Today is the start of the application period for the Louisiana Scholarship Program, which pays for low-income students at a “C” “D” or “F” graded public school to attend a private school. President of the Louisiana Federation for Children, Ann Duplessis, says 6,500 students currently receive taxpayer funded vouchers.

“This scholarship program is a godsend and a blessing to those families to allow them to at least give their child or their children a better shot at success in the future,” Duplessis said.

Duplessis says students already enrolled in the program do not need to reapply. She says every year, about 10,000 families apply and students from all over Louisiana can apply.

“The beauty is that with this program your ZIP code doesn’t dictate where you have to be educated,” Duplessis said.

One hundred twenty-three schools in 31 school districts around the state participate in the voucher program. And Duplessis says test scores have demonstrated voucher students are making academic strides.

“We had 34% of our kids who were at basic in the testing scores to over 47% last year,” Duplessis said.

The deadline for application is February 24, and acceptance letters are expected to go out in April.