A Review and Analysis of Private School Choice in the United States

School Choice enables families to choose the educational option best suited to their children in grades K-12. The availability of these programs varies based on residence locations as each state has different School Choice options. The report will provide a holistic and detailed analysis on the Private School Choice programs in the U.S. as it is currently the segment most widely considered in the national School Choice debate.

Presented By:
 The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
 Charlton College of Business
 Center for Marketing Research
 
In Collaboration With:
 Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes
 Director, Center for Marketing Research
 
Conducted By:
Kanae Tokunaga, Nadia Khalil, Mae Killeen, and Bethany Fernandes
 
 SPRING 2020

Introduction

 

School Choice enables families to choose the educational option best suited to their children in grades K-12. The availability of these programs varies based on residence locations as each state has different School Choice options. School Choice can be categorized into two groups: Private School Choice and Other School Choice. Private School Choice includes Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and individual tax credits and deductions. Other types of School Choice include charter schools, magnet schools, inter/intra-district public school choice, homeschooling, online learning, customized learning, and town tuitioning (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020). The report will provide a holistic and detailed analysis on the Private School Choice programs in the U.S. as it is currently the segment most widely considered in the national School Choice debate.

 

Highlights:

  • School Choice first appeared in education systems 150 years ago. Wisconsin was the first state to execute a modern school voucher program.
  • 60% (30 states) of U.S. states have implemented one or more Private School Choice programs.
  • There are 64 Private School Choice programs available in the U.S.
  • Among Northeastern states, 56% of them implemented one or more programs.
  • Voucher programs are the most popular type of Private School Choice program.

 

Types of Private School Choice:

 

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs): ESAs allow parents to withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts. Those funds are often distributed to families via debit card and can cover private school tuition, fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses, and other approved customized learning services and materials. Some ESAs even allow students to use their funds to pay for a combination of public-school courses and private services (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).  

 

School Vouchers: School vouchers provide parents the freedom to choose a private school for their children using all or part of the public funding set aside for their children’s education. Under such a program, funds typically spent by a school district would be allocated to a participating family in the form of a voucher to pay partial or full tuition for their child’s private school, including both religious and non-religious options (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).  

 

Tax-Credit Scholarships: Tax-credit scholarships allow taxpayers to receive full or partial tax credits when they donate to nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. Eligible taxpayers can include both individuals and businesses. In some states, scholarship-giving nonprofit organizations also provide innovation grants to public schools and/or transportation assistance to students choosing alternative public schools (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).

 

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions: Individual tax credits and deductions allow parents to receive state income tax relief for approved educational expenses, which can include private school tuition, books, supplies, computers, tutors, and transportation. Tax credits lower the total taxes a person owes whereas a deduction reduces a person’s total taxable income (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).  

 

Other Types of School Choice:

 

Charter Schools: Charter schools are independently run public schools exempt from many rules and regulations in exchange for increased accountability. They are public-tuition free schools that are open to all students. They are often operated independently from the traditional school district. Charter schools provide high-quality instruction from teachers who have the autonomy to design a classroom that fits their student’s needs (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).

 

Magnet Schools: A magnet school is a public school that offers specialized curricula and programs not available in traditional public schools. It is designed to attract students with a common interest or skillset. Due to high demand, most schools determine students’ acceptance by a lottery system (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).

 

Inter/Intra-District Public School Choice: Also known as the open enrollment, inter- and intra-district choice laws allow families to choose traditional public schools other than the ones they are assigned to base on their ZIP codes. Intra-district choice allows families to choose from among more than one public school within their assigned district. Inter-district choice families to send their children to any traditional public school in their resident state or a defined region. Typically, these open enrollment options still allow public schools to give enrollment preference to students within their assigned district lines (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).

 

Homeschooling: Homeschooling is an alternative form of education for children outside of public or private schools, typically within their own homes. Homeschooling is regulated differently from state to state (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).

 

Online Learning: Online learning allows students to work with their curriculum and teachers over the Internet in combination with, or in place of, traditional classroom learning (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).

 

Customized Learning: Customized learning is unique to every child. As an example, some students might use ESA or course choice programs to mix courses from public schools with privately tutored classes at home, online courses, special education therapies, and a work-study internship. The possibilities are endless, especially as new innovations in learning continue to emerge (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).

 

Town Tuitioning: Town tuitioning allows students who live in towns that do not have district public schools to receive their per-pupil education tax dollars to pay tuition at a neighboring town’s public school or a private school of their choice. This type of school choice functions much like a school voucher, and only a handful of rural states in the northeast use it (“ABCs of School Choice”, 2020).  

