lifeline scholarship passed pennsylvania

Pa. House Passes Lifeline Scholarship Bill

April 27, 2022, Harrisburg, Pa. — Today, the Pennsylvania House passed a bill to offer Lifeline Scholarships to students in underperforming school districts. House Bill 2169, sponsored by Reps. Clint Owlett and Martina White, would offer a restricted-use scholarship account to any public school student in the bottom-performing 15 percent of district schools.

“HB 2169 extends transformative educational opportunity to students,” said Senior Vice President of the Commonwealth Foundation Nathan Benefield. “While many students attend a great public school, there are too many—especially in low-income communities—stuck in a school that isn’t meeting their needs.”

Lifeline Scholarships give students a modest portion of the per-pupil education funding to use on educational expenses, such as tuition, curriculum, standardized tests, and tutoring. Close to two-thirds of the $19,200 per student spent on public schools would remain with the school district, even though the district no longer pays to educate the student that leaves on a Lifeline Scholarship.

Lifeline Scholarships benefit school districts financially while giving students educational freedom.

“Lifeline scholarships give educational opportunity to low-income children, who are more likely than their peers to be trapped in a school with bullying, safety concerns, and failing academics,” said Benefield. “These scholarships empower families to choose the education their children deserve.”

Lifeline Scholarships direct education funding to these students in the lowest-performing public schools, using the same performance standards that guide the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program.

The House voted 104-98 to advance Lifeline Scholarships, the first-ever student scholarship bill of its kind in Pennsylvania to pass the State House.

Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Stefanie Mason at [email protected] or 414-418-5132 to schedule an interview. 

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The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.