North Carolina

North Carolina has a school voucher and an education savings account (ESA) program.

North Carolina offers K–12 students and their families several types of school choice, including three private school choice programs, charter schools, magnet schools and home schooling. North Carolina does not have any type of open enrollment that would allow students to attend schools outside their zoned schools.

Personal Education Student Account for Children with Disabilities

  • North Carolina’s Personal Education Student Account for Children with Disabilities program provides families of students with special needs who meet the federal definition of a “child with disabilities” under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) an account with a maximum annual allocation of $9,000 ($17,000 for students with certain disabilities) for educational and therapeutic uses, including private school tuition. The accounts may also be used for education-related transportation. education-related expenses.
  • Enacted 2021

Program Rules:

    • Income Limit: None
    • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Conditional
    • Geographic Limit: Statewide
    • Testing Mandates: National
    • Enrollment Cap: None
    • Account Cap:$9,000 ($17,000 for students with certain disabilities).
    • Additional Information: Limited to students with special needs

Opportunity Scholarships

  • North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship program provides private school vouchers to children of low-income households. Families can use these school vouchers to pay for tuition, transportation, equipment and other necessary private school expenses.
  • Enacted 2013

Program Rules:

    • Income Limit: 175 percent x FRL
    • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes, with exceptions
    • Geographic Limit: Statewide
    • Enrollment Cap: None
    • Budget Cap: $84.8 million (2021–22)
    • Voucher Cap: 90 percent of the average per pupil state K-12 allocation based on the prior fiscal year
    • Testing Mandates: Nationally norm-referenced tests

Note: The Personal Education Student Account for Children with Disabilities program replaced both the Personal Education Savings Account Program and the Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities Program through legislative action in the 2021 state budget.

To find out more about educational choice programs in your state, please complete the below form.