Louisiana scholarship program applications available

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Special to

BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Department of Education released the 2015-2016 Louisiana Scholarship Program student application this week.

The scholarship program provides low-income families with the financial resources to choose a school that will prepare their child for a lifetime of success.

The program is a pillar of Louisiana Believes, the Department’s comprehensive plan to ensure students are on track to a college degree or professional career.

The Department has determined 129 schools are eligible to participate for the 2015-2016 school year. Of the 129 eligible schools, 91 will accept new student applications.

The list of participating schools will not be final until after all student applications are received and scholarships are awarded.

The deadline for the first round of student applications is Feb. 27. Applications can be found online or at any participating school.

“Every child deserves to receive the best possible education, no matter their family income level,” said State Superintendent John White. “In what is arguably the most important decision in a child’s life, more parents now have the ability to decide where their child goes to school.”

More than 13,000 students applied to participate in the program for the 2014-2015 school year and nearly 7,400 low-income students enrolled in participating schools.

This represents a growth of over 1,050 percent since the program’s 2008 inception. The program has also demonstrated academic growth since it began in New Orleans.

Student proficiency on the LEAP and iLEAP grew 2.4 percentage points, from 41.6 percent in 2012-2013 to 44 percent in 2013-2014.

Scholarship students take the same state assessments as public school students. Since 2010, the percent of all scholarship students scoring Basic or above on LEAP and iLEAP has increased by 13 percentage points, compared to a 4 percentage point increase for the state, and parent satisfaction remains more than 90 percent.

To be eligible for the program for the 2015-2016 school year, a student must be enrolled in a C, D or F rated public school for the 2014-15 school year or entering kindergarten for the first time. Students must also be residents of Louisiana and meet income eligibility requirements (household income cannot exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines).

Continuing scholarship students are automatically eligible to participate and only need to submit an application if they wish to transfer to a new scholarship school.

Schools seeking to participate in the Louisiana Scholarship Program began the application process in October. Since then, the Department has applied the school eligibility requirements, reviewing the schools’ accreditation status, Brumfield v. Dodd compliance, and BESE-established criteria for participation.

As part of this process, the Department conducted site visits to all schools seeking to participate in the scholarship program for the first time.

Additionally, all schools seeking to participate in the Scholarship Program undergo a rigorous capacity review process to determine the maximum number of new scholarship students the school can enroll.

Student academic performance is the primary factor in the capacity review process. The Department will complete the capacity review process at the conclusion of the main round of student applications, once parent demand can be assessed.

The Department will work with participating schools to finalize seat allotments and attempt to match applicants with the school of their choice. If the number of applicants for a particular school exceeds the available seats, the Department will award scholarships through a lottery process. The Department will notify all applicants of the status of their application the week of April 6.

For more information on the Louisiana Scholarship Program, log onto louisianabelieves.com.