The Louisiana Scholarship Program began as a small pilot in 2008 and was expanded statewide in 2012.
To be eligible for a voucher, students must have a family income of 250% of the federal poverty line or below and either be entering kindergarten or coming from a public school that was awarded a C,D, or F grade.
The voucher amount is the lesser of state and local spending per pupil or the cost of private school tuition.
Private voucher schools must administer the state LEAP and iLEAP tests to their voucher students in grades 3-8 and 10.
In 2014-15, nearly 7500 students received vouchers.
The voucher program had a negative impact on students’ academic achievement in its first two years.
The sample of students measure were 1525 eligible voucher applicants, grades 3-6, who had previously attended public schools and took the state LEAP or iLEAP tests.
In year one, students in the voucher program fell 24 percentile points in math and 8 percentile points in reading compared to a public school counterpart measuring in the 50th percentile.
In year two, students in the voucher program fell 13 percentile points in math compared to a public school counterpart measuring in the 50th percentile. For reading, the results were uncertain.
There is no evidence that voucher students had any difference in non-academic skills such as grit, self-esteem, locus of control, or political tolerance.
The voucher program has had a negative impact on integration at private schools, in particular for black and white students.
This means that for students who used vouchers to transfer into a private school, both black and white students most often entered a private school in which their race or ethnicity was already over-represented relative to the community.