ON-Lion Letter

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC) in Raleigh, N.C., is applauding the tremendous parental demand for both the Opportunity Scholarship Program and Children with Disabilities Grant.  More than 12,000 Opportunity Scholarship applications have been received since the scholarship program's start just three years ago, while the Students with Disabilities Grant is being used by 815 students.

These programs allow eligible families to receive scholarships and grants in order to attend participating private schools and get needed therapeutic services.  According to the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, applications have come from nearly all counties in the state.  As of February 15, 11,614 Opportunity Scholarship applications have been received since the program started in 2014-15.  Additionally, 1,720 applications have come in since February 1, just 18 days since the application opened.

"The extraordinary number of applications reveals that parents are demanding options which meet the unique needs of their children.  Sometimes these needs aren't met by their traditional district schools and that's okay," said PEFNC president Darrell Allison.  "The numbers are very compelling, especially when you consider that the first two application cycles of this program were under a heavy legal cloud and we know that hundreds, if not thousands, of families were impacted by it. ...  [T]he floodgates have opened for many low-income families to access the school of their choice and I believe our state will post our strongest numbers yet as a result."

An estimated 6,200 scholarships are available for the 2016-17 school year, up from 1,100 students in the scholarship program’s first year (2014-15), and the Children with Disabilities Grant program has reached its maximum student limit.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports PEFNC.

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