By Kathryn Hickok
Two more states recently expanded their school choice programs, bringing the total number of states with universal or near-universal student eligibility to seven.
In March, Florida became the fourth state this year to enact a universal school choice program for K-12 students. All Florida children now have the option to choose an Education Savings Account (ESA) funded at about $7,500 per year. Families who want to opt into the program may use ESA funds to pay for non-public-school tuition, tutoring, or other education services.
Last week, Indiana expanded eligibility for its school choice programs. According to the American Federation for Children, Indiana’s voucher program is now available to any family with an income below 400% of Free and Reduced-Price Lunch levels ($222,000 for a family of four). Income eligibility for Indiana’s tax credit scholarship and ESA programs also increased to the same level. This means that about 96.5% of Indiana families with school-aged children would qualify for one of the state’s educational choice programs.
Arizona, West Virginia, Utah, Iowa, and Arkansas also have enacted universal school choice laws. Oregon should join these education pioneers, so families can match their children’s needs and goals with the school environments that will serve them best.
Kathryn Hickok is Executive Vice President at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization, and Director of Cascade’s Children’s Scholarship Fund-Oregon program.