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Education Options in the States: State Programs That Provide Financial Assistance for Attendance at Private Elementary or Secondary Schools
Revised February 2009
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Louisiana

13. Louisiana—Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program

Program type: Scholarships for low-income students in New Orleans

Description: The Student Scholarships for Excellence Program provides scholarships for low-income eligible students in grades K-3 to attend participating private or public schools in New Orleans. Students must apply to be accepted into the program. Beginning in the 2009-10 school year, for new students, one additional grade level of eligibility will be added to the program each year (fourth grade in 2009-10, fifth grade in 2010-11, etc.). To be eligible, a student must reside in Orleans Parish (New Orleans7); be a member of a family with a total income that does not exceed 250 percent of the current federal poverty guidelines; be an entering student in kindergarten, first, second, or third grade; and (except for students entering kindergarten for the first time) have been enrolled in a public school that meets certain criteria.

All participating schools must have an open admissions process for enrolling scholarship recipients; select scholarship recipients using a random selection process in the event that there are more scholarship recipients applying than seats available; submit to the Louisiana Department of Education an independent financial audit of the school; accept the scholarship amounts provided to scholarship recipients as full payment of all education costs, including incidental or supplementary fees; and ensure that scholarship recipients take all academic tests in the grades and subjects required under state law.

Amount of assistance: The scholarship amount is equivalent to 90 percent of the per pupil amount the Orleans Parish (New Orleans) receives from combined state and local sources or the maximum amount of tuition plus incidental or supplementary fees that are charged to non-scholarship students enrolled in the participating school and any costs incurred in administering the tests required pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 17:4023, whichever is less. The maximum amount of assistance for the 2008-09 school year is $7,138. If the student enrolls in a participating school that does not charge tuition, the amount of the scholarship shall be equivalent to 90 percent of the per pupil amount the covered district receives from combined state and local sources or the participating school's actual cost of educating a student plus any costs incurred in administering the tests required pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 17:4023, whichever is less. If the scholarship recipient is eligible to receive special education and related services under IDEA, an amount equivalent to special education funding provided to the Orleans Parish for such a student from federal sources will be added to the total scholarship amount. The Student Scholarships for Excellence Program is funded through appropriations from the legislature from the state's general fund. In fiscal year 2008-09, the program was appropriated $10 million.

Number of participants: For the 2008-09 school year, as of Dec. 1, 2008, 635 scholarships were awarded for students to attend 30 participating schools.8

Authorizing statute: Louisiana Revised Statutes §§R.S. 17:4011-17:4025

Legislative history: The Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program was signed into law in June 2008. The program began in the 2008-09 school year.

Judicial history: No legal suits have been filed regarding this program.

For more information, see: http://www.doe.state.la.us/lde/comm/2699.html.

14. Louisiana—Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction

Program type: Tax deduction to individuals for qualified education expenses

Description: Louisiana law allows for a deduction for the sum of amounts paid or incurred during the taxable year by a taxpayer to a public elementary or secondary school for a student's participation in curricular and core classes or expenses for the purchase of school uniforms; to a qualified private elementary or secondary school; or for qualified education expenses associated with home schooling.

Amount of assistance: The deduction shall equal 50 percent of the actual amount of tuition and fees paid by the taxpayer per student or $5,000 per student, whichever is less. If the deduction is claimed for a foster child, the deduction shall equal the actual amount of tuition and fees paid by the taxpayer per foster child. The amount of the deduction shall not exceed the total taxable income of the individual.

Number of participants: This is a new program that began with the 2008 taxable year, effective March 24, 2008. Data are not yet available on the numbers of authorized deductions.

Authorizing statute: Louisiana Revised Statutes §§R.S. 47:297.10-47:297.12

Legislative history: The elementary and secondary school tuition deduction was signed into law on March 24, 2008.

Judicial history: No legal suits have been filed regarding this program.

For more information, see: http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=473661.

7 The law authorizes the program within a "covered district," but only Orleans Parish (New Orleans) qualifies as a "covered district."

8 As of Dec. 1, 2008, 726 students were awarded scholarships, 635 students were attending 30 private schools and the remaining 89 awards were pending student enrollment.


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Last Modified: 04/30/2009