School Transfers in Indiana Public School Corporations 2022-2023

School Transfers in Indiana Public School Corporations 2022-2023

Policy Report #23-BOctober 2023


Moaaz Hamid, Dr. Christopher Lubienski, Dr. Michele Moore
Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University

Key Takeaways
  • Transfers and choice options have led to significant enrollment shifts for school corporations.
  • 47% of the net transfers out were from public school corporations to other public school corporations.
  • 53% of the net transfers out were to nonpublic schools due to the choice scholarship program. These transfers result in irregular trends among schools gaining enrollment from school choice programs, where a small set of corporations gain or lose relatively higher proportions of enrollment than others.
  • Within school choice programs, public/parent choice comprises the largest proportion of transfers out.
  • Systemic and sustained inquiry with advanced statistical techniques can reveal valuable insights about the patterns and effects of school transfers in Indiana.


Over the last three decades, policymakers around the globe have emphasized parents’ choice of schools. Such policies are complex and highly contested and have led to mixed outcomes. Nevertheless, the number of school choice programs is increasing. The state of Indiana has one of the largest school choice programs in the country, with seven types of school choice programs.

  1. Indiana Choice Scholarship Program: Also known as the voucher program, this program started in 2011, allowing students in low- and middle-income families to receive vouchers to attend private schools.
  2. Education savings account: enacted first in 2021 for students with special needs; recently expanded to almost all students, who receive a portion of their assigned state education funding for private school tuition or other educational expenses, including special needs services and therapies, individual classes, testing fees, and transportation.
  3. Private school/homeschool deduction: Indiana’s program is a tax deduction for individuals who make educational expenditures for private schools or homeschooling on behalf of their dependent children.
  4. School scholarship tax credit: Indiana offers donors tax credits for contributing to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), nonprofits that distribute private school scholarships to students from low- and middle-income households.
  5. Public School Choice: Students in Indiana may choose public schools outside of their home corporation via open enrollment policies.
  6. Charter schools: Indiana allows for publicly funded but privately or independently run schools, often run by charter management organizations.
  7. Homeschooling: Homeschooling is allowed in Indiana, providing that parents follow certain laws and regulations.

Indiana's school choice programs have been the subject of national attention, as they are some of the most extensive and expensive in the country. School choice advocates argue that these programs empower the public/families to make choices about their children's education and can improve educational outcomes (Chubb & Moe, 1990). In contrast, opponents claim that they drain resources from public schools and exacerbate inequality without improving outcomes (Abdulkadiroglu et al., 2017; Canbolat, 2021; Fuentes-Rohwer, 2019; Lubienski et al., 2022; Ravitch, 2021). Despite the contention over the issue, school choice programs continue to expand and impact school corporations. These impacts need to be examined closely.

This report examines the transfer data in student enrollment in Indiana school corporations as reported by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). The reported school transfers and ADM file may be found at:

Indiana collects data on the transfer of public school students each year. This current report breaks down the information from Fall 2022. In total, 99,017 students transferred out from their home districts/corporations to other school corporations. Of those students, 46,345 (47%) transferred to other public school corporations, and Choice Scholarships went to 52,672 (53%) students.

The information provided by IDOE includes public charter schools as public schools.

Review of Public Transfers OUT to Other Public Schools (including Charters)

Table 1 shows the 25 school corporations with the largest number of students transferring out to another public school corporation. Six out of the 25 school corporations experienced a loss of more than 2000 students, with two school corporations experiencing a markedly greater loss than others. As might be expected, larger corporations generally lose a larger number of students. For instance, the Indianapolis Public School Corporation has the highest number of transfers, including 9,192 students who attended the IPS Innovation Charter Schools. The next 12 school corporations, in descending order of number of student outflows, experienced outflows ranging between 1000 and 2000 students. The remaining seven school corporations experienced outflows of less than 1,000 students. Table 1 presents student outflows only. Net outflows are presented in the subsequent tables.

Table 1.
Top 25 school corporations with outflows to another public school corporation.