 

States with Private School Choice

This section provides an overview of each states’ Private School Choice options. The following states are not included in this section as they do not have Private School Choice: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Alabama

 

Total Population

4,905,621

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Yes

 

Program Type

Tax Credit Scholarships

Individual Tax Credits

& Deductions

Program Name

Education Scholarship Program

Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 Parent-Tax Payer Refundable Tax Credit

Year Launched

2013

2013

Participation

4,006

145

Average Funding

$5,960

$2,814

% of Students Eligible

37%1

5%2

Scholarship Organizations

159

N/A

Schools Participating

159

N/A

Education Scholarship Program: Children are eligible to receive scholarships if their families qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program. In addition, qualifying students must be younger than 19 years of age. Once a student receives a scholarship, the family’s income may not exceed 275 percent of the federal poverty level. Public and private school students assigned to failing schools receive priority for scholarships.

Alabama Accountability Act of 2013: Alabama provides a refundable tax credit to parents who transfer their children enrolled in or assigned to a “failing” public school to a “non-failing” public or private school. Parents receive a tax credit worth the lesser of 80% of the average annual state cost of attendance for a K-12 public school student or their children's actual cost of attending school.

 

1Percent of Alabama families with children who meet the Education Scholarship's income requirement.

2Percent of Alabama families eligible statewide.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Arizona

 

Total Population

7,378,494

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

Yes

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

ESAs

Tax-Credits Scholarships

Program Name

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program

“Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Year Launched

2011

1997

2006

2009

2012

Participation

7,079

32,585

20,964

1,103

22,348

Average Funding

$14,174

$1,780

$2,469

$5,214

$1,476

% of Students Eligible

23%1

100%2

60%3

12%4

93%5

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

54

36

18

51

Schools Participating

134

341

248

164

331

 

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts: Arizona was the first state to enact an Education Savings Account program. The program was launched in 2011 and opened the door to new learning opportunities for students with special needs and circumstances.

Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program: Taxpayers receive tax credits for their donations to nonprofit organizations that provide school scholarships to K-12 students.             

Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program: This program is catered for K-12 students from low-income families.           

Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program: This program provides private school scholarships to children with special needs and students who are currently or have ever been part of the Arizona foster care system.    

“Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program: Tax credits to individuals supporting school tuition organizations, nonprofits that provide private school scholarships to students in need.

 

1Percent of Alabama families with children who meet the Education Scholarship's income requirement.

2All Arizona K-12 students are eligible for the Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

3Percent of Arizona families with children who meet the Low-Income Corporate Income Tac Credit Scholarship Program’s income requirement.

4Percent of Arizona K-12 students eligible for Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

5Most Arizona K-12 students are eligible for the “Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Arkansas

 

Total Population

3,038,999

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Voucher

Program Name

Succeed Scholarship Program

Year Launched

2016

Participation

427

Average Funding

$5,988

% of Students Eligible

13%1

Schools Participating

34

Succeed Scholarship Program: State’s first school choice pram that was launched in 2016. This program provides private school vouchers to students in foster care and students with disabilities. Students who fall under either category must have previously attended public school, unless they are children of active-duty military families or they receive a waiver from the school district.

1Percent of Arkansas K-12 students are eligible.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

District of Columbia

 

Total Population

720,687

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Voucher

Program Name

Opportunity Scholarship Program

Year Launched

2004

Participation

1,724

Average Funding

$9,531

% of Students Eligible

33%1

Schools Participating

41

Opportunity Scholarship Program: This is the only school choice program for Washington D.C. It was launched in 20004, and it continues to provide vouchers to students from low-income households. Overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, the program is funded separately from D.C. public and charter schools.

1Percent of D.C. families with children who meet the income requirement for the program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Florida

 

Total Population

21,992,985

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

Yes

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

ESAs

School Vouchers

Tax Credit Scholarships

Program Name

Gardiner Scholarship Program

John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program

Family Empowerment Scholarship Program

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Hope Scholarship Program

Year Launched

2014

2000

2019

2001

2018

Participation

13,884

28,935

9,025

108,570

271

Average Funding

$10,508

$7,557

$7,250 (Max.)

$6,195

Max. $6,519 (K-12), $6,815 (6-8), $7,112 (9-12)

% of Students Eligible

3%1

10%2

56%3

50%4

85%5

Schools Participating

1,634 (2017-18)

1,516

N/A

1,836

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

N/A

N/A

2

1

Gardiner Scholarship Program: This program allows students with special needs an opportunity to receive an ESA funded by the state and administered by an approved scholarship funding organization.

John M. McKay Scholarships for Student with Disabilities Program: This program was the first school voucher program for students with special needs. It allows students with special needs who have IEPs or 4 plans to receive vouchers to attend private schools or other public schools.

Family Empowerment Scholarship Program: This program was created to alleviate the waitlist of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program while expanding school choice options for thousands of other low-and middle-income residents.

Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program: This program was launched to serve students from low-income households. It has one of the largest student participations. It is funded by tax credit on corporate income taxes and insurance premium taxes for donations to nonprofit organizations.

Hope Scholarship Program: This program allows purchasers of motor vehicles to contribute their vehicle sales tax to fund private school scholarships. This may be used by students who are victims of bullying or are physically attacked in school.

1Percent of Florida K-12 students eligible for the Gardiner Scholarship Program.

2Percent of Florida K-12 students eligible for the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program.

