The Louisiana Scholarship Program
What is the Louisiana Scholarship Program?
The Louisiana Scholarship Program is sometimes known as the "voucher" program. For this program, Louisiana offers vouchers for private school tuition to families who make a certain amount of money or less and whose children are either entering kindergarten or go to public schools that have been graded C, D, or F. Not all Catholic schools participate in this program.
Is My Family Eligible for the Scholarship Program?
If you answer yes to at least one question under Student Eligibility below and your income meets the requirements under Income Eligibility below, then your student qualifies for the Scholarship program.
My student is entering kindergarten
My student is enrolled in a school that earned a C, D, or F
My student participates in one of the scholarship programs already
My family's income matches the requirements below.
2016 Income Requirements for the Louisiana Scholarship Program
|Household Size||Annual Income||Weekly Income|
|More than 8||Add $10,400 for each additional person||Add $200 for each additional person|
How Much of the Cost Does a Scholarship Cover?
The scholarship amount is not fixed and instead is based on the tuition and fees charged by the school.
Do All Catholic Schools Participate in the Scholarship Program?
No. Some Catholic schools choose not to participate in the Scholarship Program, and sometimes schools lose eligibility to participate due to poor academic performance. The list of participating schools for the 2017-18 school year is not out yet, but you can find the list of all of the private schools—Catholic and non-Catholic—that currently participate here.
The 2017-18 list will come out in November and will be on the Louisiana Department of Education’s website.
Will Every Student Who Applies for a Scholarship Receive One?
No, unfortunately it is unlikely that every student who applies will receive a scholarship. The number of vouchers awarded each year depends on the amount of money designated by the state legislature. Louisiana is currently working through a wait list of voucher applicants.
If I Receive a Scholarship, Will I Need to Reapply Every Year?
No, once a student is a participant in the Louisiana Scholarship Program, they will automatically be re-enrolled in the program every year until a terminal grade (for example, if the school has grades PK-12, then the student will not have to reapply. However, if the school has grades PK-7, then the student would need to reapply for the scholarship in 7th grade in order to receive a scholarship to cover tuition for their 8th-12th grades at a new Catholic school).
My Child Has Special Needs. Do Scholarship Schools Provide Special Education Services?
Unlike public schools, private schools, including Catholic schools, are not required by law to provide special education services to students. That said, some schools do offer special education programs and you should contact a school’s administration to learn about the specific programs and services they offer.
There is also a scholarship program for students who have Individual Education Plans and have one of the following disabilities:
- Developmental Delay
- Emotional Disturbance
- Mental Disability
- Other Health Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability
- Traumatic Brain Injury
This program is known as the School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities.
Will My Child Still Have to Take the State's Tests?
Yes. Participating scholarship schools are required to give all state exams to any student at the school with a voucher. State test scores are reported publicly and if the school has ten or more Scholarship students per grade, then the school receives a Scholarship Cohort Index, also known as the SCI—similar to public school letter grades. This score is used to determine whether a school can continue to participate in the Scholarship Program.
When Are the Deadlines to Apply for the Louisiana Scholarship Program?
It depends. Do you live in Orleans Parish or another parish?
Families in Orleans Parish must complete a city-wide common application, known as OneApp to receive a placement at a charter school (with some exceptions), a traditional public school, or a private school that accepts the Louisiana Scholarship Program vouchers.
If your family lives outside of Orleans Parish, but you would like to apply to a Scholarship school located in Orleans Parish, you will also need to complete a OneApp application, but will only be eligible to choose Scholarship schools (not charters or traditional public schools located in Orleans). OneApp applications can be found online or at any of the three Family Resource Centers in New Orleans.
If your family lives outside of Orleans Parish and you are applying to a Catholic school located outside of Orleans Parish, you will complete a Scholarship Program application. If you live in Orleans Parish, but are applying to a Catholic school located outside of Orleans Parish, you will also need to complete a Scholarship Program application.