Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Indiana Voucher Program Cost State $40 Million Last Year

Indiana's voucher system that allows low-income kids to use state funds to attend private schools has put the state in a $40 million deficit.

Indiana’s voucher system that allows low-income kids to use state funds to attend private schools has put the state in a $40 million deficit. (Photo Credit: Claire McInerny/StateImpact Indiana)

Indiana’s voucher program is costing the state $40 million for the 2014-2015 school year, according to an updated report released Tuesday by the Department of Education. That’s up from $15 million the year before.

The school choice program, started in 2011, left the state with a surplus of around $4 million each year for the first two years, because not as many families were enrolling in the program to use available money. In the years since, the state increased the number of available scholarships, resulting in more money being put into the scholarship program.

As you can see, the number of students using state funds to attend a private school, including religious institutions, has grown dramatically since the first year the money was available, making it the fastest growing voucher program in the country:

2011-12: 3,911 students
2012-13: 9,139 students
2013-14: 19,809 students
2014-15: 29,148 students

Under a state law regarding the scholarship program, if there is money leftover from program (meaning not as many students used the available funds), that money is given back to the public and charter schools, but schools haven’t received any of that excess money since the 2012-2013 school year.


  • Jenny

    Vouchers in Indiana are not just for low-income kids. Please check out the chart provided by the pro-voucher group “Hoosiers for Quality Education,” which receives massive funding from out-of-state foundations. A family of five (for instance, two parents and three kids) can receive the smaller voucher (50% of the student allotment in the corporation of residence) if they make $78,838 annually. If they are reapplying or the child has special needs, that income limit is $105,117. (To see the chart, click on the question “What are the voucher household income limits…?”

  • Fort Wayne Native

    1. This is the equivalent to citing an article from the NRA about gun control.
    2. If you’re going to reference the $40 million dollar “cost”, you need to define cost and how it’s calculated.
    3. Last time I checked, the private schools weren’t filing referendums to build bigger football fields with tax dollars.

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