Parental School Choice

NCEA supports the concept of full and fair parental choice in education which is supported by tax relief, voucher, scholarships and other aid to parents so they may seek the educational opportunities they want for their children. 

Definitions of Parental Choice Options that Include Private School Students

Parental choice in education encompasses a range of options that allow parents to select the type of school they wish for their children. The usual choice options include:

  • A publicly funded voucher is a payment the government makes to a parent, or an institution on a parent's behalf, to be used for a child's education expenses.
  • A privately funded voucher is a payment that a private organization makes to a parent, or an institution on a parent's behalf, to be used for a child's education expenses.
  • A tax credit provides direct reductions to an individual's tax liability. A refundable credit allows for a tax refund if the credit exceeds the liability.
  • A tax deduction is a reduction in taxable income made prior to the calculation of tax liability.
  • A private scholarship tax credit allows individuals and businesses to take a tax credit for contributions to a private, nonprofit organization that that provides scholarship aid for children to attend a school of their parents choosing.
  • An education savings account (ESA) parents withdraw their children from public district and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted education uses including tuition and fees.

Public School Choice Options

  • A charter school is a public school that has been established by parents, teachers, community groups and public and private organizations interested in promoting school choice and competition within the public sector. The charters for these schools typically provide for a clear, focused mission, a smaller student population that facilitates creation of community, more innovative teaching practices, greater parental and local community involvement, clear educational and fiscal standards and accountability measures and fewer state and local school board bureaucratic regulations.
  • A magnet school is a public school that is organized around a specific program or philosophy and enrolls students across the district.
  • Public school inter-district or intra-district enrollment, allowing student to attend schools outside their attendance zone, within or across district lines, without charge.

Parental Choice Programs by State

(Complete details about each of these programs may be found on the website of EdChoice or American Federation for Children)


Name of Program

Type of Program

Alabama (2)

Alabama Education Scholarship Program


Alabama Accountability Act of 2013: Parent-Taxpayer Refundable Tax Credits

Tax-credit scholarships


Refundable tax credit for educational expenses

Arizona (5)

Arizona Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program


Arizona Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program


Arizona Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program


Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts


Arizona “Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Individuals tax credits for donations to scholarship organizations


Corporate tax credits scholarships



Scholarship – disabilities


Education savings accounts


Tax credits scholarships

Arkansas (1)

Arkansas – Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities


Colorado (1)

Colorado Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program

Voucher for public school students to attend private

District of Columbia (1)

District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program

Federally-funded scholarships

Florida (3)

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program


Florida John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program


Florida Gardiner Scholarship Program

Tax credit scholarships


Voucher – disabilities


Education savings accounts


Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program


Georgia Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit



Tax credit scholarship transfer from public school

Iowa (2)

Iowa Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit


Iowa School Tuition Organization Tax Credit

Parents’ tax credit for educational expenses


Tax credit scholarships – individual and corporate

Illinois (1)

Illinois Tax Credits for Educational Expenses

Individual tax credit

Indiana (3)

Indiana Private School/Homeschool Deduction


Indiana Choice Scholarship Program


Indiana School Scholarship Tax Credit

Individual tax deduction for education expenses



Individual/corporate tax credit for donations

Kansas (1)

Kansas Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program

Tax credit scholarship

Louisiana (4)

Louisiana Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deductions


Louisiana Scholarship Program


Louisiana School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities


Louisiana Tuition Donation Rebate Program

Individual tax deductions for education expenses




Voucher – disabilities


Tax credit scholarship

Maryland (1)

Maryland – Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program


Maine (1)

Maine – Town Tuitioning Program

Voucher – but not for use in faith- based schools

Minnesota (2)

Minnesota K–12 Education Credit


Minnesota Education Deduction

Individual tax credit for education expenses

Individual deductions

Mississippi (3)

Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program


Mississippi Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program


Mississippi Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program

Voucher – disabilities


Voucher – speech-language therapy


Education savings accounts - disabilities

Montana (1)

Montana Tax Credits for Contributions to Student Scholarship Organizations

Tax credit scholarships

North Carolina (2)

North Carolina Opportunity Scholarships


North Carolina Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities



Voucher – special education

Nevada (2)

Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program


Nevada Education Savings Accounts

Tax credit scholarship


Education savings accounts

Ohio (5)




Ohio Cleveland Scholarship Program


Ohio Autism Scholarship Program


Ohio Educational Choice Scholarship Program


Ohio Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program


Ohio Income-Based Scholarship Program

Voucher – Cleveland


Voucher – state-wide


Vouchers: students assigned to under-performing public schools

Voucher – special needs


Voucher – low-income

Oklahoma (1)

Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships

Tax credit scholarship

Pennsylvania (1)

Pennsylvania Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program

Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program

Corporate tax credit scholarship

Scholarships for students in low achieving zones

Rhode Island (1)

Rhode Island Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations

Corporate tax credit scholarship

South Carolina (2)

South Carolina Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children


South Carolina Refundable Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children

Tax credit scholarship –special needs


Refundable tax credit for parents/guardians

South Dakota (1)

South Dakota Partners in Education Tax Credit Program

Tax credit scholarships

Tennessee (1)

Tennessee Individualized Education Account Program

Education savings accounts special needs students

Utah (1)

Utah Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship

Voucher – special needs

Virginia (1)

Virginia Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program

Tax credit scholarships

Vermont (1)

Vermont Town Tuitioning Program

Voucher – not faith-based schools

Wisconsin (5)

Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (Statewide)


Wisconsin Milwaukee Parental Choice Program


Wisconsin Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine)


Wisconsin – K–12 Private School Tuition Deduction


Wisconsin – Special Needs Scholarship Program



Voucher – low-income




Individual tax deduction for education expenses

Special needs vouchers

Types of Parental Private School Choice Programs by State

Vouchers: There are 26 voucher programs in 15 states:

  • Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana (2), Maine, Maryland, Mississippi (2), North Carolina (2), Ohio (5), Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) in Operation

Education Savings Accounts (ESA): There are five ESA programs in five states:

  • Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, and Tennessee

Tax-Credit Scholarships: There are 21 tax-credit scholarship programs in 17 states:

  • Alabama, Arizona (4), Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia

Individual Tax Credits or Deductions: There are 9 individual tax credit/deduction programs in 8 states:

  • Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, South Carolina and Wisconsin

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