3Percent of Florida families with children who meet the Florida Family Scholarship Program income requirement.

4Percent of Florida families with children who meet the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program’s income requirement.

5Percent of Florida K-12 students eligible for the hope scholarship program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Georgia

 

Total Population

10,736,059

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Voucher

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Program Name

Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program

Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit

Year Launched

2007

2008

Participation

4,873

13,895

Average Funding

$6,814

$4,008

% of Students Eligible

10%1

90%2

Schools Participating

261

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

25

Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program: Launched in 2007 to help students with special needs access schools that best fit their educational needs. The program provides vouchers to students to attend private school. Vouchers are worth up to the cost of the educational program a student would have received in public school.

Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit: It was launched in 2008 to help students in public school access schools that best fit their needs. This program is one of the most expansive, successful programs in the country as there are no arbitrary eligibility requirements.

1Percent of Georgia K-12 students eligible for this program. 

29 out of 10 Georgia K-12 students are eligible for scholarships under the Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Illinois

 

Total Population

12,659,682

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Yes

 

Program Type

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Individual Tax Credits

& Deduction

Program Name

Invest in Kids Program

Tax Credits for Educational Expenses

Year Launched

2018

2000

Participation

7,178

297,492

Average Funding

$7,380 (max.)

$257

% of Students Eligible

44%1

100%

Schools Participating

447

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

6

N/A

Invest in Kid’s Program: This program gives 75% tax credits to individuals and businesses for their donations to Scholarship-granting organizations, nonprofits that provide school scholarships to low- and middle-income families. 

Tax Credits for Educational Expenses: Illinois allow individuals to claim a credit for educational expenses for dependent students attending a private, public school or being homeschooled. Qualified expenses include tuition, books and lab or activity feeds. The credit is worth a maximum of $500. Beginning in 2018, the state imposed an income limit for the tax credit. Married families with AGI exceeding $500,000 as well as non-married families with an AGI of $250,000, are no longer eligible for the credit.

1Percent of Illinois families with children who meet the Invest in Kids Program’s income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Indiana

 

Total Population

6,745,354

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Yes

 

Program Type

School Voucher

Tax Credit Scholarship

Individual Tax Credits & Deduction

Program Name

Choice Scholarship Program

School Scholarship Tax Credit

Private School/Home School Deduction

Year Launched

2011

2009

2011

Participation

36,290

10,146

56,025

Average Funding

$4,449

$2,145

$1,804

% of Students Eligible

47%1

61%2

12%3

Schools Participating

329

341

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

6

N/A

Choice Scholarship Program: This program is the largest statewide voucher program in the country. It allows students in low- and middle-income families to receive vouchers to attend private school.

School Scholarship Tax Credit: This program allows individuals and corporations to claim a 50% tax credit for contributions to approved scholarship-granting organizations.

Private School/Homeschool Deduction: Indiana provides a tax deduction for individuals who make educational expenditures on behalf of their dependent children. Any taxpayer who has a child already enrolled in private school or who is homeschooled is eligible to claim up to a $1,000 tax deduction per child for approved educational expenses including private tuition, textbooks, fees, software, tutoring and supplies.

1Percent of families with children income eligible for Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program.

2Percent of Indiana families with children who meet the School Scholarship Tax Credit’s income requirements.

3Percent of Indiana families with children eligible statewide.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Iowa

Total Population

3,179,849

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Yes

 

Program Type

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Program Name

School Tuition Organization Tax Credit

Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit

Year Launched

2006

1987

Participation

10,791

116,707

Average Funding

$1,614

$131

% of Students Eligible

59%1

100%

Schools Participating

144

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

12

N/A

School Tuition Organization Tax Credit: Iowa provides a credit on individual income taxes for donations to school tuition organizations (STOs), nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. The STOs determine scholarship amounts and total of $15 million in tax-credit funding for scholarship is available in 2020.

Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit: Iowa provides parents of students in any private or public school a tax credit covering educational expenses, including tuition, books and lab or activity fees. The credit is worth a maximum of $250.

1Percent of Iowa families with children meeting the School Tuition Organization Tax Credit’s income requirement. 

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Kansas

 

Total Population

2,910,357

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Program Name

Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program

Year Launched

2015

Participation

115

Average Funding

$4,638

% of Students Eligible

6%1

Schools Participating

115

Scholarship Organizations

9

Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program: This program allows individuals and corporations to claim a 70 percent tax credit for contributions to approved scholarship-granting organizations, nonprofits that provide private scholarships. Each SGO determines the amount of the scholarships it distributes, and it provides school scholarships to low-income students in the 100 lowest-performing public schools as defined by the state.

1Percent of Kansas K-12 students eligible for the Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Louisiana

 

Total Population

4,645,184

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Yes

 

Program Type

School Vouchers

Tax Credit Scholarships

Individual Tax Credit & Deductions

Program Name

Louisiana Scholarship Program

School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities

Tax Donation Credit Program

Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction

Year Launched

2008

2011

2012

2008

Participation

6,747

432

2,115

77,097

Average Funding

$6,172

$2,350

$4,379

$5,448

% of Students Eligible

35%1

7%2

48%3

18% 4

Schools Participating

128

22

228

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

N/A

3

N/A

 

Louisiana Scholarship Program: Louisiana’s statewide voucher program is available to low-income students in low-performing public schools. It launched first in New Orleans before expanding statewide in 2012.

