Education News & Notes

Study Shows School Vouchers Actually Save Money


(NAPSI)—There could be good news for taxpayers—especially those who are also parents of school-age kids. Since the creation of the first school voucher program in 1990, 42 analyses have examined the fiscal affect of school choice on taxpayers. While public officials often fear the fiscal effects of these programs on district schools, concerned that because of high fixed costs, school choice programs cause harm, the researchers found school choice programs actually save money or are at least revenue neutral. None have had a negative fiscal impact.

How It Works

In all the programs studied, voucher students leave the federal and local education dollars allocated for them behind in their public schools. For example, if a school district spends $10,000 per student and the student leaves with a $4,050 voucher, the district keeps the remaining $5,500. Any leftover state funds go back to the state, rather than the district, and can be reinvested in public schools. The district gets to keep the portion of the federal funds it gets that are not based on enrollment. As a result, the public schools are left with fewer students to teach and more money per pupil to do it.

Communities can also use the money saved to invest in other priorities, such as law enforcement or healthcare or lower taxes.

Therefore, by taking their educational needs to private schools, voucher students removed an estimated cost burden of $8.5 billion from public schools.

A Primer On The Programs

Voucher systems vary from place to place. Here’s a look at some of the more common ones.

1. Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) let parents withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and get public funds in government-authorized savings accounts. These funds can cover private school, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, higher education expenses, and other approved services and materials.

2. School vouchers let parents choose a private school for their children, using all or part of the public funding set aside for their children’s education. Funds typically expended by a school district are allocated to the family.

3. Tax Credit Scholarships allow students to receive private school scholarships through nonprofit scholarship-granting organizations, whose donors receive tax credits for their charitable contributions.

4. Individual tax credits and deductions let parents get state income tax relief for approved educational expenses.

The overarching study was conducted by Martin Leuken, Ph.D., Director of Fiscal Policy and Analysis at EdChoice, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing full and unencumbered educational choice as the best pathway to successful lives and a stronger society.

Learn More

To see individual voucher program breakdowns, download the full report at www.EDCHOICE.ORG/VoucherFiscalEffects. For more about the studies, e-mail For further facts, go to