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ERIC Number: ED508498
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Education by the Numbers: The Fiscal Effect of School Choice Programs, 1990-2006. School Choice Issues in Depth
Aud, Susan L.
Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation
School choice programs, which allow students to attend the public or private school of their choice using public funds, have taken root in the U.S. and are growing rapidly both in number and size. Their fiscal impact has become an important political issue. Proponents say school choice saves money because private schooling is more efficient, producing savings for both public schools and state budgets. Meanwhile, opponents say school choice drains money from public schools. This study calculates the fiscal impact of every existing voucher and tax-credit scholarship program, in order to bring empirical evidence to bear on the debate over the fiscal impact of school choice. Of the 18 voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs in the United States, twelve began operations before the current school year and their fiscal impact can thus be assessed. Key findings include: (1) School choice programs have saved a total of about $444 million from 1990 to 2006, including a total of $22 million saved in state budgets and $422 million saved in local public school districts; (2) Every existing school choice program is at least fiscally neutral, and most produce a substantial savings; (3) In nearly every school choice program, the dollar value of the voucher or scholarship is less than or equal to the state's formula spending per student; (4) When a student uses school choice, the local public school district no longer needs to pay the instructional costs associated with that student, but it does not lose all of its per-student revenue, because some revenue does not vary with enrollment levels; and (5) Programs that offer vouchers or scholarships both to public school students and to students who did not previously attend public schools are now offering large enough dollar amounts to attract at least 25 percent of their participants from public school students. (Contains 17 tables, 1 figure and 21 endnotes.)
Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation. Available from: Foundation for Educational Choice. One American Square Suite 2420, Indianapolis, IN 46282. Tel: 317-681-0745; Fax: 317-681-0945; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation
Identifiers - Location: United States