Through grants and scholarships, parents wanting their children to get a private elementary school education can get help defraying the cost of tuition. Several states have school choice voucher systems that provide grants for children in failing schools and for special-needs children. Private charitable organizations have a variety of scholarship programs for elementary students as well.
School Funding Programs
For one of the best ways to find grants and scholarships for private elementary schools in your area, contact the private schools directly. Often local donors provide money for scholarships based on need or merit. Schools can also inform you about other state or private programs for which you can apply.
The District of Columbia School Choice Incentive Program is the only federal program that provides low-income families with the opportunity for private education. Like the DC program, Cleveland, Milwaukee and the state of Louisiana currently have programs for low-income families to receive grants to attend private schools. If you live in an urban area, the Children's Scholarship Fund offers income-based scholarships for partial tuition to private schools across the country. Many other income-based programs exist, so check with your city government or school district for information.
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Other Private Charitable Organizations
A variety of general private charitable organizations provide scholarships for elementary students. According to the Alliance for School Choice, more than 100,000 students in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island received scholarships to attend private schools in 2008--09 from charitable organizations. These states have tax credits for this type of charitable donation, but many other private charities provide scholarship opportunities. Check your state's school choice organization, as well as scholarship websites.
Failing School Voucher Programs
Many states also offer failing schools programs that allow students at low-performing schools to attend another school. Though most allow transfers to other public schools, Ohio and Louisiana also let children in low-performing public schools get tuition scholarships for private schools.
Special Education Voucher Programs
Children with special education needs can qualify for statewide voucher programs to go to private schools in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Utah. In most cases, students must have an individualized education program (IEP) to get one of these grants.
Other Specialized Programs
Other scholarship programs may focus on specific populations. One Arizona program targets foster children because they often change schools many times over the course of their education. The Black Student Fund provides tuition money for black children to go to private schools, though the organization also bases the award on income.
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