RELEASE: Groundbreaking New School Choice Research

Groundbreaking Research on the Nation’s Largest Private School Choice Program Shows Scholarship Recipients Have Better Long-Term Outcomes

Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) increased college enrollment for recipients by 15 percent on average compared to public school peers; and up to a 43 percent increase if students are in private schools via the FTC for more than four years

Today, Dr. Matt Chingos of the Urban Institute released a new study that shows very favorable long-term outcomes for students who enroll in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program – the largest private school choice program in the country.

The results are clear: the Florida program significantly increases college matriculation, especially when students were enrolled in the FTC program for a longer period of time.

– On average, the FTC increases college enrollment by 15 percent compared to public school students who did not receive a scholarship.

  • If a student stays in a private school via the FTC for two years, college enrollment increases by 9-14 percent compared to public school students.
  • If a student stays in a private school via the FTC for three years, college enrollment increases by 19-25 percent compared to public school students.
  • If a student stays in a private school via the FTC for four years or more, college enrollment increases by 37-43 percent compared to public school students.

– Also, if students received a scholarship from the FTC in grades 3-7, and stayed in the program for four years or more, they saw modest improvements in associate degree attainment rates.

See the full report here: http://bit.ly/2y7wDW4

Statement from Greg Brock, Executive Director for the American Federation for Children:

“We are incredibly pleased to see the results of this study by Dr. Matt Chingos of the Urban Institute, as it confirms what we have known to be true for years: private school choice programs provide families, especially disadvantaged families, greater opportunities to achieve academic success. And given that the Florida program serves students that have average family incomes of $25,000 per year, with 68 percent of the 100,000 enrolled students being Black or Hispanic, it shows that private school choice programs can close the academic achievement gap for minorities and low-income families. We hope policymakers, philanthropists, and practitioners of educational choice programs will look to these results as confirmation of the success of America’s largest private school choice program and as encouragement to expand K-12 options for families across the country.”

Facts on Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program: 

  • The program started in 2001 and 102,000 students are currently enrolled – the largest private school choice program in the country.
  • 68 percent of the students are Black or Hispanic, the average family income for students in the program is $25,000, and research shows they were some of the worst-performing students at their previous public school.
  • All reports show the program saves the state money. The most definitive study, by the nonpartisan Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, found in 2008 that the state saves $1.49 for every $1 lost in revenue. The Florida Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference projected that the scholarship saved the state $57.9 million in 2012-13.
  • Research also shows that the program helps academic performance of the public schools.