Choice Scholarships Expand Dramatically in new 2023-2025 State Budget

Several years ago St. John’s adjusted our structure for school funding, shifting from a focus on congregational “subsidy” to internal scholarship programs funded by the congregation. The new funding model means that tuition and fees more closely resemble the actual cost of education AND we make more significant use of the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program.

When legislators adopted a budget for the new biennium (beginning July 1, 2023) they greatly expanded the Choice Scholarship program. Families with higher income will now qualify more immediately for a Choice Scholarship. Previously St. John’s needed to provide significant internal scholarships for students in their first year at St. John’s. And several families were just over the income limit for qualifying for a scholarship. The changes mean that a household of four persons (mom, dad & 2 kids, or some other combination) can have a household income of up to $220,000 and still qualify for a Choice Scholarship.

We estimate that once the Choice Scholarship amounts are finalized for 23/24 (that doesn’t happen until February, 2024), a “Choice Student” will receive a scholarship of up to $6,650. Most families who are an active participant in the life of St. John’s Lutheran Church will have NO out-of-pocket costs next year. And most other families will pay no more than $200 annually.

What does mean?

While we are still “crunching the numbers,” our school based income may increase for the 23/24 school year to more than $900,000!  In this 22/23 School Year our school based income will be closer to $550,000. St. John’s Lutheran Church has continued to make significant investments in our school ministry. And now, instead of worrying about depleting our reserves, we can more confidently move forward with plans to expand our ministry, including additional capital investments (e.g. roof and window repairs, security upgrades, etc.)

With enrollment creeping up to near 130 K-8 students, we may even need to find a way to expand to NINE classrooms by the 24/25 school year!