Indiana School Choice Guide

When it comes to choosing a school for your child, there are a number of important aspects of their education to keep in mind: the format of classes, the learning environment, and your child’s learning style. All of these components are key to ensuring that your child is properly supported throughout their education.

Finding the right fit for your child and their academic needs can be challenging, especially if affording tuition is a barrier. The Indiana Choice Scholarship program can make it easier for parents to choose the best school for their child, not just the one that’s tuition-free and close to home.

This program provides funding for parents to enroll their children in a variety of eligible participating schools, ensuring numerous options to support all types of educational needs.

How Does School Choice Work in Indiana?

Several types of schools are available to support your child’s educational needs. The Choice Scholarship program enables many families to receive the support they need for optimal school choice in Indiana, ensuring that more educational options are within reach.

Through the Choice Scholarship program, students in Indiana receive vouchers to attend private school. Understanding various eligibility criteria and other requirements is important so you and your child can navigate the process as smoothly as possible.

School Vouchers in Indiana

With the Indiana Choice Scholarship program, a certain number of students receive vouchers to use toward their private school tuition at participating private schools. This program aims to make additional types of schools and education more accessible to families and students who might benefit directly from what a private school has to offer.

Education Funding Amounts

The vouchers families receive are worth up to 90% of what the state would spend on a student’s education if that student were in the public school system. In 2022, the funds provided through a voucher averaged around $5,500. Average voucher amounts are expected to increase in subsequent years.

Families can supplement the funds they receive from a school voucher with other funds, such as personal savings or other scholarships, and students may also receive district-allocated funds for special education needs, if applicable, at a voucher-accepting school.

Additional Education Funding in Indiana

If a family’s voucher does not entirely cover the tuition at a participating private school, there may be other opportunities for families to secure additional funding.

Indiana has launched the Career Scholarship Account program for families looking for more opportunities for their children outside the classroom or traditional academics. This program is designed to expand work-based learning for high school students throughout the state, specifically in 10–12th grade.

All students not already enrolled in a career technical education program can apply. They’ll be able to create a graduation plan and receive a $5,000 grant for approved “earn-and-learn opportunities” where students can learn valuable professional skills and explore career fields that may interest them.

Eligibility Requirements & Income Limits

  • Maintain legal residence in Indiana
  • Be at least 5 years old and less than 22 years old
  • Have an annual household income of not more than 400% of the amount to qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program

In 2023, for a child from a family of four, that income cap was $222,000.

School Requirements

The Indiana Department of Education has approved more than 250 private schools that participate in Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program. For a school to be approved, they must:

  • Be accredited by either the state board of education or a national or regional accreditation agency recognized by the state board
  • Comply with health and safety standards
  • Not discriminate based on race, color, or national origin
  • Conduct criminal background checks on employees
  • Administer the Indiana state test and report the data to the state
  • Grant the state full access to its premises to observe classroom instruction and review curriculum
  • Provide civic and character education; display related historical documents

How to Apply & School Enrollment

The Choice Scholarship program has two application periods: March 1 through September 1 and November 1 through January 15. Applications submitted in the first period are full-year awards, while applications submitted in the second are half-year awards.

The first step in applying for the program is to apply to a private school that participates in it. Schools must apply to participate every year, so review the list carefully. You can find an updated list of participating schools on the Indiana Choice Scholarship website.

To submit the application, you’ll work with your private school of choice. The school will submit your application (with your information) through a password-protected website accessible only by school administrators.

If a student is approved for a Choice Scholarship, the school will provide a copy of the award letter at the time of approval. This award letter will detail the estimated amount of the Choice Scholarship. The school will provide you with an updated award letter detailing the final amount of the Choice Scholarship award.

Indiana School Choice Facts


of Indiana families income-eligible


participating schools in the 2022–2023 school year


participating students in the 2022–2023 school year

Types of Schools You Can Choose From in Indiana

In Indiana, families have the opportunity to choose from several different school formats to ensure their child has an educational environment that will support their success. Indiana families can choose from:

  • Traditional public schools
  • Public charter schools
  • Public magnet schools
  • Private schools
  • Online schools
  • Homeschooling
  • Microschooling

Traditional Public Schools

Traditional public schools in Indiana operate like public schools in many other states: they’re tuition-free, with operating costs paid through taxes and state funding, open to all students, and operated by school districts.

Indiana has a restricted open enrollment policy, which means schools must allow transfers within the school district of Indianapolis Public Schools. In other districts, however, students can request a transfer to another public school of their choice, but not every public school has an open enrollment policy, and some may charge tuition for transfer students.

Parents can also request a transfer for their child, particularly if their local public school is over-enrolled or if a school in another district offers a curriculum more pertinent to their interests or goals.

Public Charter Schools

The term “charter” school comes from the fact that each school has a charter that outlines its purpose and the community need it serves. Some charter schools may focus on project-based learning, while others focus on language immersion or STEM education. Others still may be specifically dedicated to supporting students with certain special education needs.

