NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Indiana: The Nation's Largest School Choice Voucher State

March 12, 2015

The Indiana Department of Education recently released the Choice Scholarship Program Annual Report, which provides a look into their 2014-15 statewide voucher program. Here is a glimpse at the data:

  • Some 29,000 students are participating in the Choice Scholarship Program in 2014-15 compared with 19,809 students participating in 2013-14.
  • Fewer than three out of every 100 students (2.6 percent) are using a voucher to attend a school of their parents' choosing.
  • A family of three, which is Indiana's average family size, can have an income up to $36,612 and still qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch (FRL) this school year. 
  • The proportion of students from families in this income bracket slightly decreased from the more than 75 percent who received a voucher last year (75.5 percent) and qualified for FRL. 
  • Last school year, fewer than 8 percent of voucher students (7.9 percent) fell into a similar income bracket ($36,132 to $54,196 for a family of three in 2013-14). 

Indiana's top performing school districts have gained nearly 2,000 students with nine months remaining in 2015. At the same time, some 2,000 students left the state's worst performing school districts.

Additionally, just one in twenty-five students coming from higher-income families (3.9 percent) receive vouchers. Consider:

  • These students are from families making (for a family of three) $54,919 to $73,223 annually. 
  • This proportion of students is up from fewer than three of 100 students last school year (2.5 percent) being from families in a similar income bracket ($54,197 to $72,262 for a family of three in 2013-14).

This data challenges the idea that vouchers only help the rich attend better schools.

Source: Drew Catt, "A Look at New Data from the Nation's Largest School Choice Voucher Program," Friedman Foundation, February 2015. 


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