Study: School Choice Vouchers Help Minority Students and Those Born in U.S.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

A new study published in the Journal of Public Economics and discussed in a press release at the Harvard Kennedy School provides the first observed estimates on the long-term impact of school voucher programs that allow parents to choose the education setting of their children. Vouchers were found to be particularly beneficial to low-income, minority students.

The study’s authors discovered that minority students who received a school voucher enabling them to attend a private elementary school in 1997, were, later on in 2013, found to be 10 percent more likely to enroll in college and 35 percent more likely than their peers in public school to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, the study found that vouchers had a significant effect on the chance that students born in the United States would attend college and receive a bachelor’s degree. The students born in the U.S. and who received vouchers were 18 percent more likely to enroll in college and 61 percent more likely to graduate from college. No similar significant effects of school vouchers, however, were observed for students not born in the U.S.

This week the country celebrates “National School Choice Week,” when the concept of educational choice is expressed as the ability of all families to decide on the best education prospects for their children, regardless of whether the venue is in a private, parochial, public, or other setting.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, a longstanding supporter of school choice, will give the keynote address at the Washington, D.C. National School Choice Week celebration on Wednesday, an event that will feature more than 250 students, parents, and advocates of school choice.


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