Succeed Scholarship Program
- Enacted 2015
- Launched 2016
Arkansas provides private school vouchers to students in foster care, students with disabilities and the children of active-duty or reserve members of the U.S. military. Students who fall under these categories must have previously attended public school, unless they are children of active-duty military families or they receive a waiver from their school district. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations and more.
We do not administer this program.
Participating Students (2020-21)
of Students Eligible Statewide
Participating Schools (2020-21)
Average Voucher Value (2019-20)
Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Total Spending
Arkansas’s Succeed Scholarship Program Participation
Each student’s voucher is funded at the public school foundation funding amount for the current school year ($7,018 in 2020–21), up to but not exceeding the amount of tuition and fees at the private school.
Students must be accepted to an eligible private school and A) be in group foster care, B) have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), (C) have an individualized service plan in accordance with IDEA, (D) be diagnosed by a physician as having a disability defined by 20 U.S.C.1401(3)(A), or (E) be the dependent of active-duty or reserve members of the U.S. military. Students that meet the aforementioned requirements must also have been enrolled in an Arkansas public school for at least one year unless they receive a waiver from their home district superintendent or are dependents of active-duty or reserve members of the U.S. military.
EdChoice Expert Feedback
The Succeed Scholarship Program helps hundreds of Arkansas students with special needs, foster kids, and the children of members of the U.S. military access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity.
Eligibility for the scholarships is limited to students with special needs and foster students who were enrolled in a public school for at least one year or who were the children of active-duty military personnel or received a waiver from the local superintendent, making it one of the most restrictive educational choice programs in the nation. Only 13 percent of Arkansas students are eligible for a scholarship and fewer than 0.1% of students statewide actually use a scholarship.
The average scholarship size is about $6,300, which is about 54% of the average expenditure per student at Arkansas district schools, although it is likely significantly less than the average cost per pupil for students with special needs.
In order to expand access to educational choice, Arkansas policymakers should expand eligibility to all students. The program could also be converted into an education savings account to ensure that all students have access to the education that’s the right fit for them, whether private school or a customized course of education.
Arkansas’ scholarship program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations.
Rules and Regulations
- Income Limit: None
- Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes, with exceptions
- Geographic Limit: Statewide
- Enrollment Cap: none, except students in foster care are capped at 20
- Maximum voucher amount: $7,182
- Testing Mandates: Nationally norm-referenced tests
- *Limited to students with special needs, in foster care, or dependents of U.S. military personnel
- Be accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education or an associate member of the Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association or another accrediting association that is recognized by the state board of education as providing services to individuals with severe disabilities or be in the process of becoming accredited
- If not accredited within four years, schools are no longer eligible until they receive accreditation
- Be in operation for at least one year, provide a CPA-validated statement of fiscal solvency and insurance coverage, or provide a surety bond or letter of credit for the amount of scholarship funds for any quarter
- Notify Arkansas Department of Education of the specific grade levels and services available to students with disabilities when applying to participate in the program
- Be accountable to parents for meeting the educational needs of the student
- Affirm under oath semi-annually that the student has been enrolled in and is attending and participating in the school
- Employ teachers with no less than a bachelor’s degree
- Comply with federal anti-discrimination provisions
- Comply with existing laws governing private schools
- Adhere to the tenets of the private school’s published disciplinary rules before expelling any student using a voucher
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.
Succeed Scholarship Program State Groups
That Support School Choice
The Reform Alliance aims to ensure each Arkansas student has the ability to reach their fullest potential. Their mission is to create a parent and community leader network and improve student opportunities using a grassroots approach.