Top 25 school corporations with outflows to another public school corporation. School CorporationsTransfers Out to Another Public School (N)
Indianapolis Public Schools23459
Gary Community School Corp6972
South Bend Community School Corp4805
Anderson Community School Corp3162
Fort Wayne Community Schools2540
Muncie Community Schools2370
Elkhart Community Schools1958
MSD Warren Township1902
Kokomo School Corporation1892
Greater Clark County Schools1727
School City of Hammond1513
MSD Lawrence Township1509
Marion Community Schools1361
School City of East Chicago1218
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp1185
MSD Pike Township1065
Perry Township Schools1064
Richmond Community Schools1027
New Albany-Floyd Co Con Sch979
Monroe County Community Sch Corp910
North Lawrence Com Schools884
MSD Washington Township880
MSD Wayne Township864
Michigan City Area Schools849
LaPorte Community School Corp839

Net Transfers Out

The analysis of net transfer out revealed that 165 school corporations have a net outflow to another public school corporation. They lost more students than they gained through student transfer provisions. Table 2 shows the net outflow numbers and percentages for the 28 school corporations with the largest net losses to other public schools. The top two school corporations experienced a net outflow of more than 100%, meaning that these schools lost more students than they gained, and the number of students that transferred out was greater than their enrollment in 2022. The next 11 school corporations, in descending order of net percentage outflow, experienced a net outflow between 25% and 53%. The remaining 15 school corporations experienced a net outflow between 15 and 25%.

Table 2.
Top 28 Corporations which LOST ADM by percent to other public school corporations (represents at least 15% of ADM loss in net transfers out).

School CorporationsNet Transfers OUT (N)Net Transfers OUT (% of Total ADM)
Gary Community School Corp-6972-170.97%
Indianapolis Public Schools-22500-102.15%
Northeast School Corp-402-52.21%
Anderson Community School Corp-3137-50.63%
Tri-Township Cons School Corp-166-49.26%
Muncie Community Schools-2187-43.05%
Hamilton Community Schools-135-38.35%
Marion Community Schools-1296-35.01%
School City of East Chicago-1154-34.46%
Cannelton City Schools-73-33.33%
Kokomo School Corporation-1623-30.99%
South Bend Community School Corp-4478-29.00%
Oregon-Davis School Corp-127-25.60%
East Gibson School Corporation-175-24.27%
C A Beard Memorial School Corp-245-22.94%
North Lawrence Com Schools-805-22.00%
Richmond Community Schools-962-21.25%
South Dearborn Community Sch Corp-407-20.70%
Lakeland School Corporation-330-20.56%
Whitko Community School Corp-241-19.82%
North Judson-San Pierre Sch Corp-174-18.69%
North Adams Community Schools-281-17.45%
Blackford County Schools-256-17.10%
MSD Shakamak Schools-114-16.91%
Madison Consolidated Schools-452-16.71%
Tell City-Troy Twp School Corp-225-16.07%
Pike County School Corp-252-16.01%
Borden-Henryville School Corp-263-15.33%

Where Are Students Transferring To?

Analyzing the proportion of transfers out to nonpublic schools reveals that for a majority of the school corporations — 150 out of 290 (about 52%) — 2% or less of their transfers out are attributable to school choice scholarships. Within these school corporations, most of the transfers out from public school corporations were to other public schools, including public charter schools. Public charter schools are public schools that operate independently of the traditional public school system and are authorized to provide education services accessible to all students.

However, it is important to note that the overall proportion of transfers out (53%) are from choice scholarships, or “vouchers,” so while there are schools whose transfers out are largely to other public school corporations, the overall transfer out due to vouchers is higher than transfers out to other public school corporations. This trend is complicated due to public charter schools being presented as public schools in the IDOE data. Disaggregating public charter schools presented in Table 7 changes the net transfer out to other public schools trend presented in Table 2. Tables 3 and 4 present the top 25 school corporations with nonpublic transfers, accounting for 62% of the total nonpublic transfers out.

Table 3.
Transfers out to nonpublic school corporations.

