Vermont

Vermont – Town Tuitioning Program

  • Voucher
  • Launched 1869

Vermont’s Town Tuitioning Program was launched in 1869, making it the oldest school choice program. The school voucher program provides educational options for students whose towns do not have public schools. The sending town pays school tuition directly to the “receiving” school, which can be any public or private, non-religious school in or outside Vermont. Learn more about this program’s funding, eligibility, regulations and legal history on this page.

We do not administer this program.

  • 3,749

    FTE Students Participating (2017–18)

  • 4%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 140

    Schools Participating (2017-18)

  • $15,546

    Average Voucher Value (projected 2020–21)

  • 73%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Vermont’s Town Tuitioning Program Participation

FTE Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

When students are tuitioned at public schools, the sending town pays the receiving school district an amount equal to the receiving district’s average per-pupil costs, as calculated by the Vermont Agency of Education. When students are tuitioned at private schools, the voucher is worth up to the average announced tuition for Vermont public schools, calculated each year by the state, or the private school’s tuition (whichever is less). That figure is calculated separately for grades K–6 and 7–12. For 2020–21, tuition amounts equal $14,859 for grades K–6 and $16,233 for grades 7–12.

Student Eligibility

Students must live in Vermont and reside in identified tuitioning town (i.e. towns that do not operate a public school at a given grade level range). Although most tuitioning towns allow parents to choose which schools will receive their students, some towns send all their students to one school.

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Vermont’s town tuitioning program helps thousands of students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity.

Eligibility is limited to students living in towns that do not operate public schools for student’s grade level, making it one of the most restrictive educational choice programs in the nation. Only 4 percent of Vermont students are eligible to participate and 3.7 percent of students statewide actually do so.

The average voucher size is about $15,500, which is about 73 percent of per-student spending at Vermont’s district schools, though the cap of the voucher size is somewhat higher ($14,859 for grades K–6 and $16,233 for grades 7–12).

In order to expand access to educational choice, Vermont policymakers should expand eligibility to all students. Additionally, although Vermont’s town tuitioning program mostly avoids unnecessary and counterproductive regulations, the program prohibits families from choosing to attend religious schools. This discriminatory policy violates the First Amendment and a similar policy in Maine is currently the subject of litigation.

Moreover, Act 46, which created a mechanism for school districts to consolidate, is having a negative effect on town tuitioning. When a tuitioning town consolidates with other towns, the right to continue tuitioning students to private schools is forfeited. Act 46 is subject to an active and ongoing debate in the state. Vermont students would be best served by preserving and expanding town tuitioning, a method of funding education that has been successful for more than 100 years.

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: None
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
  • Geographic Limit: District (without elementary or high school)
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Voucher Cap: $14,859 (K–6) /$16,233 (7–12)
  • Testing Mandates: None

School Requirements

  • Must be non-sectarian

Governing Statutes

16 V.S.A. §§ 821-36

Vermont – Town Tuitioning Program State Groups

That Support School Choice

Some towns in Vermont lack public schools, so students in those towns may send their children to neighboring districts or private schools. Click to see the list of tuitioning towns in Vermont.