provides scholarships for low and lower-middle income children to attend private schools. Corporate donors receive a 75 percent tax credit value on one-year donations and a 90 percent tax credit value on two-year donations. The program has a donor cap of $100,000 and a statewide cap of $1 million. In the 2011-2012 school year, 341 students participated in the program.

Additional School Choice Opportunities

Arizona
 The Education Savings Act, signed into law in April 2011, creates the nation’s first education savings account program. Students who are identified as having a disability are eligible to receive 90 percent of the per-pupil expenditure to spend on a variety of educational tools, including tuition and fees, textbooks, educational therapies, and tutoring. For more information on Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, visit the Arizona School Choice website.

North Carolina The Individual Income Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities program allows parents of special needs children to claim a nonrefundable tax credit up to $6,000 for education expenses, including tuition, therapy, and tutoring. This program is an important first step toward empowering parents and students with enhanced education options in North Carolina.

Courtesy: The American Federation for Children

*Note: Voucher program expenditures were derived by multiplying the number of students served according to The American Federation for Children by the average voucher value as reported by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

We appreciate the hard work of everyone at the Alliance for School Choice for compiling data and publishing it in their “School Choice Yearbook 2011-12,” which provided much of the information about the specific programs listed. For further reading please visit: The Alliance for School Choice’s website.