Transfers out to nonpublic school corporations. Top 25 Corporations with Nonpublic TransfersNumber of Nonpublic Transfers (N)
Fort Wayne Community Schools5159
Indianapolis Public Schools4184
South Bend Community School Corp3553
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp2566
Perry Township Schools2015
East Allen County Schools1524
School City of Hammond1159
MSD Lawrence Township1009
Franklin Township Com Sch Corp998
MSD Pike Township876
MSD Warren Township874
MSD Washington Township820
Hamilton Southeastern Schools799
Bartholomew Con School Corp758
Anderson Community School Corp744
Tippecanoe School Corp719
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp618
Gary Community School Corp592
MSD Wayne Township588
Elkhart Community Schools582
Lafayette School Corporation576
New Albany-Floyd Co Con Sch576
Greater Clark County Schools514
Lake Central School Corporation507
Avon Community School Corp506

Table 4 presents the top 25 school corporations based on transfers out to nonpublic schools. The total range of transfers from these 25 school corporations is between 7% and 23%, with 13 school corporations experiencing more than 10% transfers out and the remaining 12 between 7% and 10%.

Table 4.
Top 25 transfers out to nonpublic by percent of ADM.

School CorporationNonpublic Transfers (% of ADM)
South Bend Community School Corp23.01%
Indianapolis Public Schools18.99%
Fort Wayne Community Schools18.03%
East Allen County Schools15.10%
Gary Community School Corp14.52%
North Adams Community Schools13.04%
Perry Township Schools12.42%
Anderson Community School Corp12.01%
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp11.80%
Madison Consolidated Schools11.79%
School City of East Chicago11.20%
MSD Mount Vernon10.66%
School City of Hammond10.07%
Brownstown Cnt Com Sch Corp9.63%
MSD North Posey Co Schools9.19%
Seymour Community Schools8.91%
Franklin Township Com Sch Corp8.90%
Hanover Community School Corp8.81%
Michigan City Area Schools8.78%
Lake Station Community Schools8.36%
North Judson-San Pierre Sch Corp8.27%
MSD Martinsville Schools8.24%
MSD Pike Township8.20%
Washington Community Schools7.84%
Kankakee Valley School Corp7.83%

When analyzing the transfer data by a corporation, charter, or nonpublic school, some trends address which public school corporations, charters, and nonpublics gained from choice programs. These trends are presented in the tables below.

Table 5 presents transfers out disaggregated by “Parent Choice” and “Public Other”. Public other is when a student has an alternative placement, to an alternative school or onsite behavioral school, where students are sent by a school’s and not a parent’s choice. 36 corporations gained at least 500 or more students from choice programs combined. 28 out of the 36 school corporations gained from 500 to 1000 students from parent choice, six school corporations gained 1000 to 2000 students, and the top two received 2859 and 6939 students, respectively. For public other transfers, 20 school corporations gained from 1 to 59 students, whereas 12 school corporations did not gain any students.

Table 5.
Top 36 corporations that gained at least 500 students from choice.

School corporationsParent Choice (N)Public Other (N)
Union School Corporation69390
Clarksville Community School Corp28590
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp17650
MSD Lawrence Township169659
MSD Wayne Township12940
School City of Mishawaka120054
MSD Warren Township10930
Beech Grove City Schools108810
Frankton-Lapel Community Schools9813
Indianapolis Public Schools9590
New Albany-Floyd Co Con Sch9117
East Allen County Schools87240
MSD Washington Township7886
Concord Community Schools78713
Cloverdale Community Schools7640
Mooresville Con School Corp7571
MSD Wabash County Schools74650
Greenwood Community Sch Corp69521
Eastern Howard School Corporation6871
Silver Creek School Corporation6720
Southern Hancock Co Com Sch Corp6670
Mississinewa Community School Corp6450
New Prairie United School Corp6286
South Madison Com Sch Corp6170
Yorktown Community Schools5748
Northwestern School Corp5725
Western School Corporation5630
Mt Vernon Community School Corp56124
Daleville Community Schools5320
Center Grove Community School5250
John Glenn School Corporation5226
Oak Hill United School Corp5222
Madison-Grant United School Corp5200
Middlebury Community Schools5169
Plainfield Community School Corp51420
Centerville-Abington Com Schs5010

Figure 1 below shows how a few schools have disproportionately received more enrollment boosts from public/parent choice than others. The first eight schools comprise more than 50% of the enrollment gains from public/parent choice programs among schools that gained at least 500 students from the program.

