Program Overview:

  • The Louisiana Scholarship Program began as a small pilot program in 2008 and was expanded statewide in 2012. In 2014-15, nearly 7500 students received vouchers.

  • 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 equals the lesser of state and local spending per pupil or the cost of private school tuition.

  • Private schools participating in the program must administer the state LEAP and iLEAP tests to their voucher students in grades 3-8 and 10.


Main Findings:

The voucher program had a negative impact on students’ academic achievement in its first two years. 

  • The study found "strong and consistent evidence that students using an LSP scholarship performed significantly worse in math after using their scholarship to attend private schools." In year one, students in the voucher program fell 24 percentile points in math compared to students in public school. In year two, students fell 13 percentile points in math compared to students in public school.

  • In year one, students in the voucher program fell 8 percentile points in reading compared to students in public school. In year two, the results in reading were uncertain.

There is no evidence that voucher students have shown any improvement in non-academic skills. 

  • The study examined skills such as grit, self-esteem, locus of control, and 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.