Louisiana’s Tuition Donation Credit Program is a tax-credit scholarship program enacted and launched in 2012. It was designed to encourage donors to contribute to scholarship organizations that help students from low-income households access the private learning options best suited to their needs. Learn more about the program details on this page, including eligibility, funding, regulations, legal history and more.
1,703 participating students (2017–18)
47 percent of families with children income-eligible statewide
3 scholarship organizations awarding scholarships (2018–19)
162 participating schools (2017–18)
Average scholarship value: $4,148 (2016–17)
Value as a percentage of public school per-student spending: 37 percent
Louisiana taxpayers can receive tax rebates for donations they make to school tuition organizations (STOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. There is no cap on available rebates.
For students in grades K–8, scholarships can be worth up to 80 percent of the state average Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) funding per pupil for the previous year ($4,147 in 2018–19). For grades 9–12, scholarships can be worth up to 90 percent of that same figure ($4,666 in 2018–19).
Students must come from families whose household income is less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line ($62,750 for a family of four in 2018–19). Additionally, they either must be entering kindergarten, have attended a public school in both semesters during the previous school year or have previously received a scholarship. Students who received a voucher under the Louisiana Scholarship Program in the previous school year are also eligible.
Louisiana’s tax-credit scholarship program is very strong on funding, as there is no cap on the amount of credits donors can claim; moreover, individual scholarships can be worth up to 80 percent of the average state funding per pupil in grades K–8 and 90 percent in grades 9–12. However, the program limits eligibility based on income and enrollment status. As a result, only about half of families statewide qualify to receive scholarships. The program also places a number of unnecessarily burdensome regulations on participating schools. Schools must use lotteries to admit students and administer the state math and language arts tests to scholarship students, both of which could dissuade private schools from participating and the latter of which creates a strong incentive for participating schools to narrow their curriculum and “teach to the test.” For this promising program to grow successfully, the legislature should give participating private schools more autonomy and expand eligibility to include all students.
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.
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