Figure 1.
Enrollment gains by schools from public/parent choice.

Enrollment gains by schools from public/parent choice.

Table 6 lists the 62 school corporations receiving over 20% of their enrollment from public/parent choice programs. The top two school corporations gained 95.87% and 71% of their students from parent choice, which in large part can be attributed to online schools administered by these two school corporations, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 shows the trends in enrollment numbers from 2006 – 2022 in Union school corporation and Clarksville community school corporation, which indicates that while enrollment in in-person schools in the two school corporations remains approximately constant, the total enrollment gains are from enrollment spikes in online schools post2018 (i.e., 6795 – 7131 – Indiana Digital Jr and High School, 6795 – 7142 – Indiana Digital Alternative School, 6795 – 7122 – Indiana Digital Elementary, and 1000 – 1007 – Indiana Gateway Digital Academy). To reinforce the significance of online schools in these enrollment spikes, it is noteworthy that the school corporation (Union School Corporation) with the highest enrollment increase has three online schools, two starting in 2019 and one in 2020. Whereas, Clarksville Community School Corporation, with the second highest enrollment increase, has only one online school that started in 2022. It is also important to highlight the huge enrollment gap (1252.66%) between the two school corporations with the highest enrollment gains that can be attributed to the number of online schools and their duration of operations. The availability of state-wide data on online schools might also reveal other interesting trends. However, here, it is evident that online schools have played a significant role in boosting enrollment for those two school corporations, whose enrollment gains are markedly higher than gains observed in all other school corporations.

Table 6 shows four school corporations gained 42% to 52% of students from public/parent choice. 22 school corporations gained 30% to 40% of their students, while the remaining 34 school corporations gained between 10% and 30% of their students in this manner.

Table 6.
62 school corporations that receive 20% or more of their enrollment from public/parent choice transfers in.

62 school corporations that receive 20% or more of their enrollment from public/parent choice transfers in. School corporationsParent Choice at a Percent (%) of ADM
Union School Corporation95.87%
Clarksville Community School Corp71.00%
Daleville Community Schools52.26%
Cowan Community School Corp48.29%
Cloverdale Community Schools45.31%
Eastern Howard School Corporation42.11%
South Central Com School Corp39.05%
Cannelton City Schools38.81%
Beech Grove City Schools38.62%
Taylor Community School Corp38.00%
Union-North United School Corp37.21%
MSD Wabash County Schools35.13%
School City of Whiting34.57%
MSD of New Durham Township34.53%
Northeastern Wayne Schools34.49%
Liberty-Perry Community Sch Corp34.26%
South Henry School Corp33.86%
Lanesville Community School Corp33.47%
Madison-Grant United School Corp33.31%
Southern Wells Com Schools32.96%
Eastern Hancock Co Com Sch Corp32.74%
Tri-Central Community Schools32.27%
Oak Hill United School Corp32.21%
Frankton-Lapel Community Schools31.84%
Barr-Reeve Community Schools Inc31.69%
West Washington School Corp31.69%
Northwestern School Corp31.14%
Monroe Central School Corp31.02%
Lake Ridge New Tech Schools29.32%
Blue River Valley Schools29.28%
Wes-Del Community Schools29.15%
Perry Central Com Schools Corp29.11%
Centerville-Abington Com Schs28.19%
Milan Community Schools27.74%
Oregon-Davis School Corp27.62%
Mississinewa Community School Corp26.53%
Adams Central Community Schools26.27%
John Glenn School Corporation26.24%
Nettle Creek School Corporation25.30%
Randolph Southern School Corp25.29%
Tri-Township Cons School Corp24.93%
Wabash City Schools24.67%
School City of Mishawaka24.45%
Orleans Community Schools24.12%
Caston School Corporation24.07%
Eastbrook Community Sch Corp23.14%
Northwestern Con School Corp22.85%
South Knox School Corp22.69%
River Forest Community Sch Corp22.36%
Western School Corporation22.14%
Argos Community Schools22.06%
Southwestern-Jefferson Co Con21.93%
Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp21.91%
New Prairie United School Corp21.79%
Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United21.46%
Yorktown Community Schools21.40%
Silver Creek School Corporation21.37%
Shenandoah School Corporation21.25%
Clinton Prairie School Corporation21.21%
Lawrenceburg Community School Corp20.99%
Medora Community School Corp20.48%
Clinton Central School Corporation20.42%

Figure 2.
Enrollment trend 2006 – 2022 in two school corporations with online schools.

