In the News

As the source for parental school choice in our state, PEFNC is often asked to provide commentary on educational choice.

Demand for Opportunity Scholarships sets record in first week

By David Bass

February 6, 2024

More than 32,000 new applications for the Opportunity Scholarship Program came in during the first week of priority enrollment, setting a new record in demand for the program and tripling the number of applications submitted in February 2023.

The numbers were first reported by the school-choice advocacy organization Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), and they are based on data from the North Carolina Education Assistance Authority, the state agency that administers the program.

“I am thrilled and yet not at all surprised by the overwhelming enthusiasm from new applicant families and students,” said PEFNC president Mike Long in a statement. “Demand for the Opportunity Scholarship Program continues to rise, and the expansion of the scholarship now means more families across our state will be empowered by parental school choice.”

With new rules, record number of NC families applying for private school vouchers

By Keung Hui

February 5, 2024

North Carolina families are applying at a record-setting pace for state funding to help them pay for the cost of attending a K-12 private school.

The application period opened Thursday under new rules that allow any North Carolina family to apply for a private school voucher. As of Monday afternoon, there have been 31,603 complete Opportunity Scholarship applications, according to Kathy Hastings, a spokesperson for the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority.

The applications received during the first five days this year is well above the 11,617 completed applications that the NCSEAA received in all of February 2023. It’s also nearly as many as the 32,341 students who are receiving an Opportunity Scholarship this school year.

NC school voucher application opens; How to apply

By Joseph Holloway

February 1, 2024

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Families can now start applying for the state’s newly-expanded school voucher program.

The Opportunity Scholarship was expanded through the state budget so now, every family will become eligible for funding to send their children to private schools. The State Education Assistance Authority will review applications they receive and get the funds to the school that parents choose.

School choice advocates say it gives families more options.

“Now it doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, black, white, male, female, opportunity scholarship and education is for all,” said Mike Long, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in NC.


Celebrating National School Choice Week!

Last week we held our National School Choice Week event at the Halifax Mall, right in the heart of the North Carolina General Assembly. There was plenty to celebrate with the expansion of school choice in North Carolina through the Opportunity Scholarship program and other advancements in parental school choice that happened right there in Raleigh just a few months ago.

Student enrollment in county private, homeschools outpaces public schools

By Cheryl Burke

January 29, 2024

MOREHEAD CITY — Student enrollment in county private and homeschools outpaced an increase in traditional public and charter schools in 2022-23, according to state reports.

Overall, there were 10,060 students enrolled in county schools in 2022-23, up from 9,608 in 2021-22, a nearly 5% increase.

Statistics from the NC Department of Non-Public Education show that the number of county students enrolled in private schools increased from 507 in 2021-22 to 605 in 2022-23, a 19% increase.

County students registered in homeschools increased from 1,157 in 2021-22 to 1,347 in 2022-23, a 16% jump.

Advocates rally for scholarship expansion during ‘School Choice Week’ in Raleigh

By Joseph Holloway

January 24, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — School choice advocates celebrated “School Choice Week” outside the state legislative building Wednesday.

A popular topic at Wednesday’s rally was the expansion of the state’s opportunity scholarships, which provide families with thousands of dollars to put toward a private school education. As part of the state budget, all students could now be eligible for those vouchers.

The group, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina (PEFNC), is hosting seminars to help people understand the application process.

Republican leaders celebrate school choice and expansion of private vouchers

By Liz Bell

January 24, 2024

Legislative leaders and private school educators, parents, and students celebrated National School Choice Week and the expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship program in last year’s budget at a rally at the legislature Wednesday.

Applications for the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides state-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools, are set to open next week as Gov. Roy Cooper calls for a moratorium on the program.

Following Cooper’s declaration on Tuesday of 2024 as the “Year of Public Schools,” Republican legislative and state leaders at the rally lifted up the importance of parental choice in their children’s education.

Cooper, a Democrat, called for the suspension of private vouchers until public schools are “fully funded” on Tuesday. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said Wednesday the program will start accepting applications next week for the 2024-25 school year without income eligibility requirements, which were removed in last year’s budget.

NC celebrates National School Choice Week

By David Bass

January 24, 2024

Advocates gathered in downtown Raleigh Jan. 24 to celebrate National School Choice Week during a year when universal school choice is coming to the Tar Heel State.

Held this year from Jan. 21-27, National School Choice Week is a nationwide celebration of diversity in educational options. There are a total of 27,112 school choice events planned across the 50 states for this week.

The event on Halifax Mall in Raleigh, sponsored by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, included remarks from several key lawmakers who have been instrumental in bringing greater school choice to the state.

Student Showcase to Celebrate Newly Expanded School Scholarship

By PR Newswire

January 17, 2024

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to the historic expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship, North Carolina students have a new chance to find success in school. Join families in celebrating the scholarship and learning how to apply at a student showcase on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Hosted by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, the celebratory event will take place 10 a.m. to noon at Halifax Mall, behind the North Carolina Legislative Building. All are welcome to attend and show their enthusiasm for the state-run private school scholarship. North Carolina's budget, passed in 2023, made every K-12 student in the state eligible to apply for the Opportunity Scholarship.

National School Choice Week begins next week

By A.P. Dillon

January 17, 2024

RALEIGH — National School Choice Week this year will be held from Jan. 21 through Jan. 27. 

According to National School Choice Week’s (NSCW) official website, over 27,000 events are planned across all 50 states. Additionally, 70 flagship events in 46 states will be held this year. 

Notable annual events being held in North Carolina include: 

Jan. 24 – Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina will hold an event that includes a student showcase, student performances and remarks from legislative leaders from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its office in Raleigh. NSCW considers this a “flagship” event. Registration for the event is requested: