School Choice in the States: March 2024

Alabama joined the universal club this month, bringing the number of states with universal or near-universal educational choice programs to 11. As of this March, this year, EdChoice is tracking 78 bills in 27 states relating to education savings accounts, vouchers, refundable tax credits, and tax-credit scholarships. About 79% of that legislation relates to education savings accounts.


Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Creating Hope & Opportunity for Our Students’ Education (CHOOSE) Act into law in March, joining 10 other states in enacting universal or near-universal education freedom legislation.


Georgia’s legislature passed SB 233 in March, a bill that would create an ESA program for students in failing schools. Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign it into law shortly.


Gov. Eric Holcomb signed HB 1001 into law in March, which includes some minor expansions to the state’s Education Scholarship Account Program. Siblings of eligible students will now qualify for the program and curriculum was added as an allowable expense.


The Kentucky General Assembly passed a bill submitting an amendment to the state’s constitution allowing the state to fund the education of K-12 students outside of the public school system. The amendment will now go to a ballot, where Bluegrass State voters will vote to ratify or reject it. It is important to note that the current restriction on this type of education funding is limited to Kentucky’s state constitution and is not a legal issue across most of the United States.


Both HB 745 and SB 313 were introduced to create universal ESA programs. HB 745 was referred to the House Committee on Education and SB 313 was referred to the Senate Committee on Education in March.


Minnesota lawmakers introduced HF 5123 in March, a companion bill to SF 3435, legislation to create an ESA for families with incomes less than or equal to 4 times the reduced lunch income standard. For the first year, the maximum number of ESA students must not exceed 5% of the prior-year’s public school average daily membership. For each following year, this maximum will increase by 3% of the public school average daily membership. HF 5123 was referred to the education policy committee.


HB 1449, a bill that would create a universal education savings account program, died on the calendar in March.


The Missouri Senate passed SB 727 in March, which would expand the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program’s geographical borders to statewide access and increase the funding cap from $50 million to 75 million. The bill leaves the income restrictions at status quo and received a second reading in the House.

New Hampshire

Passed in February, HB 1665, a bill to expand the state’s Education Freedom Account Program’s (EFA) eligibility from 350 to 500%, is awaiting movement in the Senate.

SB 522, a bill to expand the eligibility of the EFA program to pre-K students, was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

New Jersey

Garden State lawmakers introduced A 4144/S 3035, the New Jersey Student Support Act in March, a tax-credit scholarship program. The bill’s language is not yet available.


A series of bills—SB 1477, HB 3388, HB 3396, and HB 3387—often called “clean up” bills, were introduced in February that would make small improvements to the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act. Improvements would include changes such as disqualifying the credit as income and streamlining the application process for low-income families. Only SB 1477 moved in March, passing the Senate and moving on to the House.

Rhode Island

HB 7914, introduced and referred to the House Finance Committee in March, would create a universal, by-district per-pupil funded ESA program.

SB 2340 would create an Education Freedom Account Program for families with incomes less than or equal to 250% of the federal poverty line. The bill was held for further study in committee in March.

SB 2053 would provide parents of students in kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) in Rhode Island with an opportunity to enroll their child in an educational program of their choosing, either via open enrollment in a traditional public school in their own district or any other public school district, or by receiving a scholarship, with designated public monies to follow the student to a participating private school or private curriculum program selected by the parent. The bill was held for further study in committee in March.

South Carolina

South Carolina’s House passed HB 5164 in March, legislation that would expand the state’s Education Trust Fund ESA program to universal eligibility. The bill was sent to the Senate.


Three bills—SB 2787 and HB 1183/SB 503 (Senate companion)—would create ESA programs with universal eligibility. However, they both would be limited by a program cap of 20,000 students per year, capping how many families would have access to the program. HB 1183 includes an escalator that would increase this cap by 20 percent each year if over 90 percent of the program cap is met. All three bills were passed out of the education committees and referred to the finance, ways, and means committees in their respective chambers.


Gov. Spencer Cox signed SB 2 into law in March, a bill including a measure expanding the state’s Utah Fits All Scholarship Program. The funding cap was nearly doubled, seeing an increase from $42.5 million to $80 million. Thanks to the increase, the ESA program can now serve an estimated 10,000 students (up from 5,000).
Also signed into law by the governor, HB 529, a “clean up” bill for the same program, further clarified things relating to military and foster care eligibility, participation in public schools, placed the expense appeals process with the Program Manager, ensures the fiscal appropriation is transferred to the Program Manager in a timely fashion, and allows the ability to work with the Utah Tax Commission on income verification.


In March, the Wyoming legislature passed legislation creating a broad ESA program, however, with a line-item veto by Gov. Mark Gordon, the eligibility of the new program was significantly limited. The program will be available to families with incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty line, making about 21% of the state eligible. It is Wyoming’s first school choice program.