Enrollment trend 2006 – 2022 in two school corporations with online schools.

Table 7 presents the 64 public charter schools that received students transferring from public school corporations. The school corporations are organized in descending order based on the number of students received by the public charter schools. The top three school corporations received more than 1000 students, of which the top school corporation received 5863 students (about more than four times the students received by the second highest school corporation). 31 school corporations received 500 to 999 students, while the remaining 30 school corporations received less than 500 students.

Table 7.
The number of students transferred to charter schools from public school corporations.

School corporationsSum of Public Transfers: Charter (N)
Indiana Connections Academy5863
21st Century Charter Sch of Gary1350
Gary Lighthouse Charter School1146
Herron Charter*997
Irvington Community School942
Options Charter Schools915
Victory College Prep Academy906
Anderson Preparatory Academy850
Thea Bowman Leadership Academy841
Paramount Brookside812
Christel House Academy South781
Indiana Connections Career Academy753
Global Preparatory Academy740
KIPP Indy Unite Elementary704
Charter School of the Dunes689
Hoosier College and Career Academy684
Burris Laboratory School681
Rock Creek Community Academy674
Enlace Academy663
Aspire Charter Academy660
Matchbook Learning655
IN Math & Science Academy - North637
Success Academy Primary School606
Andrew J Brown Academy600
SE Neighborhood Sch of Excellence568
Purdue Polytechnic High School Ind565
Discovery Charter School564
Dugger Union Community School Corp564
Hammond Academy of Science & Tech562
The PATH School540
IN Math & Science Academy539
Phalen Leadership Academy at Franc523
Seven Oaks Classical School512
Community Montessori Inc504
James and Rosemary Phalen Leadersh478
East Chicago Lighthouse Charter477
Christel House Academy West471
Career Academy High School433
Tindley Genesis Academy433
Vision Academy429
East Chicago Urban Enterprise Acad424
Riverside High School410
Career Academy Middle School394
Signature School Inc393
Timothy L Johnson Academy390
Charles A Tindley Accelerated Sch389
KIPP Indy Legacy High384
KIPP Indy College Prep Middle379
PLA at George H Fisher School 93357
Steel City Academy349
Phalen Virtual Leadership Academy343
Adelante Schools334
The Bloomington Project School331
Circle City Prep Charter School323
Indiana Agriculture and Technology314
Urban ACT Academy308
Avondale Meadows Academy303
James & Rosemary Phalen Leadership284
Purdue Polytechnic High Sch North281
Paramount Cottage Home271
Phalen Leadership Academy at Louis271
Joshua Academy265
Renaissance Academy Charter School247
Lawrence County Independent School242
Paramount Englewood239
Phalen Leadership Academy - IN Inc237
Geist Montessori Academy233
Liberty Grove Schools230
Tindley Summit Academy228
HIM By HER Collegiate School for t224
BELIEVE Circle City High School213
pilotED Schools213
Indianapolis Metropolitan High Sch212
Higher Institute of Arts & Tech206
Timothy L. Johnson Academy Middle196
Avondale Meadows Middle School195
Indiana Academy for Sci Math Hmn195
Inspire Academy - A Sch of Inquiry181
Damar Charter Academy180
Herron Preparatory Academy176
Invent Learning Hub169
Paramount Online Academy165
Indy Steam Academy164
Springville Community Academy164
Canaan Community Academy160
GEO Next Generation Academy158
ACE Preparatory Academy156
Allegiant Preparatory Academy145
The Nature School of Central India145
Gary Middle College144
Purdue Polytechnic High School Sou143
Rooted School Indianapolis137
Neighbors' New Vistas High School128
Mays Community Academy119
Dynamic Minds Academy107
Otwell Miller Academy95
Rural Community Schools Inc87
Smith Academy for Excellence76
Vanguard Collegiate of Indy70
The Genius School69
Promise Prep66
Monarca Academy39
The Hope Academy, Inc.32
Grand Total46,393

