Indiana Voucher Program Enrolls More Than 9,000 Children This School Year

Oct 17, 2012, 16:47 ET from American Federation for Children

Choice Scholarship Program more than doubles, sets record for growth in a voucher program's second year

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 9,000 Indiana students are participating in Indiana's statewide voucher program during the 2012-13 school year, more than twice the number who enrolled in the program during its first year,  according to recently-released numbers from the Indiana Department of Education.

The number of students enrolled in the program this year—more than 9,300 in total—makes the Indiana program the fourth-largest voucher program in the nation in just its second year.

"These numbers indicate what we've known all along—that parents want the option to send their child to the school that best fits their needs," said Kevin P. Chavous, senior advisor to the American Federation for Children. "Indiana is a great example of how educational choice empowers parents and provides hope for disadvantaged children.  We look forward to the program expanding for years to come."

There are 270 schools across Indiana accepting scholarship students this year, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

Students qualifying for the federal free-and-reduced lunch program ($42,643 for a family of four) are eligible for a voucher worth up to 90 percent of the state tuition amount for the sending school district. Children from families who earn up to 150 percent of the free-and-reduced lunch eligibility (around $63,964 for a family of four) can receive a scholarship for up to 50 percent of the tuition amount. Nearly 85 percent of voucher recipients in the 2011-2012 school year were on the free-and-reduced lunch program.

There are 32 publicly funded private school choice programs in 16 states and Washington, D.C. this year, five of which were created thanks to legislation in 2012. Last year, more than 210,000 children participated in private school choice programs, a number that is expected to rise significantly in 2012-13.

SOURCE American Federation for Children