Education
7:24 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Online Applications Begin for NC Opportunity Scholarships

North Carolina is now accepting online applications for new opportunity scholarships.

The N.C. school voucher program will give low-income families up $4,200 for their child to attend a private school.
Credit Keri Brown

The application process started on Saturday and will run through February 25. The tax-funded scholarship allows hundreds of students from low-income families to attend private schools.  Applicants who are selected for the vouchers will receive up to $4,200 to help pay for tuition and other fees during the 2014-2015 school year.

Elizabeth McDuffie is with the State Education Assistance Authority, the agency overseeing the application process.  

State education official describe the qualifications for N.C. opportunity scholarships.

State lawmakers budgeted about $10-million for the school vouchers to expand school choice options in North Carolina. McDuffie estimates around 2,400 students will receive the vouchers this year.

A computerized lottery will be held at the end of the month to select eligible applicants. McDuffie is encouraging families to contact the private school of choice to make sure they are participating in the program.

McDuffie explains why applicants who are selected for a voucher may not get to use it at the school of their choice.

Families will be notified of the results of the lottery selection on March 3.   

Meanwhile, more than 40 local school boards across the state have signed on to be plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new school voucher legislation, including Alamance, Davidson, Rockingham and Surry counties. The lawsuit was filed by the North Carolina School Boards Association.

Some education leaders say they are concerned that the publicly funded scholarships to private and parochial schools will divert funds from local public schools.