School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities: Louisiana allows students with certain exceptionalities who live in eligible parishes to attend schools of their parents’ choosing that provide educational services specifically addressing their needs. Eligible students are defined generally as those with special needs.

Tax Donation Credit Program:  Louisiana taxpayers can receive tax credits for donations they make to school tuition organizations, nonprofits that provide private school scholarships.

Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction: Louisiana allows parents to claim tax deductions for educational expenses, including private school tuition and fees, uniforms, textbooks, curricular materials, lab schools and any supplies required by the school.

1Percent of K-12 students eligible for the Louisiana Scholarship Program.

2Percent of Louisiana K-12 students in the state’s most populated parishes eligible for the School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities.

3Percent of Louisiana families with children who met the Tuition Donation Credit Program’s income requirement

4Percent of Louisiana K-12 students eligible.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Maine

 

Total Population

1,345,790

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Vouchers

Program Name

Town Tuitioning Program

Year Launched

1873

Participation

5,374

Average Funding

$9,272 (K-8), $11,59 (9-12)

% of Students Eligible

3%1

Schools Participating

60

Town Tuitioning Program: Many small towns in Maine do not operate high schools and some do not have elementary schools. Students in those towns are eligible for vouchers to attend public schools in other towns or non-religious private schools, even outside the state. The sending towns pay tuition directly to the receiving schools. Although most towns allow parents to choose which schools will receive their students, some towns send all their students to one school.

1Percent of Maine students able to participate in the state’s Town Tuitioning Program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Maryland

 

Total Population

6,083,116

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Vouchers

Program Name

Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program

Year Launched

2016

Participation

3,071

Average Funding

$2,507

% of Students Eligible

20%1

Schools Participating

3,071

Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program: This program is Maryland’s first school choice program, providing vouchers to low-income students to attend private schools. Each student’s voucher is funded at the statewide average of the per-pupil expenditures by all local education agencies for the current school year, up to but not exceeding the amount of tuition at the private school. Students are eligible if family incomes does not exceed 100 percent of the federal free and reduced-price lunch program.

1Percent of Maryland families with children who meet the BOOST Program’s income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Minnesota

 

Total Population

5,700,671

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Yes

 

Program Type

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Program Name

Education Deduction

K-12 Education Credit

Year Launched

1955

1998

Participation

212,160

46,948

Average Funding

$1,145

$254

% of Students Eligible

100%

20%1

Schools Participating

N/A

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

N/A

Education Deduction: This program allows parents to deduct educational expenses, including tuition, tutoring, books and more. Eligible expenses reduce a family’s taxable income when taxes are filed.

K-12 Education Credit: Minnesota provides a tax credit covering educational expenses for students in any private or public school, including homeschooling or schools in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa or Wisconsin. The tax credit reduces the family’s total tax liability and cover books, tutors, academic after-school programs and other non-tuition educational expenses.

1Percent of families with children income-eligible statewide.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Mississippi

 

Total Population

2,989,260

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

Yes

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

ESA

School Vouchers

Program Name

Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program

Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program

Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program

Year Launched

2015

2012

2012

Participation

502

249

2

Average Funding

$6,765

$5,114

$5,459

% of Students Eligible

12%1

3%2

2%3

Schools Participating

98

6

1

Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program: Mississippi allows students with special needs to receive a portion of their public funding in a government authorized savings account with multiple uses. While participating in this program, students are not eligible to participate in the school voucher programs.

Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program: This program allows children with dyslexia to receive vouchers to attend accredited private schools that provide dyslexia therapy.

Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program: Mississippi allows children with speech-language impairments to receive vouchers to attend private schools. Participating accredited private schools must be able to provide speech-language therapy.

1Percent of Mississippi K-12 students eligible for the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program.

2Percent of Mississippi K-12 students eligible for the Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program.

3Percent of Mississippi K-12 students eligible or the Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Montana

 

Total Population

1,086,759

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Program Name

Tax Credits for Contributions to Students Scholarship Organizations

Year Launched

2015

Participation

25

Average Funding

$500 (2016-2017)

% of Students Eligible

100%1

Schools Participating

13

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

Tax Credits for Contributions to Students Scholarship Organizations: Montana allows individuals and corporations to claim a tax credit for contributions to approved student scholarship organizations, nonprofits that provide scholarships for private school and tutoring. A 2018 state court decision rendered the program inoperable, but a temporary stay in that ruling was granted as the case is being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1All Montana K-12 students are eligible for scholarships through Montana's Tax Credits for Contributions to Student Scholarship Organizations.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Nevada

 

Total Population

3,139,658

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Program Name

Educational Choice Scholarship Program

Year Launched

2015

Participation

1,491

Average Funding

$6,289

% of Students Eligible

53%1

Schools Participating

61

Scholarship Organizations

6

Educational Choice Scholarship Program: Nevada allows corporations to claim a 100 percent tax credit for contributions to approved scholarship-granting organizations, nonprofits that provide private school scholarships, counted against the Modified Business Tax. Taxpayers may carry forward a tax credit under this program for five years. For student eligibility, all students that receive scholarship under this program must come from families whose household incomes are at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty line.

