Indiana’s tax-credit scholarship program was enacted in 2009 and launched in 2010 to help low- and middle-income families access the right school for their children’s needs. Learn more about the program’s details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations, legal history and more.
8,501 scholarships awarded (2016–17)
60 percent of families with children income-eligible statewide
6 scholarship organizations awarding scholarships (2017–18)
327 schools participating (2015–16)
Average scholarship value: $1,978 (2016–17)
Value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 21 percent
Indiana offers donors tax credits for contributing to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), nonprofits that distribute private school scholarships.
Charitable donations made to scholarship-granting organizations fund these scholarships. Individuals and corporations may receive 50 percent tax credits for their donations to SGOs, and Indiana allocated $12.5 million for tax credits meant for SGO donations in 2018. SGOs determine scholarship amounts.
Children are eligible to receive scholarships if their family income does not exceed 200 percent of the guidelines needed to qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program ($91,020 for a family of four in 2017–18). Children must be between ages 5 and 22 to participate. Current private school students can qualify.
The eligibility restrictions on Indiana’s tax-credit scholarship program exclude many families. Just like public schools, the scholarships should be available to all children, regardless of their parents’ income. Additionally, the total cap on credits restricts the overall amount of money that follows students. Inclusion of current private school families who are eligible for the scholarship, regardless of whether they previously attended a public school, helps families who have sacrificed to give their children a better education. With that increase, however, Indiana will need to raise the cap on available tax credits to compensate for the additional demand. The program also deserves credit for avoiding unnecessary regulations.
Ind. Code §§ 6-3.1-30.5 and 20-51-1 through 3
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.