Indiana chooses to implement broadest voucher plan in nation

The Midwest, home to the first school voucher program in the nation, now has the most far-reaching U.S. voucher law as the result of actions taken this year in Indiana. 

Stateline Midwest Vol. 20, No.5: May 2011

The Midwest, home to the first school voucher program in the nation, now has the most far-reaching U.S. voucher law as the result of actions taken this year in Indiana. HB 1003 was passed by the legislature in April.

It makes families of four earning up to $60,000 eligible for a state voucher, or scholarship, to send their students to a private school, The Indianapolis Star reports. The amount of the scholarship will be based on family income, with the state paying up to 90 percent of the tuition for low-income households. HB 1003 also includes a tax deduction of $1,000 for children who are home-schooled or attend a private school.

According to The Foundation for Educational Choice, state voucher programs have traditionally been limited to one of three groups: low-income households, pupils in failing schools, or special-needs students. Ohio, for example, has scholarship programs for students who attend chronically failing schools, who reside in Cleveland or who have been diagnosed with autism. The state of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was the first school voucher initiative in the nation. Also in the Midwest, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota provide tax credits covering the educational expenses for students in any private or public school.