1Percent of Nevada families with children who meet the Educational Choice Scholarship Program’s income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

New Hampshire

 

Total Population

1,371,246

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Voucher

Tax Credit Scholarship

Program Name

Town Tuitioning Program

Education Tax Credit Program

Year Launched

2017

2013

Participation

17

413

Average Funding

$14,000

$2,168

% of Students Eligible

<1%1

35%2

Schools Participating

4

58

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

2

Town Tuitioning Program: New Hampshire's Town Tuitioning Program, re-enacted and launched in 2017 to include private schools, allows towns without district schools at a student’s de level to use public dollars for students to attend any public or approved independent (private, non-religious school in or outside of New Hampshire. The “tuitioning" district pays the tuition directly to the “receiving” schools.  


Education Tax Credit Program: New Hampshire offers tax credits to businesses for donations to nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. Available tax credits were capped at $3.4 million in the first year and were capped at $5.1 million for subsequent years. Students eligible to receive this scholarship must be between 5 and 20 and come from households where family income is less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

1Percent New Hampshire student able to participate in the state’s Town Tuitioning Program.

2Percent of New Hampshire families with children who meet the Education Tax Credit Program’s income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

North Carolina

 

Total Population

10,611,862

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

Yes

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

ESAs

School Vouchers

Program Name

Personal Education Savings Account

Opportunity Scholarships

Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities

Year Launched

2018

2014

2014

Participation

282

12,183

1,754

Average Funding

$8,746

$3,936

$6,753

% of Students Eligible

10%1

45%2

10%3

Schools Participating

78

451

230

Personal Education Savings Account: This program provides families funds to pay for a variety of educational services including therapeutic uses and private school tuition. To qualify, students must have an Individualized Education Program and be identified as having special needs under the IDEA definition of a “child with disabilities”.

Opportunity Scholarships: North Carolina awards vouchers statewide to students whose families meet certain income requirements. Students are eligible to receive vouchers if their household income does not exceed 133 percent of FRL and the maximum voucher amount allowed is $4,200, not to exceed the private school’s actual tuition and fees.

Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities: North Carolina allows students with special needs to receive vouchers to attend private schools of their parents’ choosing.

1Percent of North Carolina students eligible for Personal Education Savings Accounts.

2Percent of North Carolina families with children who meet the income requirement for Opportunity Scholarships.

3Percent of North Carolina K-12 students eligible for Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Ohio

 

Total Population

11,747,694

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Vouchers

Program Name

Cleveland Scholarship Program

Autism Scholarship Program

Educational Choice Scholarship Program

Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program

Year Launched

1996

2004

2006

2012

Participation

7,251

3,789

28,197

6,373

Average Funding

$4,863

$22,996

$4,762

$9,913

% of Students Eligible

100%1

1%2

26%3

13%4

Schools Participating

41

265

382

370

Cleveland Scholarship Program: Parents in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can receive vouchers to send their children to private schools or public schools bordering the school district. All families are eligible, although low-income families are prioritized.

Autism Scholarship Program: Ohio students on the autism spectrum may receive vouchers for education services from a private provider, including tuition at a private school. After participating students receive education services, their families apply to the state for reimbursement of expenses.

Educational Choice Scholarship Program: Ohio students who attend chronically low-performing public schools are eligible for Educational Choice vouchers to attend private schools.

Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program: Parents of children with special needs enrolled in public schools may receive vouchers to pay for private school tuition and additional services covered by their individual Education plans from private therapists and other service providers.

1All Ohio K-12 students who reside in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are eligible for the Cleveland Scholarship Program.

2Percent of Ohio K-12 students eligible for the Autism Scholarship Program.

3Percent of Ohio K-12 students eligible for the Educational Choice Scholarship Program.

4Percent of Ohio K-12 students eligible for the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

 

 

Oklahoma

 

Total Population

3,954,821

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Voucher

Tax Credit Scholarship

Program Name

Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship

Year Launched

2010

2013

Participation

1,002

2,555

Average Funding

$7,003

$2,017

% of Students Eligible

15%1

83%2

Schools Participating

62

102

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

6

Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities: Oklahoma students with an Individualized Education Plan or Individualized Service Plan may be eligible to receive a voucher to attend private school. The voucher is worth the state and local dollars spent on the child in his or her public school or the chosen private school’s tuition d fees, whichever is less. Foster care students those in state placements receive scholarships worth the per-pupil state aid plus any applicable weights.

Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship: Oklahoma provides tax credits for donations to scholarship-granting organizations, nonprofits that coordinate private school scholarships. The allowable tax credit is 50 percent of the amount of contributions made during a taxable year, up to $1000 for single individuals, $2000 for married couples and $100,000 for corporations, now including S-Corporations.  

1Percent of Oklahoma K-12 students eligible for the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities.

2Percent of Oklahoma families with children who meet the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship’s income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Pennsylvania

 

Total Population

12,820,878

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Program Name

Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program

Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program

Year Launched

2001

2012

Participation

37,725

14,419

Average Funding

$1,816

$2,490

% of Students Eligible

68%1

7%2

Schools Participating

N/A

N/A

Scholarship Organizations

258

178

Educational Investment Tax Credit Program: Pennsylvania provides tax credits for corporate contributions to the following nonprofit organizations: scholarship organizations, nonprofits that provide private school scholarships; educational improvement organizations, nonprofits that support innovative programs in public schools; and/or prekindergarten scholarship organizations.

Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program: Pennsylvania provides tax credits for corporate contributions to opportunity scholarship organizations, nonprofits that provide school scholarships.

1Percent of Pennsylvania families with children who meet the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program’s income requirement.

2Percent of Pennsylvania K-12 students eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Rhode Island

 

Total Population

1,056,161

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credits Scholarships

Program Name

Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations

Year Launched

2007

Participation

515

Average Funding

$2,444

% of Students Eligible

41%1

Scholarship Organizations

5

Schools Participating

47

Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations: Credits on corporate income taxes are given in exchange for donations to scholarship-granting organizations (SGO). SGOs are nonprofits that provide need-based private school scholarships. Tax credits have a value of 75% to 90% of the donation amount. To qualify for the scholarship, students’ family income must be at or below 250% of the poverty level ($64,375 for a family of four in 2019 – 2020). Funding for the scholarship is capped at a low level (only $1.5 million), which is only able to meet a small portion of scholarship demand.

1Percent of Rhode Island families with children who meet the Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations' income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

South Carolina

 

Total Population

5,210,095

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credits Scholarship

Program Name

Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children

Year Launched

2014

Participation

2,327

Average Funding

$4,973

% of Students Eligible

11%1

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

Schools Participating

112

Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children: A 100% tax credit can be claimed for contributions to a dedicated scholarship fund. This tax credit can be claimed by individuals, partnerships, corporations, and other similar entities up to 60% of their tax liability. Students can receive the maximum of the lesser of $11,000 or the tuition cost. To qualify, students must be designated “a child with disability” by South Carolina’s Department of Education.

1Percent of South Carolina K-12 students eligible for the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

South Dakota

 

Total Population

903,027

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credits Scholarship

Program Name

Partners in Education Tax Credit Program

Year Launched

2016

Participation

775

Average Funding

$1,734

% of Students Eligible

37%1

Scholarship Organizations

1

Schools Participating

46

Partners in Education Tax Credit Program: Tax credits are offered to companies that donate to scholarship-granting organizations, which are nonprofits that provide students with scholarships to private schools. The amount of the credit is 100% of the previous taxable year’s donation amount.

1Percent of South Dakota families with children who meet the Partners in Education Tax Credit Program’s income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Tennessee

 

Total Population

6,897,576

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

Yes

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

ESA

School Voucher

Program Name

Individualized Education Account Program

Education Savings Account Pilot Program

Year Launched

2017

2021

Participation

137

N/A

Average Funding

$5,830

$7,300 (Max.)

% of Students Eligible

3%1

58%2

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

N/A

Schools Participating

18

N/A

Individualized Education Account Program: This program provides parents funds to pay for a variety of educational services for their children, including private school tuition, tutoring, online education, curriculum, therapy, post-secondary educational institutions in Tennessee and other defined educational services.

Education Savings Account Pilot Program: Tennessee will begin providing vouchers for low-income students in the Shelby County (Memphis) and Metro Nashville Public Schools system by the 2012-22 school year. The voucher amount is equal to the state and local Basic Education Program per-pupil amount. Funds are deposited into families’ Education Savings Accounts at least four times per school year to help parents pay for private tuition and fees.

1Percent of Tennessee K-12 students eligible for Individualized Education Accounts.

2Percent of Tennessee families with children in Davidson and Shelby counties who meet the income requirement for Tennessee's voucher program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Utah

 

Total Population

3,282,115

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Voucher

Program Name

Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program

Year Launched

2021

Participation

1,107

Average Funding

$5,265

% of Students Eligible

11%1

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

Schools Participating

107

Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program: Utah students who have disabilities are eligible to receive vouchers to attend private school. Vouchers are based on the state’s weighted pupil unit, an element of its school financing formula. Eligibility for the voucher requires that public school students between ages 3 and 21 be identified as disabled.

