The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

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

School Choice in Iowa


Iowa has two private school choice programs (tax-credit scholarships and individual tax credits). The state also has a charter school law. Iowa allows for limited public virtual schooling. Open enrollment exists, only for interdistrict public school choice.

Laws and Regulations Governing Private Schools


Both tax credit and voucher programs are school choice options for Iowa. Iowa’s Constitution contains a Compelled Support Clause, which the Iowa Supreme Court has interpreted as prohibiting direct payment of public funds to religious schools.

In general, however, the court has noted that the Compelled Support Clause seeks to achieve the same end as the federal Establishment Clause and should be interpreted in line with federal Establishment Clause precedent. Therefore, a religiously neutral voucher program of true private choice that gives money directly to parents is likely to be upheld in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.

–Quote from the Institute for Justice (April 2007)

School Choice Programs

School Tuition Organization Tax Credit

Enacted 2006 • Launched 2006

Iowa provides a credit on individual income taxes for donations to School Tuition Organizations (STOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. The credit is worth 65 percent of the donation’s value, which also is limited by a statewide... Read More

Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit

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. Read More


The School Starter Checklist: Meeting the Private Education Regulations in States with School Choice


Entrepreneurs looking to start a private school might behoove themselves by focusing on states with private school choice programs. This checklist assists by examining the regulations affecting private schools in states with such programs.   This... Read More

Public Rules on Private Schools: Measuring the Regulatory Impact of State Statutes and School Choice Programs


Is regulatory creep a fate that awaits all school choice programs? With the number of those programs doubling over the past five years, the need for context and understanding is critical.   This report provides a framework for understanding the... Read More

Iowa K-12 and School Choice Survey


The “Iowa K-12 & School Choice Survey” project, commissioned by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research, Inc. (BRI), measures Iowa registered voters’ familiarity and views on a range of K-12... Read More



4/15/2014 Breaking the ice for a growing school choice plan to bloom
10/26/2013 Des Moines Register | Another View: School choice is education reform that will help kids
10/9/2013 Radio Iowa | Iowa’s private, parochial schools push for “educational savings accounts”
10/8/2013 Iowa voters support public schools, favor expanding school choice
10/8/2013 Sioux City Journal | Poll: Iowans support school vouchers
8/15/2013 Sharing your story in “The ABCs” can be as easy as one, two, three
8/6/2013 Stateline | Tax Dollars for Private School Tuition Gain in States
10/29/2012 The Gazette | What You Said About School Administration
10/27/2012 The Gazette | More Fat to Cut From Schools?
7/30/2011 Enlow | Friedman's Dream Unleashed
7/28/2011 Enlow | Is 2011 Milton Friedman's Year of School Choice?
6/28/2011 Presidents Comments
1/16/2008 Public Interest Institute: Privatizing, consolidating Iowa's schools
6/2/2006 Iowa enacts new scholarship tax credit program