Indiana’s first eleven charter schools opened in 2002, and now there are more than 100 total across the state.

Public Magnet Schools

Public magnet schools are also tuition-free and funded by state taxes. This type of school allows students to focus on a particular educational or learning track, such as health sciences or the performing arts. Other examples of magnet schools include those focusing on communication skills, world language, STEM, art, and creativity.

While students still receive a well-rounded education by learning all the core subjects, those subjects are often taught through the lens of the school’s particular educational focus area.

There are 15 magnet elementary and middle schools in the Indianapolis Public School district alone and more throughout the state.

Magnet schools can be an excellent option for families whose children have a particular passion. Since they’re already tuition-free, they’re not eligible for the Choice Scholarship voucher program.

Private Schools

Private schools are non-public schools that charge tuition. There are about 800 private schools in Indiana. Like charter and magnet schools, private schools can sometimes have a particular focus area or certain values at their institution’s core. Some are religious or faith-based, while others have dedicated themselves to serving students with special educational needs. The average cost of tuition for a private elementary school in Indiana is $5,881, while the average cost for a private high school is $10,280. Indiana has several programs—including the Choice Scholarship, Education Savings Account, and Tax-Credit Scholarship—that can help families afford private school tuition.

The Indiana Choice Scholarship program provides families vouchers for tuition at any participating private school. For the 2022–2023 school year, there were almost 350 participating private schools.

Online Schools

Online schools can support the educational success of an array of students, whether they need additional support in specific subjects or a more flexible learning environment to better fit their schedule.

There’s a wide variety of online schools available in Indiana. Some serve all students in grades K–12, while others only serve specific grades or local students who live in the school district.

Many of these online schools would not qualify for the Choice Scholarship voucher program, since they’re already tuition-free or run by local school districts.
There are three online private school options, however, that do qualify for the voucher program:

If you’re interested in using a voucher at one of these online schools, work with the school to submit your Indiana Choice Scholarship application through a password-protected website accessible only by school administrators.


If you choose to homeschool your child, it’s recommended that you formally withdraw them from their previous school. You’re not required to teach specific subjects or administer standardized tests. Still, if you do decide to have your child return to a public school for their education, schools may use specific assessments to determine the best grade placement.

In some cases, homeschooled students may be able to participate in classes, sports, and extracurricular activities or receive special education services from their local school district. Each district may have different policies.

While the Choice Scholarship voucher program cannot be used for homeschooling purposes, Indiana does offer a tax deduction for homeschooling.


Microschools form when students gather with supervision to explore, learn, and socialize. Sometimes, they might be a type of homeschooling, like when several homeschooled children get together to work on a certain lesson. In other cases, they might refer to more organized institutions, like a private school, promoting and empowering small group work.

At their core, microschools emphasize deep, individualized learning and close-knit relationships.

Certain schools or other educational groups may offer more structured learning pods for students and families. Some of these organizations in Indiana include:

Since microschooling is more about the mentality than it is any distinct definition of an educational format, these educational options are not necessarily eligible for the Choice Scholarship program. If you enroll your child in a private school with structured microschooling opportunities, your Choice Scholarship voucher could be used toward your total tuition. The microschooling would be a supplemental educational format through your private school.

Tips for Choosing the Right School for Your Child

With so many options, choosing the right school for your child may seem overwhelming. How can you ensure that you’re picking a place that can truly support your child and drive their educational success?

Take some time to think about your child and their unique academic needs. You know your child best, so trust that you’re the right person to make this decision for them. Follow these steps so you can be confident in how you guide your child on their academic journey:

  1. Identify the goals you have for your child. What do you hope your child will accomplish? Who do you see them becoming? What matters to you when you think about your child’s future?
  2. Determine what you’re looking for in a school environment. Does your child have specific needs for their learning environment? Does your child have particularly strong interests in a certain subject area? What sort of settings does your child thrive in?
  3. Research schools and build a list. Make a list of all the schooling options that might be a good fit for your child and meet your criteria from the first two steps in this process.
  4. Connect with the school or participate in info sessions. Once you have your shortlist, connect with the schools, or participate in online info sessions to learn more about each of your options.
  5. Evaluate options. With all the information you now have about these schools, evaluate them against the initial criteria you laid out for your child’s learning environment. For each school, ask yourself if this is somewhere you could see your child learning and succeeding. Ask yourself if you agree with the school’s values, approach, and culture. Narrow your choices down to just a few finalists.
  6. Choose your school. The choice that you ultimately make for your child is going to be a highly personal one. It will depend on your child, their needs, and your family’s lifestyle. The right choice for your child only needs to be the right choice for them.

Find the Right School for Your Student

Get started finding the right school for your child by browsing schools that participate in the Indiana Choice Scholarship program. Once you find an eligible school, you’re well on your way to ensuring your child’s success throughout their academic journey.


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