The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

North Carolina - Opportunity Scholarships

Enacted 2013 • Launches 2014 • Voucher

In the 2014-15 school year, North Carolina will award vouchers statewide to students whose families meet certain income requirements.

Latest Stats (2013)

  • Students participating: N.A.
  • Schools participating: N.A.
  • Maximum voucher value: $4,200

Program Details

Student Funding
The maximum voucher amount allowed is $4,200, not to exceed the private school’s actual tuition and fees. The vouchers may be used for tuition, transportation, equipment, or any other items required by qualifying private schools.

Student Eligibility
For the first year of the program, students are eligible to receive vouchers if they reside in a household that qualifies for the federal free and reduced-price lunch (FRL) program ($43,568 for a family of four in 2013-14). Students must also have been attending a public school during the 2014 spring semester. If the program is funded in future years, eligibility increases to households with incomes up to 133 percent of the FRL program, and kindergartners and first-graders qualify for vouchers without having to attend a public school.

Legal Developments
In December 2013, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) and the North Carolina Justice Center filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of the Opportunity Scholarships program under the state constitution. The NCAE has argued that the constitution requires all money spent on education must be spent in the state’s public schools. They further argue that because private schools are not regulated like public schools, the state is not spending money for a “public purpose” when it awards vouchers. The state has not yet responded to the lawsuit and a hearing date has not been set.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: 100 percent x FRL
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: Statewide
• Enrollment Cap: None
• Voucher Cap: $4,200
• Testing Mandates: Nationally recognized norm-referenced tests

Governing Statutes
N.C. Rev. Stat. §§ 115C-562.1-7

Friedman Contact
Doran Moreland | doran@edchoice.org

Related Research

10/30/2014 The School Starter Checklist: Meeting the Private Education Regulations in States with School Choice
9/10/2012 North Carolina K-12 and School Choice Survey
10/25/2007 The High Cost of Low Graduation Rates in North Carolina

Related News

10/26/2014 Charlotte Observer | Vouchers already helping N.C. families
3/12/2014 National Review Online | Choosing to Learn
1/23/2014 U.S. voucher, school choice enrollment reaches record high
8/19/2013 Washington Times | Five cheers for choice
8/6/2013 Stateline | Tax Dollars for Private School Tuition Gain in States

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