education options

education options2018-02-24T21:07:07-06:00

In Louisiana, you have more options than you may think…

Brick & Mortar Public Schools

Compulsory Attendance

Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five on or before September 30th. A child does not have to enroll in school at age five, but must be enrolled in 1st grade by the age of seven. see more >

Required Documentation

Louisiana school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.  

Some legal documents are required for Louisiana students to attend school:

  • Certified Birth Certificate / proof of identity
  • Social Security Card
  • A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child).
    • Click here to view the immunization requirements.
  • Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)

School Fees

Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.

Some typical items on that list include:

  • Lunch
  • Summer school
  • Student parking passes (high school)
  • Lost textbooks
  • Late or lost library books
  • Field trips
  • Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)

Public Charter Schools

What are Charter Schools?

Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.

Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Louisiana, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke  or refuse to renew a school’s charter.

Louisiana Charter Schools

As of the 2015-2016 year there were 139 Charter Schools in Louisiana To learn more about Louisiana charter schools visit the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about charters can be found at the Louisiana Department of Education.  



Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.

Virtual Public Schools

In Louisiana, thousands of children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers. Some virtual programs are open to in-district students only, while others have enrollment open to students across the state.

Lafayette Online Academy

Phone: (337) 521-7047
Grades: K-12

Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy

Phone: (877) 490-3596
Grades: K-12

Southern University Laboratory School

Phone: (877) 603-6281
Grades: K-12

University View Academy

Phone: (225) 421-2900
Grades: K-12

Private Schools

What makes a school “private”?

Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 300 private schools across the state.

Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.

*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.


Louisiana’s Tuition Donation Rebate Program is a tax-credit scholarship program enacted and launched in 2012. It was designed to encourage donors to contribute to scholarship organizations that help students from low-income households access the private learning options best suited to their needs. For more information visit the Louisiana Department of Education.

Louisiana also has the Louisiana Scholarship Program. The Louisiana Scholarship Program empowers low-income families to access the same opportunities that more affluent families already have by providing them with the financial resources to send their children to the schools of their choice.  For the 2016-2017 school year, more than 11,000 students applied for scholarships and nearly 6,900 enrolled in a participated nonpublic school. For more information visit the Louisiana Department of Education.

Voucher Programs

This school voucher program was enacted in 2010 and launched in 2011 to serve students with certain special needs. Louisiana’s School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities helps parents access the best schooling options for their children’s unique needs. For more information visit the Louisiana Department of Education.

For more information on policy change or to get involved in the school choice movement in Indiana visit EdChoice.

Private Virtual Schools

George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.

International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum

They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.

International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.

The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.

Home Education

Your options

In Louisiana, parents have the option to educate their children at home, an option known as homeschooling or home education. Parents in Louisiana may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K – 12. In Louisiana, there are two options under which you can legally homeschool: as a home study program and as a home-based private school. Further information on homeschooling under these options is listed below.  learn more >

With a home study program:

  1. Apply for approval. You must apply to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval of the home study program. The application must be renewed annually thereafter by October 1 of the school year or 12 months after initial approval, whichever is later. You must also submit a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate along with your application.
  2. Teach for the required number of days. You must operate your home study program for 180 days.
  3. Teach the required subjects. You must teach using a curriculum that is equal to what is taught in the public schools, and subjects must be taught at the same grade level they are in the public schools.
  4. Provide evidence of immunization.
  5. Renew your application for approval. Along with the renewal, you must submit a packet of materials that can include a complete outline of each subject taught, a list of books and materials, copies of the student’s work, copies of standardized tests, and statements of third parties who have observed your child’s progress.
  6. Apply for a TOPS scholarship if desired.

With a home-based private school:

If you choose this option all the way through high school, your student will not be eligible for a TOPS award. See scholarships section below.

  1. If your child has been attending public school, provide notification of enrollment. When beginning to homeschool under this option, you must provide a written notification of enrollment to the public school your student attended within 10 days of enrollment in the home-based private school. The notice must include your child’s legal name, date of birth, gender, and race.
  2. Do not accept any federal or state funds.
  3. Provide annual notice of attendance. You must annually report to the Louisiana Department of Education your home-based private school’s total attendance as of the 30th day of your school term.
  4. Teach for the required number of days. You must operate your home study program for 180 days.
Home School Legal Defense Alliance

visit the HSLDA website >

Coalition for Responsible Home Education

visit the coalition’s website >

Support Groups

Louisiana has many homeschool associations that offer classes, curriculum, advising, sports, clubs, socials and recreation. Check out your local support groups here.

Dual Enrollment

Louisiana has two state dual enrollment programs, Dual Enrollment and TOPS – Tech Early Start Award.

Dual Enrollment

Dual Enrollment means a program established by the Board of Regents to offer high school students the opportunity to enroll in coursework creditable towards a career certificate or an associate or baccalaureate degree. Students may elect to take courses for high school and postsecondary credit, or postsecondary credit only. Dual enrollment courses may be offered through the Louisiana Course Choice Program.

TOPS – Tech Early Start Award

A student in grades 11-12 may use a TOPS – Tech Early Start Award to pursue an industry-based occupational or vocational education credential that is identified by the Occupation Forecasting Conference as a credential for an occupation in top demand in Louisiana, is recognized by the State Industry-Based Certification Council, and is approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and by the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges.

Course Fees

Tuition for the Dual Enrollment program is the responsibility of the student/parent, if attending a nonpublic school. If attending a public school the state will cover tuition.

Tuition for TOPS – Tech Early Start Award is covered by Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA).

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