North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarships program was enacted in 2013 and launched in 2014. It provides private school vouchers to children of low-income households. Families can use these school vouchers to pay for tuition, transportation, equipment, and other necessary private school expenses. Learn more about this program’s eligibility requirements, rules, and regulations on this page.
North Carolina provides vouchers to low-income students to attend private schools chosen by their parents.
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. Total funding was increased to $17.6 million in 2015–16 and up to $24.8 million in 2016–17, a 129 percent increase over 2014–15 funding levels.
Students are eligible to receive vouchers if their family income does not exceed 133 percent of the guidelines needed to qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch (FRL) program ($59,668 for a family of four in 2015–16). Students must also have been attending a public school during the previous semester. Kindergartners, first graders, foster children, and children that have been adopted in the past year qualify for vouchers without having to attend a public school.
N.C. Rev. Stat. §§ 115C-562.1 through 562.7
On July 23, 2015, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld all aspects of the state’s two vouchers, the Opportunity Scholarship Program and the Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities, as constitutional. Hart v. North Carolina; Richardson v. North Carolina.