Only a third of Utah school voucher applicants will get one. Here’s what’s next.

Applications for the Utah Fits All scholarship far exceed the 10,000 that are available.

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Monday was the last day Utah families could apply for one of 10,000 school vouchers through the brand-new Utah Fits All scholarship — and with number of applicants nearly triple the number of available scholarships, only a fraction of hopefuls will snag one.

The money can be used beginning this fall for private school tuition, children’s ballet lessons, karate classes, homeschooling expenses and more.

Between February 28, when the application portal opened, and Monday, a total of 15,914 applications were submitted, representing 27,270 students, because some families submitted one application for multiple siblings, according to the Alliance for Choice in Education (ACE). That’s the organization hired by the Utah State Board of Education to manage the voucher program and application process.

“High demand for the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program is proof that Utah families are hungry for high-quality educational options,” said Jackie Guglielmo, vice president of ESA Programs at ACE Scholarships, in a Tuesday news release.

Scholarship recipients will be selected based on priority categories outlined in Utah law, the ACE news release stated. Families will be notified if they’ve received a scholarship or have been waitlisted on May 3.

How applications will be prioritized

Utah law requires preference be given to low-income families. Applications will be prioritized in the following order:

  1. Students who participated in Utah Fits All the previous school year (not applicable for 2024-25).

  2. Students with a family income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, or about $60,000 for a family of four.

3. Siblings of students who participated in the program the prior year (not applicable for 2024-25).

4. Students with a family income between 200% and 555% of the federal poverty level, or a range of about $60,000 to $166,500 for a family of four.

5. All other applicants.

Initially, the state had allocated $42 million for the program’s inaugural year, which begins this fall. That amounted to enough funding for about 5,000 students to each receive an allotted $8,000 share.

But lawmakers in late February injected another $40 million into the pot — months before the program even launches — raising the number of available scholarships to roughly 10,000.

Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, and Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy, had originally requested a $108 million funding boost to the program, citing overwhelming demand for the vouchers that exceeded then-appropriations.

Cullimore said during a February meeting that lawmakers knew what that demand was because nonprofit organization Utah Education Fits All had been helping to collect “pre-applications” in anticipation of the voucher program launch.

Its database indicated that 17,000 parents, representing 35,000 students, had intended to apply, although the actual count appears to be lower.