1Percent of Utah K-12 students eligible for the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Vermont

 

Total Population

628,061

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

School Vouchers

Program Name

Town Tuitioning Program

Year Launched

1869

Participation

3,627

Average Funding

$13,152

% of Students Eligible

4%1

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

Schools Participating

142

Town Tuitioning Program: Many towns in Vermont, particularly in rural areas, do not operate public high schools and/or elementary schools. Students in those towns may use public dollars to attend any public or approved independent, non-religious school in or outside of Vermont. The “tuitioning” towns pay tuition directly to the “receiving” schools

1Percent of Vermont K-12 students able to participate in the state’s Town Tuitioning Program.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Virginia

 

Total Population

8,626,207

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

No

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Yes

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

No

 

Program Type

Tax-Credit Scholarships

Program Name

Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program

Year Launched

2013

Participation

4,505

Average Funding

$3,168

% of Students Eligible

44%1

Scholarship Organizations

36

Schools Participating

174

Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program: Individual and business taxpayers in Virginia can receive tax credits worth 65 percent of their donations to scholarship foundations, nonprofits that provide private school scholarships.

1Percent of Virginia families with children who meet the Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credits Program’s income requirement.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

Wisconsin

 

Total Population

5,851,754

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

No

School Vouchers

Yes

Tax-Credit Scholarships

No

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Yes

 

Program Type

School Vouchers

Individual Tax Credits & Deductions

Program Name

Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine)

Parental Private School Choice Program (Statewide)

Special Needs Scholarship Program

K-12 Private School Tuition Deduction

Year Launched

1990

2011

2013

2016

2014

Participation

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

37,070

Average Funding

$7,943

$7,904

$7,932

$11,719

$4,839

% of Students Eligible

76%1

58%2

27%3

13%4

13%5

Scholarship Organizations

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Schools Participating

130

27

254

97

N/A

 

Milwaukee Parental Choice Program:     Milwaukee families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty guidelines can qualify for vouchers to any in-state participating private school.

Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine): Income-qualified students who attend Racine Unified Public Schools, any private school in kindergarten while entering first grade, or any private school entering ninth grade are eligible.

Parental Private School Choice Program (Statewide): Eligibility depends on income qualification and residence outside of Milwaukee Public School zones and the Racine Unified School District.

Special Needs Scholarship Program: Students with disabilities can receive up to $12,723 annually to attend private schools.

K-12 Private School Tuition Deduction:   There is no income limit, enrollment cap, testing mandates, or requirement for prior year public school attendance. Individual credit caps at $1,000 for K-8 and $10,000 for grades 9-12. This is nonrefundable.

 

1Percent of Milwaukee families with children who meet the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program’s income requirement.

2Percent of Racine families with children who meet the income requirement under the Parental Private School Choice Program.

3Percenmt of Wisconsin families with children who meet the income requirement under the Parental Choice Program (Statewide).

4Percent of Wisconsin K-12 students eligible for the Special Needs Scholarship Program.

5Percent of Wisconsin K-12 students eligible for the K-12 Private School Tuition Deduction.

Reference: The ABCs of School Choice. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

 

 

Private School Choice Findings

This section provides an analysis on Private School Choice from three perspectives: (1) a nationwide perspective, (2) a regional perspective, and (3) a perspective in terms of population decile. The data used in this analysis is referenced from “School Choice in America Dashboard” (2020, February). 

 

National Perspective

Nationwide, nearly 1.4 million students participate in a School Choice program. There are four main Private School Choice programs: tax credit scholarships, school vouchers, Education savings accounts, and individual tax credit and deductions. Out of the fifty U.S. states, thirty states have implemented some type of Private School Choice program, and some states have implemented more than one program within the same program category.

Thirty states have implemented some type of Private School Choice program. Among them, three states have implemented three types of Private School Choices. Florida offers voucher, ESA, and tax-credit scholarship programs. Indiana and Louisiana each offer voucher, tax-credit scholarship, and individual tax credit and deduction programs. Twelve states have implemented two types of Private School Choice programs, and fifteen states have only one type of Private School Choice program.

Among the thirty states with Private School Choice Programs, five states have made five programs available: Arizona, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Louisiana and Ohio each have four programs available. Indiana, Mississippi, and North Carolina each have three programs available. Seven states offer two programs (Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Tennessee), and fourteen states offer only one program.

Vouchers are the most popular type of Private School Choice program. Offered by sixteen states, vouchers comprise 45% of all programs. Tax credit scholarships (37%) are the second most popular program followed by individual tax credit and deductions, which comprise one-tenth of programs. Education savings accounts are the least popular program type; they are offered by five states.

There are no strong correlations between the numbers and types of programs offered in each state. Therefore, conclusions cannot be made about whether or not certain groupings of programs tend to be offered within a state.

Table 1: Nationwide Averages of Participation, Eligibility, and Funding

in Private School Choice Programs

Average Participation

Average Eligibility

Average Funding ($)

Tax-Credit Scholarship

13,004

516,431

3,486

Individual Tax Credit/Deduction

93,774

335,054

2,545

Voucher

8,098

190,527

7,576

Education Savings Account

4,354

173,908

8,887

Despite their lack of popularity among the states, ESAs on average provide more funding than do any of the other programs. Individual tax credit/deductions have the highest average participation among the program types. ESAs have the lowest average participation. However, more students are, on average, eligible for tax-credit scholarships than they are for any other type of program.  

