School Choice Funding: Options through the State of New Hampshire
For parents in New Hampshire interested in exercising their child’s school choice options at World Academy, two educational choice programs currently exist on the state level: the Town Tuitioning Program and the Education Tax Credit Program.
NH Town Tuitioning Program
Enacted and launched in 2017, New Hampshire’s Town Tuitioning Program – also known as the “Croydon Bill” – allows towns without school districts that match a student’s current grade level to re-allocate the same amount of per-student funding that would go to public schools for students to instead attend their choice of any public or approved private, non-religious school in or outside of the Granite State.
When students are educated at a public school, towns calculate the projected cost to educate each student within the public school system. Under the Town Tuitioning Program, this same amount can instead be redirected to the school of that student’s choice.
Because this amount is calculated separately for elementary, junior high, and high school students, the amount of “tuitioning” available to each student in each town may vary, and the cost does not cover transportation costs for students to reach their school of choice. In order to be eligible, students must live in New Hampshire and in a designated “tuition town,” or one that lacks a district school that offers the grade levels students need.
In order to qualify for these tuitioning funds, a receiving school must be non-sectarian and unattached to any religious institution, must report on student performance on a regular basis to the state, and must report tuition and fee costs paid by the town for tuitioning.
In addition, all receiving schools must administer a nationally-recognized standardized test, and schools which host 10 or more tuitioning students cannot allow scores to drop to the 40th percentile or below for three consecutive years without running the risk of losing their eligibility to receive funding.
Education Tax Credit Program
Also available to Granite State parents and students looking to exercise their school choice options is the New Hampshire Educational Tax Credit, which incentivizes businesses to donate to scholarship-granting non-profit organizations in return for tax credits. Families can then apply for scholarships through these non-profits and put that money toward private schooling, tutoring, online learning, classes at colleges or universities, and/or homeschooling expenses.
In order to be eligible for this scholarship program, students must be between ages 5 and 20 years of age and come from households where family income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty line ($75,300 in 2018, according to the Dept. of Health and Human Services).
In addition, 45 percent of scholarship recipient must be “switcher” students who previously attended a public school or who have received a scholarship in the past, and 40 percent of the scholarships must be given to students who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program.
Students who qualify for the Education Tax Credit program in New Hampshire are not limited to non-sectarian schools. As of 2016, this program received over $385,000 in donations from businesses and has sent scholarship funds to hundreds of Granite State students including some students to attend World Academy.