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Ohio – Cleveland Scholarship Program


Ohio – Cleveland Scholarship Program

Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program was enacted in 1995 and launched in 1996. Through this program, students who attend the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can receive vouchers to attend neighboring public schools or private schools. Learn more about the program’s eligibility, funding, requirements, regulations, and more on this page.

Program Fast Facts

  • Declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002

  • 6,703 participating students (2014–15)

  • 100 percent of students eligible districtwide

  • 34 participating schools (2014–15)

  • Average voucher value: $4,678 (2013–14)

  • Value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 42 percent

Program Details

Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program Participation 1997 – 2014

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Click the + symbols to learn more about this program’s details.

Parents in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can receive vouchers to send their children to private school or public schools bordering the school district.

Student Funding

The maximum voucher value is $4,250 for grades K–8 and $5,700 for high school. Families with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level receive vouchers worth 90 percent of tuition, whereas families above the 200 percent level receive vouchers worth 75 percent of tuition. Parents whose household income is more than the 200 percent threshold agree to pay the remaining tuition.

Student Eligibility

Children in grades K–12 in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are eligible. Priority is given to families with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($48,500 for a family of four in 2015–16). Children from families with incomes above 200 percent of poverty are eligible to receive vouchers if approved by the Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction. Participating private schools must accept voucher students on a random basis, giving preference to low-income students if they have more applicants than open seats.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None (Priority given to families up to 200% x Poverty)
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
  • Geographic Limit: District (Cleveland Metropolitan)
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Voucher Cap: $4,250 (K–8) / $5,700 (9–12)
  • Testing Mandates: State
  • School Requirements:
    • Be registered to participate and chartered by the state
    • Meet state standards for chartered nonpublic schools
    • Comply with state laws regarding nondiscrimination and health and safety codes
    • Administer the state tests, including the Ohio Graduation Test

Legal History

On June 27, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Cleveland school voucher program does not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; that vouchers are constitutional when parents have independent, private choice of schools without favoring or disfavoring religion. By design, the voucher program is “school neutral.” Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002).

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