Table 8 presents the number of students nonpublic providers gained from Indiana’s Choice Scholarship. Overall, 304 nonpublic schools received funds from the voucher program for 52,674 students in total. The 48 schools presented in the table below gained 300 or more students. The top five schools gained 600 to 700 students, followed by eight schools that gained 500 to 600 students, followed by 13 schools that gained 400 to 500 students, while the remaining 22 schools gained 300 to 400 students.

Table 8.
The 48 top nonpublic schools receiving choice scholarship students.

Nonpublic SchoolsCitySum of Non-Public Transfers: Choice Scholarship (N)
Saint Charles Borromeo SchoolBloomington700
Saint Joseph SchoolSouth Bend672
Roncalli High SchoolIndianapolis655
Saint John The Baptist SchoolNew Haven607
Heritage Christian SchoolIndianapolis606
Bishop Dwenger High SchoolFort Wayne589
Saint Vincent DePaul SchoolFort Wayne589
Saint Jude Elementary SchoolFort Wayne547
Marian High SchoolMishawaka525
Evansville Christian Sch NewburghNewburgh524
Suburban Christian SchoolIndianapolis521
Faith Christian SchoolLafayette517
Cardinal Ritter High SchoolIndianapolis509
Christian Academy of IndianaNew Albany493
Saint Michael SchoolBloomington457
Holy Cross SchoolBloomington456
Saint Joseph High SchoolSouth Bend452
Crown Point Christian SchoolSaint John446
Cathedral High SchoolIndianapolis436
Bishop Luers High SchoolFort Wayne433
Holy Cross Lutheran SchoolIndianapolis425
Bishop Noll InstituteHammond416
Elkhart Christian AcademyElkhart414
Lakewood Park Christian SchoolAuburn414
Saint Mark SchoolIndianapolis411
Scecina Memorial High SchoolIndianapolis405
Trinity Lutheran SchoolCrown Point399
Blackhawk Christian Elementary SchFort Wayne398
Concordia Lutheran High SchoolFort Wayne398

Christ The King School

South Bend382
Tabernacle Christian SchoolMartinsville376
Holy Family SchoolNew Albany361
Saint Mary SchoolNorth Vernon357
Greenwood Christian AcademyMooresville351
Mooresville Christian AcademyMooresville343
Highland Christian SchoolHighland337
Saint Lawrence SchoolLawrenceburg327
Saint Casimir SchoolHammond324
Holy Spirit SchoolIndianapolis323
Immanuel Lutheran SchoolSeymour321
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton CatholicCarmel321
Our Lady Of Grace SchoolNoblesville314
Bishop Chatard High SchoolIndianapolis313
MTI School of KnowledgeIndianapolis312
Blackhawk Christian Mdl/High SchFort Wayne311
Reitz Memorial High SchoolEvansville311
Saint Barnabas SchoolIndianapolis311
Concordia Lutheran SchoolFort Wayne310

This report presents Indiana DoE data on student transfers through some of Indiana’s school choice programs. The findings demonstrate a pattern of “winners” and “losers” under these choice policies. The data show some intriguing patterns of student movements, including shifts in students from multiple corporations to a small number of corporations with online schooling. Additionally, many students have moved from public to private schools, but often not in areas with the greatest economic or educational needs, contrary to policymakers' expectations.

As a descriptive presentation of these data, the report offers possibilities for further, more in-depth analysis of questions surrounding such choice programs. For instance, analysts may want to consider the inflows of transfer students to certain schools relative to the size of their actual enrollment to determine the proportion of students in these schools who are supported by tax-funded choice programs and, thus, the degree to which specific private schools are reliant on public funds. Similarly, further research might consider the popularity of schools relative to their actual academic performance, socio-economic needs, or educational underperformance in the surrounding communities.


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