Author(s): Greg Forster, Ph.D.
This report documents the procedures parents must go through to participate in each of the 14 school choice programs that were then fully operational, evaluating the procedures of each program as “excellent,” “good,” “fair” or “poor.” It also collects, for the first time in one place, historical data on participation in each school choice program, and estimates participation rates over time for each program.
Enacted 2003 • Launched 2004
Ohio students on the autism spectrum may receive vouchers for education services from a private provider, including tuition at a private school. After participating students receive education services, they apply to the state for reimbursement of expenses.
Enacted 1995 • Launched 1996
Parents in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can receive vouchers to send their children to
private school or public schools bordering the school district. No more than half of new recipients may
be students previously enrolled in private schools.
Enacted 1955 • Launched 1955
Minnesota provides a tax deduction covering educational expenses for students in any private or
public school, including homeschooling. The tax deduction lowers a family’s taxable income and
covers books, tutors, academic after-school programs, and other educational expenses, including
tuition payments at private schools.
Enacted 2001 • Launched 2001
Pennsylvania provides tax credits for corporate contributions to Scholarship Organizations (SOs),
nonprofits that provide private school scholarships, or Educational Improvement Organizations,
nonprofits that support innovative programs in public schools. Tax credits are worth 75 percent of the
contribution; however, a 90 percent credit can be claimed if the corporation commits to two consecutive
annual contributions. In either case, the maximum tax credit is $750,000 per company. Credits are
awarded to companies on a first-come, first-served basis until the cap is reached. The total amount of
tax credits is limited to $100 million.
Enacted 2001 • Launched 2001
Florida provides a tax credit on corporate income taxes and insurance premium taxes for donations
to Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFOs), nonprofits that provide scholarships for low-income
students and children in foster care and offer funds for transportation to public schools outside a
child’s district. Businesses get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for SFO contributions, with total credits
capped at $286.25 million. Unused credits can be carried forward to the next fiscal year.
Enacted as a Pilot Program 1999 • Expanded 2000
Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program allows public school
students with disabilities or 504 plans to receive vouchers to attend private schools or other public
Enacted 2006 • Launched 2006
Arizona provides a credit on corporate income taxes for C-Corporations for donations to School Tuition
Organizations (STOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. STOs receiving donations
for this program must award scholarships to low-income students. Corporate taxpayers contributing
to STOs may claim a tax credit equal to the full amount of their contribution. The program is limited
to a total of $35.8 million in available tax credits per year, a figure that is allowed to rise 20 percent
Enacted 1990 • Launched 1990
Milwaukee families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines qualify to receive vouchers.
Once a student receives a voucher, that student is able to keep it, regardless of his or her family’s future
income. Voucher students are allowed to attend any participating private school in the state.
Enacted 2004 • Launched 2004
The District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program provides vouchers to low-income
students. Overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, the program is funded separately from D.C.
public and charter schools. It is authorized through 2016, with $20 million in total available funding.
Enacted 1999 • Launched 2000
Illinois allows individuals to claim a credit for educational expenses for dependent students attending
a private or public school or being homeschooled. Qualified expenses include tuition, books, and lab or
activity fees. The credit is worth a maximum of $500.
Many small towns in Maine do not operate high schools, and some do not have elementary schools.
Students in those towns are eligible for vouchers to attend public schools in other towns or non-religious
private schools, even outside the state. The “sending” towns pay tuition directly to the “receiving”
schools. Although most towns allow parents to choose which schools will receive their students, some
towns send all their students to one school.
Many towns in Vermont, particularly in rural areas, do not operate public high schools and/or
elementary schools. Students in those towns may use public dollars to attend any public or approved
independent (private), non-religious school in or outside of Vermont. The “tuitioning” towns pay
tuition directly to the “receiving” schools. For 2013-14, tuition amounts equal $11,703 for grades K-6
and $13,084 for grades 7-12. Although most tuitioning towns allow parents to choose which schools
will receive their students, some towns send all their students to one school.
Enacted 1987 • Launched 1987
Iowa provides parents of students in any private or public school a tax credit covering educational
expenses, including tuition, books, and lab or activity fees. The credit is worth a maximum of $250.