Louisiana

Louisiana Scholarship Program

Louisiana's statewide voucher program is available to low-income students in low-performing public schools. The voucher is equal to the lesser of 90 percent of the total state and local funding per student in the student's home school district or the tuition charged by the private school. Schools accepting students using the voucher may not charge those students more than non-voucher students. Students requiring special educational services are eligible for additional voucher funds equal to the federal special education funding in their home districts.  Students are eligible if their family income is no more than 250 percent of the federal poverty line ($59,625 for a family of four in 2014-15) and they either (1) attended a public school designated as "C," "D," "F," or "T" in the previous year, (2) are entering kindergarten, or (3) were enrolled at a public school in the Recovery School District. If more students apply than the program will allow, participation is determined by random lottery. If a particular private school is oversubscribed under the program, the state department of education must conduct a randomized lottery to award seats in that school. In that lottery, students from public schools rated "D" or "F" receive priority over students from public schools rated "C."  The program launched in 2008.  

Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction

Louisiana allows individual tax deductions for educational expenses, including private school tuition and fees, uniforms, textbooks, curricular materials, and any supplies required by the school. The deductions also include tuition and fees at university-run "lab schools."  The deductions are worth 100 percent of the total amount spent on tuition, fees, and other eligible expenses at private schools. Individuals may deduct up to $5,000 per child.  All K-12 Louisiana private school students are eligible. Any taxpayer that has private school educational expenses may claim the deduction. Launched in 2008.

School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities

Louisiana allows students with certain exceptionalities who live in eligible parishes to attend schools of their parents' choosing that provide educational services specifically addressing their needs. Eligible students are defined generally as those with special needs who have Individualized Education Plansbut who are not in accelerated or gifted and talented programs. The educational certificate (voucher) is worth 50 percent of the state dollars that would have been spenton the child in his or her public school or the cost of private school tuition, whichever is less. Familiesare responsible for any additional tuition charged by the school.  Students qualify if they have one of seven categories of learning exceptionalities, have an IndividualizedEducation Plan or services plans in accordance with Title 34 of the code of federal regulations, residein a parish with more than 190,000 residents, are eligible to attend a public school, and are not deemedgifted or talented. This program was launched in 20011.

Tuition Donation Rebate Program

Louisiana taxpayers can receive tax rebates for donations they make to School Tuition Organizations(STOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. There is no cap on available rebates. For students in grades K-8, scholarships can be worth up to 80 percent of the state average MinimumFoundation Program (MFP) funding per pupil for the previous year. For grades 9-12, scholarships canbe worth up to 90 percent of that same figure. Students must come from families whose household income is less than 250 percent of the federalpoverty line ($59,625 for a family of four in 2014-15). Additionally, they either must be enteringkindergarten, have attended a public school during the previous school year, or have previouslyreceived a scholarship. Students who received a voucher under the Louisiana Scholarship Program inthe previous school year are also eligible. This program was launched in 2012