"We've heard from a number of schools who are receiving applications faster than they can enter them in online," State Superintendent of Education John White said. "While 6,000 applications is more than we expected at this time, that number will continue to rise as schools continue to enter online the applications that they have already received from parents."
The 2012-13 school year marks the first time the Louisiana Scholarship Program has been offered statewide. Eligible students entering kindergarten through 12th grade must complete an application and submit it to any participating school by June 29.
"Response from parents across the state has been very positive," White said. "It has been overwhelming to witness so many parents actively seeking quality education options for their children. They are engaged in their children's education and clearly want the best opportunities available to them. We are encouraging families who still want to apply for a scholarship to turn in their applications now."
The LDOE is also continuing a final review of schools and is working quickly to finalize regulations regarding school eligibility. Once these regulations have been established, the Department will work with schools to finalize the number of seats they may offer before the lottery is conducted in July.
The scholarship program is open to kindergarten through 12th grade students who meet the following criteria:
• A child must have been enrolled in a public school during the 2011-2012 school year that was labeled C, D or F, unless a student is entering kindergarten for the first time in the 2012-2013 school year;
• Students must also be residents of Louisiana and meet income eligibility requirements (family income in 2011 cannot exceed 250 percent of the federal poverty guidelines);
• Continuing students who were awarded a scholarship in the previous year are also eligible.
The scholarship program is available to all eligible students; however, there are a limited number of openings in participating schools. The Louisiana Department of Education will attempt to place as many applicants as possible in their preferred school choice.
If the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats available at a specific school and grade level, then those scholarship seats will be awarded through a prioritized lottery process in July.
All applicants will be notified of the results of the lottery, no later than July 31.
For more information about the Louisiana Scholarship Program, please contactStudentscholarships@la.gov or call the Louisiana Department of Education's Help Center at 1-877-453-2721.