Today, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice released a study finding that voucher programs across the country generated more than $1.7 billion in savings between 1990 and 2010.
The School Voucher Audit: Do Publicly Funded Private School Choice Programs Save Money?, written by Friedman’s Director of Fiscal Policy and Analysis, Jeff Spalding, examines 10 voucher programs that were operational between the 1990-91 and 2010-11 school years.
The study provides a two-page analysis for each of the 10 programs examined, but here is a breakdown of the cumulative savings generated from each program:
If these projections continue through the current school year, Florida’s McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities, for example, can be expected to have saved much more than a billion dollars over the past 10 years. Not bad, considering no more than six-percent of eligible students have participated in the program in any year.
As the study notes, this is not a comprehensive examination of all savings generated from choice programs. The study does not include 12 voucher programs that have been enacted since 2010, which represented roughly 25,000 students in the most-recent school year. This includes Indiana’s voucher program, which received nearly 30,000 applications this year. Additionally, the study does not examine savings generated from tax credit scholarship programs, due mostly because the structure and administration of these programs vary widely across states, making data collection difficult for a national study.
Bottom line: school choice programs not only improve academic outcomes for participating students and their public school peers, they’re also doing it for much, much less money.
About the author
Adam Peshek @AdamPeshek
Adam Peshek is Managing Director of Opportunity Policy at ExcelinEd, where he provides strategic support to state leaders interested in developing, adopting, and implementing policies that increase educational options for children. He has provided expert testimony in more than a dozen state legislatures and is a frequent commentator on ESAs, school choice, and education policy across the country. He is also the is the co-editor of the first published volume on ESAs, Education Savings Accounts: The New Frontier in School Choice. Adam currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is a Senior Fellow with the Beacon Center of Tennessee.