(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana’s new state-funded school voucher program has been a hit.
The Indiana Department of Education said Thursday that 3,919 students statewide signed up for the Indiana Choice Scholarship program to attend private schools.
“Hoosier parents are more empowered than ever before in our state,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said in announcing the figure. “Demographics do not determine a child’s ability to grow academically and should not determine the educational opportunities offered to any student. When you connect a child’s name and face to the Choice Scholarship program, it is easy to see the transformational results of increased educational opportunities.”
The program is capped at allowing 7,500 vouchers in its inaugural year. The cap will increase to 15,000 students next year, followed by an unlimited number in 2013 and beyond.
The vouchers redirected more than $16 million in state aid to follow those students from public to private education.
The department said 85-percent of the participating students come from families whose income qualifies for free or reduced lunch.
Fifty-four percent of the students are minorities. Just over 30 percent are from rural and suburban parts of the state.
About 250 private schools statewide have been approved to accept students for the program, including St. Mary School in Aurora, St. Louis School in Batesville, St. Michael School in Brookville, St. Paul Elementary School in Guilford, and St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg.
The Choice Scholarship program uses public funds to cover a portion of a student’s tuition to a private school. A family of four with annual income less than $41,348 can receive a 90 percent scholarship. A same sized family making up to $62,021 can qualify for a 50 percent scholarship.