This school year marks the first opportunity for parents who meet income eligibility levels to apply for an Indiana Choice Scholarship for their children. According to a WNDU story, more than 1,300 students had been accepted into the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program by the end of last week. The article reports that roughly 470 of the students will attend Catholic schools in the Fort Wayne South Bend diocese (that number is now, at the time of this writing, up to 550). To read the full WNDU story, click here: Vouchers spark 40% enrollment increase at Our Lady.
To some, 1,300 hundred students may not seem like a high number, given that the statewide limit on Choice Scholarships is 7,500 this year. (The cap for next year is 15,000, and there is no cap in future years.) In actuality, this number marks an undeniable success. The rules and regulations for the voucher legislation were not released until the second week of July, families and schools a brief window to begin the application process. Changing schools no doubt requires some level of adjustment for not only the students but the families as well. In many cases, families were making the decision of whether to apply for a Choice Scholarship at a time of year when school enrollment has normally already been long decided. One can reasonably assume that the uncertainty surrounding this new process may have caused some families to delay the decision until next year; this has in fact been observed in other states in the first year following enactment of choice legislation. While the cap of 7,500 may not have been reached, that more than 1,300 students’ families have taken advantage of greater choice is a cause for celebration.