Enrollment Characteristics for Private School Choice Programs

We’re often asked about the family incomes of children attending private schools thanks to choice programs like tax-credit scholarships, vouchers, or Education Savings Accounts at the state level. And opponents to these programs like to spread disinformation and say that wealthy children are the only ones who can use them.

Here are the facts: 70% of the children in private school choice programs are in means-tested programs (365,450 of the 518,809 students). The remainder are in programs with different eligibility requirements like special needs, “failing schools” assignment (a proxy for lower-income families), or bullying. Only 14% of students (73,196) are in two programs that aren’t means-tested in Georgia and Arizona.

And where data is available, we see that these participating students are mostly children of color. 


Florida Tax Credit Scholarship

99,453 students

Minority enrollment: 68%

Single-parent household: 54%

Average household income: $25,749 


Indiana Choice Program

36,290 students

Minority enrollment: 41%

Qualify for Free and Reduced Priced Lunch: 69.5%

<$25,000 household income: 17.9%

<$50,000 household income: 49.5%

<$75,000 household income: 78.1%

<$100,000 household income: 94.37%


North Carolina Opportunity Scholarship Program

12,183 students

Minority enrollment: 52.5%


Iowa School Tuition Organization Tax Credit:

10,791 students

Average household income: $43,897

<$20,000 household income: 17.3%

<40,000 household income: 45.2%

<$60,000 household income: 71.7%

<$80,000 household income: 92.7%


Louisiana Scholarship Program

7,362 students

Minority enrollment: 88%

Parental Satisfaction: 93.3%


Illinois Invest in Kids Act:

7,178 students

Minority enrollment: 56.7%

Average household income: $35,516


Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program: 

1,645 students

Minority enrollment: 91%

Average household income: $23,285

Parental satisfaction: 97%