Louisiana is one of the nation’s leaders in educational choice, with the strongest and most transparent academic and financial accountability measures.
Louisiana’s School Choice Options
The Louisiana Scholarship Program is designed to provide students with additional opportunities to attend the school of their choice. Student applicants are eligible to receive state-funded Scholarships to enroll in participating nonpublic schools or high-performing public schools.
To be eligible to receive a Scholarship award, new students must be a resident of Louisiana, be entering Kindergarten or have attended a Louisiana public school with a C, D, or F letter grade the previous year, and have a total family household income that does not exceed 250% of the federal poverty guideline ($61,500 for a family of four in 2017). Scholarship awards cover all tuition and mandatory school fees. Students participating in the Louisiana Scholarship Program are granted admission through a lottery process and are required to take all state assessments.
Louisiana Scholarship Program Parental Satisfaction Survey
- 93.3% of parents are very satisfied or satisfied with their child’s current Scholarship school.
- 95.0% of parents are happy with their child’s academic performance at his/her Scholarship school.
- 99.4% of parents say their child feels safe in his/her Scholarship school.
- 99.0% of parents say they and their children feel welcome at their child’s current Scholarship school.
- 99.0% of parents of kindergarten students say they are happy with their child’s academic performance.
The Tuition Donation Credit Program empowers Louisiana families with the financial resources to choose the school that will best prepare their children for college and careers. This program provides credits to Louisiana state taxpayers that donate to tax-exempt, not-for-profit organizations that provide scholarships to students in low-income families.
Students apply to a School Tuition Organization for a scholarship. School Tuition Organizations are not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations [501(c)(3)]. School Tuition Organizations award scholarships on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority is given to students who participated in the Tuition Donation Credit or Louisiana Scholarship Program in the previous year.
- Income: Have a family household income that does not exceed 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, as established by the Federal Office of Management and Budget.
- Residency: Be a resident of Louisiana
- Prior School Attendance: Have attended a public school in Louisiana on October 1 and February 1 of the most recent school year; be entering Kindergarten for the first time; or have participated in the Louisiana Scholarship Program/Tuition Donation Program for the previous school year.
School Tuition Organizations determine the amount of the scholarship. Scholarship amounts cannot exceed the lesser of either the school’s tuition and mandatory fees or 80% of the state average per pupil funding for elementary and middle school students (approximately $4,200) and 90% of the state average per pupil funding for high school students (approximately $4,700).
Parents must pay the difference of any tuition and fees not covered by the scholarship. Students may receive a scholarship from more than one School Tuition Organization. The total dollar amount of scholarships may still not exceed the maximum amounts outlined above.
Taxpayers interested in learning more about donating to a School Tuition Organization should read the Tuition Donation Credit Program FAQ.
For more information on the School Tuition Organizations participating in the Tuition Donation Credit Program, use the following links:
The School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities (SCP) empowers families of students with exceptionalities with the opportunity to select a school that the family feels will best address the student’s needs.
Students participating in the SCP must have been evaluated by a Louisiana public school and determined to have any one of the listed exceptionalities. The student must have an Individual Education Plan, district provided services plan or a nonpublic school created service plan; and is eligible to attend a Louisiana public school.
- Developmental Delay
- Emotional Disturbance
- Mental Disability
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Traumatic Brain Injury
Charter schools are public schools in Louisiana that exercise increased levels of autonomy in exchange for increased levels of accountability. They are able to make decisions about curriculum, staffing, and budgets based on the specific students enrolled in their schools. In exchange for this increased autonomy, charter schools are held accountable to an increasing set of accountability expectations year-on-year in order to continue serving students in Louisiana.
20 years after the Louisiana Legislature enacted the first charter school law, more than 70,000 students attend 139 charter schools in 34 cities across the state.