Changes were made to the AAA in June 2015. Here is a link to the update.
Under the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA), scholarships paid for with state tax dollars that weren’t required to be collected are awarded to students to attend nonpublic participating schools. Nonpublic schools must apply for and receive approval from the Alabama Department of Revenue in order to participate in the tax credit scholarship program.
As of March 13, there are 175 nonpublic schools participating with the scholarship program, meaning they have agreed to accept scholarships to cover tuition for scholarship-eligible students.
While most folks want to know how many students are utilizing scholarships, the number of students attending nonpublic participating schools on scholarships is currently unknown.
Here’s what little we do know about students.
One scholarship granting organization (SGO), the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Fund, stated they awarded 2,800 scholarships for the 2014-2015 school year, and of those children 83% are minorities. They further reported that half, or 1,400 of the scholarships recipients were zoned to attend a failing public school.
The School Superintendents of Alabama (SSA) recently released information from a survey they conducted among Alabama’s school superintendents and counted only 268 students receiving scholarships, with 250 students zoned to “failing” schools and the rest zoned to non-failing schools.
School superintendents counted 182 students who are utilizing the family tax credit portion of the AAA.
Those are the best numbers available at this time. While real numbers at this time are hard to track down, if proposed changes to the AAA are approved by the legislature, SGOs will be required to report how many children actually use the scholarships and in which participating school they chose to attend.
While we wait for the numbers of students to be reported, it might be useful to review what we know about the nonpublic schools that are participating in the scholarship program.
What We Know About the 175 Nonpublic Participating Schools
Scroll down to see a map of where the schools are located. When you click on a school, the information window will show what information was gathered from multiple sources.
First, here are some numbers.
General information about the schools:
151 – Number of religious schools
39 – Number of Catholic schools within that group of religious schools
98 – Number that indicated they are SACS accredited
Number of students enrolled:
39 – 1 to 50 students
26 – 51 to 100 students
43 – 101 to 200 students
15 – 201 to 300 students
16 – 301 to 400 students
7 – 401 to 500 students
9 – 501 to 1000 students
2 – More than 1000 students
17 – No information on enrollment
Total enrollment in the 158 schools for which enrollment data is available:
[This is not the number of scholarship students.]
30,529 – Total number of students enrolled
22,969 – White students enrolled
5,280 – Black students enrolled
628 – Hispanic students enrolled
636 – Asian students enrolled
153 – Students identified as “2 or more races” enrolled
52 – Pacific Islander students enrolled
28 – American Indian students enrolled
Student demographics, generally:
34 – Number of schools where student body is more than 90% black
45 – Number of schools where student body is more than 90% white
23 – Number of schools where 10 or more Hispanic students were enrolled
22 – Number of schools where 10 or more Asian students were enrolled
12 – Number of schools where 10 or more students identified as “2 or more races” were enrolled
84 – K or 1st through 12th grade
49 – K or 1st through 8th grade
7 – K through 3rd or lower
4 – 9th through 12th grade (all are Catholic)
155 – start at Kindergarten
5 – start at 1st grade
96 – go through 12th grade
When the schools were founded:
29 – Number of schools founded prior to 1955
50 – Number of schools founded between 1955 and 1979
41 – Founded between 1980 and 2000
33 – Founded between 2000 and 2010
5 – Founded after 2010
17 – No information on when the school was founded
Date the schools joined the AAA program:
77 – 2013
52 – January to May 2014
45 – June 2014 to December 2014
1 – January 2015 to present
Click on a red marker to view information about the school. Information regarding race of students is limited to black students and white students due to space constraints within the information box.
The primary source for this information was the application submitted by the school to the Alabama Department of Revenue to participate in the AAA scholarship program.
Information regarding a school’s enrollment, including racial makeup, was obtained from the U.S. Department of Education 2013-2014 Private School Study. For schools where the total enrollment contains an asterisk (*), enrollment data from the 2011-2012 study was used. Enrollment data was not available in either study for 18 of the schools.
An asterisk (*) next to the grade span indicates that information was taken from either the school’s web site or the AdvancED web site.
If a religious denomination was not immediately apparent in the school’s name, the school’s web site was reviewed to determine if the mission of the school was religious in any way.
Here’s the data aggregated for this article. You’re welcome to use it responsibly.