Vermont – Town Tuitioning Program

  • Voucher
  • Launched 1869

Vermont’s Town Tuitioning Program was launched in 1869, making it the oldest school choice program in operation today. 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, in or outside Vermont. Learn more about this program’s funding, eligibility, regulationsand legal history on this page.

We do not administer this program.

Jump Links

  • 3,551

    FTE Students Participating (2021-22)

  • 4%

    of Students Eligible Statewide

  • 140

    Schools Participating (2017–18)

  • $16,178

    Average Voucher Value (2021–22)

  • 79%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Vermont’s Town Tuitioning Program Participation

FTE Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

Many towns in Vermont, particularly in rural areas, do not operate public high schools and/or elementary schools. Students in those towns may use public dollars to attend any public or approved independent (private) school in or outside of Vermont. The “tuitioning” towns pay tuition directly to the “receiving” schools.

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 2022–23, tuition amounts equal $15,295 for grades K–6 and $16,752 for grades 7–12.

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

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.

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

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 one in 20 Vermont students are eligible to participate and less than 5 percent of students statewide actually do so.

The average voucher size is about $16,000, which is about 79 percent of per-student spending at Vermont’s district schools, though the cap of the voucher size is somewhat higher, at least for grades 7–12 ($15,295 for grades K–6 and $16,752 for grades 7–12).

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 formerly prohibited families from choosing to attend religious schools. Thanks to the Carson v. Makin ruling, this discriminatory policy violated the First Amendment and was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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.

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

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: $15,295 (K–6) /$16,752 (7–12)
  • Testing Mandates: None

School Requirements

  • Public or private
  • Early childhood teachers must be licensed by the state 

(Last updated December 14, 2023) 

Governing Statutes

16 V.S.A. §§ 821-36

(Last updated December 14, 2023)