Opportunity Scholarship Program Info

North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program


The North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) was born out of the ideology that families in our state should have access to the school that best fits their child’s needs, regardless of their zip code or income. In 2023, the General Assembly enacted historic expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship Program, meaning all NC K12 families are eligible for the program. While eligibility is open to all students, the Opportunity Scholarship Program maintains its original intent, ensuring low-income families have priority to receive a scholarship. The Opportunity Scholarship amount is based on a family’s household income and is tied to a percentage of per-pupil public school spending, ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 for the 2024-25 school year. Scholarships are renewable annually. OSP is now serving over 32,000 families across North Carolina. The program, according to moms like Charlonda Brown from Goldsboro, has been “life changing” for her family.


OSP has grown from serving just over 1,200 students in 2014 to 32,170 for the 2023-24 school year, with approximately 50,000 scholarships available for the 2024-25 school year. Thanks to the North Carolina General Assembly’s expansion of the scholarship program, coupled with the consistently growing demand for the program, OSP will grow to a $520 million investment by 2032-33. 

Other facts and figures:

  • When OSP was established in 2013, there were 698 private schools in North Carolina. Today, there are 884 private schools. 
  • In 2013, 70% of private schools in North Carolina identified as “religious” compared to 64% today. On the other hand, the number of schools that identify as independent represents 36% of the state’s private schools.
  • For this school year (2023-24), applicants for OSP come from 99 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, and scholarship recipients resided in 98 counties in our state.

Private School Participation in the Opportunity Scholarship Program


  • 19% of students currently (2023-24 school year) on OSP are African American. 
  • Since the program's inception, Hispanic families benefiting from an Opportunity Scholarship have increased by 6% (up from 9% to 15%).

Public Opinion:

School choice in North Carolina has never been more popular. Beyond the incredible demand for OSP, all school choice models have seen an increase in enrollment in our state in recent years. The number of students attending public charter, private, or home schools has climbed to over 420,000. For the first time in the history of our state, these students now represent over 22% of school-aged children.

Public opinion for school choice polls and surveys is incredibly strong. According to a Civitas Institute Poll (January 2023):

  • 82.9% of respondents believe “the child’s parents or guardians” are best suited to determine where a child should attend school.  
  • Over two-thirds, 67.3%, said they support the Opportunity Scholarship Program, an increase of 6% from last year. This program is supported across party lines: 67% support from Republicans, 67% from Democrats, and 66% from Independents. Minority support for Opportunity Scholarships was especially strong, with 74% of Black respondents voicing support for the program, compared with 65% for Whites. 

In a survey of OSP parents (December 2018) conducted by Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, parents and families’ satisfaction for the program was extremely high:

  • 97% of families were happy with their child’s academic progress in the private school of their choice.
  • 99% said their child feels safe as well as welcome.
  • 97% were satisfied or very satisfied with their private school of choice.

WATCH: Real parents, families, students, and teachers who have a stake in OSP

  • Meet Charlonda Brown, a mother of two, who has two sons on the Opportunity Scholarship Program. For her family, “it’s been life changing.”
  • KC Cooper’s son Keenan is off the college. Keenan has special needs and because of his Opportunity Scholarship, “he’s proud of himself.”
  • The School of Hope in Fayetteville serves children with autism. This school, born out of a special legacy, would not exist without the Opportunity Scholarship Program.
  • Shannon is a teacher at a private school in Charlotte, and she has seen first-hand the second chance the Opportunity Scholarship Program gave to one of her students.
  • Janet’s granddaughter was falling behind until the Opportunity Scholarship Program empowered her family. As she watches her granddaughter thrive in her school of choice, she recognizes that “none of this is possible without the Opportunity Scholarship.”