Ohio

Cleveland Scholarship Program

  • Voucher
  • Enacted 1995
  • Launched 1996

Parents in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can receive vouchers to send their children to private school or public schools bordering the school district through the Cleveland Scholarship Program. Learn more about the program’s eligibility, funding, requirements, regulations and more on this page.

We do not administer this program.

  • 7,173

    Participating Students (2020-21)

  • 100%

    of Students Eligible Districtwide

  • 41

    Participating Schools (Fall 2020)

  • $5,025

    Average Voucher Value (2019-20)

  • 34%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

The maximum voucher value is $5,500 for students in grades K–8 and $7,500 for high school students. Schools must accept vouchers from K–8 recipients with a household income no greater than twice the federal poverty level as full tuition payment. Parents whose household income is more than the 200 percent threshold or whose student is in high school may pay the remaining tuition or provide in-kind services of the remaining tuition. Ohio’s state budget includes $23.5 million in deductions from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for the program in 2020–21.

Student Eligibility

Children in grades K–12 who reside in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are eligible. Priority is given to families with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($52,400 for a family of four in 2020–21). 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 prioritize renewing scholarship recipients, siblings of enrolled students, and low-income students in admitting scholarship students; otherwise, participating private schools must accept voucher students on a random basis as space allows.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program helps thousands of students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do much more to expand educational opportunity.

All K–12 who reside in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are eligible, but only 2.5 percent of students statewide actually use one of Ohio’s five educational choice programs (including the Autism Scholarship Program, the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program, and the Income-Based Scholarship Program).

The average voucher value is about $4,900, which is about 34 percent of the average expenditure per student at Ohio’s district schools.

In order to expand access to educational choice, Ohio policymakers should expand eligibility to all students statewide and fund the vouchers on par with the per-pupil funding at district schools. 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.

Ohio’s voucher program generally avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations. Participants are required to take a nationally norm-referenced assessment.

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: $5,500 (K–8) / $7,500 (9–12)
  • Testing Mandates: National

School Requirements:

  • Be licensed, registered and chartered by the state
  • Prioritize admission of voucher students based for returning students, siblings of enrolled students, and low-income students
    • Otherwise, admit voucher students on a random basis as space allows
  • Meet state standards for chartered nonpublic schools
  • Accept voucher as full tuition for K–8 students whose family income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold
  • Comply with state laws regarding nondiscrimination and health and safety codes
  • Administer to voucher students a nationally norm-referenced test approved by the state department of education

Cleveland Scholarship Program State Groups

That Support School Choice

School Choice Ohio works to ensure that families across the state know about the education options available for their children. They also advocate for the expansion of quality options for every child.