Advice for Making Tough Educational Choices

« Back to Home

Vouchers for Education and Freedom of Choice: What It Means for Private Schools

Posted on

There are some states in this country, like Wisconsin, that participates in a "vouchers for education" program. All schools in these states, regardless of their public, private, or parochial status, agree to participate. That means that children in these states can attend whatever schools their parents want them to attend. Here is more on this type of program, the freedom of choice and what it means for your child's attendance at private schools.


In order to get an education voucher, you have to enroll and register your child for a school that is outside your assigned local public school. For example, if you want your child to attend a charter school that is on the other side of town, you would apply to that school, enroll your child, and register him or her for next year's classes. This usually takes place about halfway through the current school year, but there are exceptions, and children may be able to transfer to a different school on an education voucher within the same school year. Once your child has been accepted to said charter school, you then request a voucher to pay for the differences in your child's education between your neighborhood school and the cost of attending the charter school. The district is usually in charge of securing vouchers and related paperwork and sending it to the state for reimbursement.

What Vouchers Mean for Private Schools and Your Child's Education

Private schools who are required to participate in a state-wide voucher program typically must comply, regardless of the standards set forth by the schools for enrollment. That means that your child can get a better education through a private school, and you would not have to pay for it. This is a plus for many families that could never afford a private-school education for their children if the voucher system did not exist. You may still experience a waitlist if the private school you chose has taken all of the voucher students it can accept for the following year (states often limit the number of vouchers used by each school so that there is a better balance of kids to classroom size and number of available teachers).

If you have been denied a straightforward application to a private school, the voucher system gives you a second shot. Your child would have to enroll in a public or charter school and then apply for a voucher transfer as soon as possible. Then your child would be matriculated into a private school through this "side entrance."