Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Voucher Program Catching on ; Applications More Than Double in Third Year

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Voucher Program Catching on ; Applications More Than Double in Third Year

Article excerpt

Indiana's voucher program has again seen a hike with more than double the number of students applying in its third year. The Indiana Department of Education recently reported 20,047 voucher applications were submitted for the 2013-14 school year, which is the largest applicant pool in state history. The program allows students to attend a private school on state dollar.

Betsy Wiley, president of School Choice Indiana, said the jump in numbers is fantastic and encouraging that families are taking advantage of the Choice Scholarship Program, but said from here numbers will most likely stay static. In 2011, Wiley said it was estimated there were about 22,000 private school seats available for voucher students.

"We will probably see modest growth going forward, but this will be the peak," Wiley said. "You're not going to see this kind of doubling that we've seen in the first three years of the program... Without additional capacity being built into the system, I think you're going to run out of places for students to go."

More than 9,300 students received School Choice Scholarships during the 2012-13 school year, and nearly, 4,000 students participated during the 2011-12 school year.

Evansville Day School, a junior prekindergarten through 12 grade school, has participated in the voucher program since it was established. Mary Jane Gibson, Interim Head of School, said they certainly have voucher students and said the program has been helpful to students who the school already offered financial assistance.

"It has certainly contributed to our enrollment," Gibson said. "We are getting very full, but I don't know that it's necessarily due to vouchers."

She said there was also a rise in interest after the school's capital campaign and construction to the front of the building. Enrollment is at a high with 327 students. …

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