For all programs nationwide, average participation is 21,831. Average eligibility is 326,675. Therefore, on average, about 7% of eligible students participate in a Private School Choice program. Average funding is $5,501 per academic year.

Regional Perspective

Using the Census Bureau’s categorization of each state into one of four regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West), this section adopts a regional perspective of School Choice. At the moment, Massachusetts does not offer any Private School Choice programs. This section focuses on neighboring states that offer Private School Choice programs.

Massachusetts is considered part of the Northeast. The other states within the Northeast are:

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Among the nine Northeastern states (including Massachusetts), the following five states have at least one school choice program: Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Within the Northeast, only two types of Private School Choice Programs are available: vouchers and individual tax credit and deductions. The latter is more popular, and four such programs exist, whereas three voucher programs exist in the region. There are no individual tax credit/deductions or education savings plans.

State

Program Type

Program Name

ME

Voucher

Town Tuitioning Program

NH

Voucher

Town Tuitioning Program

NH

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Education Tax Credit Program

PA

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program

PA

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program

RI

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations

VT

Voucher

Town Tuitioning Program


There are seven Private School Choice Programs in the Northeast. New Hampshire and Pennsylvania each offer two programs. Town tuitioning programs are popular in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire to support students without public school access in their district or hometown.

Average Participation

Average Eligibility

Average Funding ($)

Tax-Credit Scholarship

13,239

278,207

2,492

Individual Tax Credit/Deduction

-

-

-

Voucher

3,006

3,036

12,748

Education Savings Account

-

-

-


Average participation in all programs across the Northeast is 8,853 students. Average eligibility in all programs is 160,276, and average funding in all programs is $6,888. Therefore, the average level of funding per student is 25% higher in the Northeast than it is nationwide.

Population Perspective

This section categorizes each U.S. state as belonging to a population decile (i.e. a group of ten states whose populations are most similar to each other). Comparisons are made among Private School Choice offerings in states whose populations are similar to that of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts currently has an estimated population of 6,892,503. States within the same population quintile as Massachusetts are:

  • Arizona
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Among the states within this population quintile, the following have at least one school choice program: (6 of 10, or 60%)

Table 4: Populations of States with Private School Choice Programs

within MA's Population Decile

State

Population

Arizona

7,378,494

Indiana

6,745,354

Maryland

6,083,116

Tennessee

6,897,576

Virginia

8,626,207

Wisconsin

5,851,754

State

Program Type

Program Name

AZ

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Education Savings Account

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts

Tax-Credit Scholarship

“Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program

IN

Individual Tax Credit/Deduction

Private School/Homeschool Deduction

Voucher

Choice Scholarship Program

Tax-Credit Scholarship

School Scholarship Tax Credit

MD

Voucher

Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program

TN

Education Savings Account

Individualized Education Account Program

Voucher

Education Savings Account Pilot Program

VA

Tax-Credit Scholarship

Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program

WI

Voucher

Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

Voucher

Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine)

Individual Tax Credit/Deduction

K–12 Private School Tuition Deduction

Voucher

Parental Choice Program (Statewide)

Voucher

Special Needs Scholarship Program

 

Half of the states in this population decile offer Private School Choice Programs. Only one state—Indiana—offers three types Private School Choice programs (voucher, tax credit scholarship, and individual tax credit and deduction). 

Among this population decile, the maximum number of Private School Choice Programs exist in Arizona and Wisconsin, each of which offer five programs. Arizona was the first state to pass tax-credit program in 1997. Arizona has grown their programs and created several other tax credit programs mostly to support students from low-income families and special needs. Wisconsin currently has four separate private school voucher programs. The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was launched in 1990 and is considered the nation’s first modern private school choice program.

Voucher has the highest frequency; education savings account and individual tax credit/ deductions are the least popular programs among the states within the same population quantile as Massachusetts.

Average Participation

Average Eligibility

Average Funding ($)

Tax-Credit Scholarship

17,429

564,788

2,167

Individual Tax Credit/Deduction

46,548

137,748

3,322

Voucher

13,815

140,671

7,079

Education Savings Account

3,552

139,530

9,208

Although ESAs were one of the least popular programs with least participation, it has the highest average funding. This is due to the high average funding of the Arizona’s ESA program at $14,179 per participant. This program has a relatively strong funding power, as 90% of the charter or district school per-student base funding amount is deposited in each participant’s ESA. It also has a special-needs funding formula, which gives varying additional funding amounts based on student’s needs.

 

 

References

 

The ABCs of School Choice. EdChoice. (2020, January). [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-ABCs-of-School-Choice-WEB-OPTIMIZED-REVISED.pdf

"School Choice in America Dashboard”, EdChoice, last modified February 4, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.edchoice.org/school-choice/school-choice-in-america/#map-overlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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