|PDF (Unknown Size)|
1. Purpose of Non-Regulatory Guidance
The U.S. Department of Education's (Department) Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE) updated this non-regulatory guidance to provide the nonpublic school community as well as state and local educational agencies (SEAs and LEAs) with information about some federal education benefits and services available to private school students, teachers and, in some programs, families. This non-regulatory guidance addresses a number of frequently asked questions about programs that include equitable services provisions authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). However, this document is not inclusive of all issues concerning private school participation in federal education programs, and where appropriate, contains links to additional program related guidance for convenience.
This non-regulatory guidance represents the Department's current thinking on these topics. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person, nor does it impose any requirements beyond those set forth under applicable laws and regulations.
Should you wish to comment on this non-regulatory guidance, please send your comments to ONPE@ed.gov or the address below.
Office of Non-Public Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202-5940
2. Does the Department have jurisdiction over private elementary and secondary schools and home schools?
The Department does not have jurisdiction over private elementary and secondary schools unless they are direct recipients of federal financial assistance; nor does the Department have jurisdiction over home schools. The regulation of private and home schools is primarily the responsibility of state and local governments. The Department of Education Organization Act expressly prohibits the Department from exercising "any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system...except to the extent authorized by law." (20 U.S.C. § 3403(b)). Additional information about state laws and policies impacting private and home schools is located on ONPE's interactive map of State Regulations of Private and Home Schools1 . Also, see questions 12 and 13 below for information about the applicability of certain federal requirements to private schools that receive federal financial assistance.TOP
3. Does the Department offer scholarships or other forms of financial assistance to pay tuition for students to attend private elementary or secondary schools?
In general, the federal government does not provide scholarships or other forms of financial assistance that directly pay the tuition for a student to attend a private elementary or secondary school. However, the Department administers one program, the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) 2, funded through a grant authorized under the Student Opportunity and Achievement Results Act , which provides low-income parents residing in the District of Columbia with expanded options for the education of their children. The Department awards a competitive grant to a private entity to administer the OSP and provide scholarships to families for private school tuition, fees, and transportation expenses for students who meet certain eligibility criteria. Students who are residents of the District of Columbia and who come from households whose income does not exceed 185 percent of the poverty line are eligible to apply for scholarships from the grantee under this program. To learn more about the OSP, visit the Department's OSP webpage 3 .
Additionally, in 2019 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos introduced Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) 4 , a policy proposal that will empower students to pursue the education that's right for them. The proposal would establish a federal income tax credit for voluntary contributions to non-profit organizations that give scholarships to students. The Scholarships will not take a single dollar from public school teachers or public school students. States can choose to participate, or they can elect not to offer more options to their students. Once states embrace the opportunity, they can design their own Education Freedom Scholarship program to meet their students' needs. You may read more about this proposal on the Department's EFS webpage 5.TOP