Feb 13, 2013 11:53 AM by MELISSA CANONE
The Department of Education today released the student application to participate in the Louisiana Scholarship Program for the 2013-2014 school year. While the list of participating schools will not be final until after all applications are received, schools listed on the application have undergone a rigorous review process involving independent accreditation, Department of Education surveys, and site visits. Applications can be found online or at any participating school. The deadline for completed applications is March 15.
"More than 10,000 students applied to this program last year, and we were able to accommodate nearly 5,000," said State Superintendent John White. "That means we disappointed half of those parents. To better meet the needs of our families, we need to improve all schools and expand alternatives, such as the Scholarship Program."
Schools seeking to participate in the Louisiana Scholarship Program began the application process in November. Since then, the Department has reviewed accreditation status, surveyed schools, and conducted site visits. The final list of participating schools will be published after student applications have been received. Additional information on the school review process and the overall timetable for the Louisiana Scholarship Program can be found here.
Louisiana lawmakers expanded the Louisiana Scholarship Program statewide through Act 2 of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session. While a similar program operated in New Orleans from 2008 to 2012, the 2012-2013 school year marks the first year of statewide implementation. Through the Louisiana Scholarship Program, students are able to opt to attend not only approved nonpublic schools but also high-performing public schools participating in the program.
"The Scholarship Program provides students with expanded access to quality programs and empowers parents to choose an option that best suits their children," said Chas Roemer, president of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
To be eligible, a child must have been enrolled in a C, D, or F rated public school during the 2012-2013 school year, unless a student is entering kindergarten for the first time in the 2013-2014 school year. Students must also be residents of Louisiana and meet income eligibility requirements (family income in 2012 cannot exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines). The Louisiana Scholarship Program is available to all eligible students.
Trya Barnes, whose son participates in the Louisiana Scholarship Program, expressed her satisfaction with the program, "I like the Scholarship Program. My son is doing much better. This is why we need to keep the program; it's very, very important."
Crystal Nixon, a parent with a son currently attending public school said, "I will be applying again for my son, because I am determined to give him every opportunity to succeed."
Last year, the Department received more than 10,000 applications. During the coming months, the Department will work with participating schools to determine seat availability and attempt to match applicants with the school of their choice. However, if the number of applicants exceeds available seats, the scholarships will be awarded through a lottery process. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application no later than the week of April 15.
For more information on the Louisiana Scholarship Program, please click here.