As we have written in the Legal Ledger in recent weeks, Ohio’s Budget Bill HB 33 was signed by Gov. DeWine on July 3. This week, we will take a look at changes to a program that will have  significant implications for school districts: the expansion of the EdChoice Scholarship program into a universal school voucher program.

EdChoice scholarships—or vouchers—can be used by students to attend nonpublic schools of their choice using public funds. Until now, EdChoice scholarships have been available to limited number of students, specifically students who attended certain schools or school districts (“traditional” EdChoice) and students whose families fell under a certain income threshold (“EdChoice Expansion”). HB 33 has transformed the EdChoice Expansion program into a universal school voucher program available to all students, regardless of their school district of residence or income level, though the amount available to students will depend on their income.

The bill increases the maximum scholarship amount available to students through EdChoice. Funds will be available to students based on a sliding scale based on a new metric called “family gross adjusted income.” This formula differs from the current guidelines, which simply measure “family income.”

Under the new law, students from families whose family gross adjusted income is at or below 450% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will be eligible for the full amount of the scholarship, which is set at $6,165 for students in kindergarten through grade 8 and $8,407 for high school students. Students whose family income is higher than 450% of the FPL will be eligible for less funding depending on their family’s gross adjusted income. Here is a summary of that scale:

Family gross adjusted income

Maximum amount of scholarship for K-8 student

Maximum amount of scholarship for 9-12 student

450% FPL and below



Above 450% but at or below 500% FPL



Above 500% but at or below 550% FPL



Above 550% but at or below 600% FPL



Above 600% but at or below 650% FPL



Above 650% but at or below 700% FPL



Above 700% but at or below 750% FPL



Above 750% FPL



HB 33 also makes changes to the income verification process and allows families to verify their income in three ways: (1) an affidavit affirming that the student's family income meets the income requirement; (2) proof of income eligibility under another state or federal program; or (3) other evidence determined appropriate by the newly formed Department of Education and Workforce (DEW).

The new law also will allow students who qualify for both traditional EdChoice and EdChoice Expansion scholarships to choose which one they will accept.

For the full version HB 33, including the changes to the EdChoice program, click here. Members are welcome to contact OSBA’s legal services division with questions about these changes at 855-OSBA-LAW.

Posted by John R. Price on 7/24/2023