Study: Students in Florida Private School Choice Program Up to 99% More Likely to Enroll in 4-Year Colleges, Up to 56% More Likely to Earn Bachelor’s Degrees

A new study from the Urban Institute released today shows better outcomes for students in Florida who attend private K-12 schools thanks to the state’s school choice program. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program serves 100,000 students with an average family income of $24,000 per year, and 68 percent of the students are African American or Hispanic. Notably, according to the most recent comparison, the scholarship funding is only 55 percent of the dollar amount of per-pupil spending in the state of Florida.

The Urban Institute study shows that students attending private schools via the scholarships are up to 99 percent more likely to enroll in four-year colleges and are up to 56 percent more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees compared to their similarly matched public school peers.

Statement from John Schilling, President of the American Federation for Children:

“Results matter in K-12 education and this study confirms once again that students fortunate enough to receive a Florida tax credit scholarship are outperforming their public school peers. The study confirms that when lower-income students are able to access a private school of their parents’ choice, they are far more likely to attend college and get bachelor’s degrees compared to their public school peers. More students and families in Florida and throughout the country should have access to this proven beneficial educational option.”

Summary of findings (compared to public school peers)

Grades 8-10:

– Students who began using the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship to attend private K-12 schools in grades 8-10 were 19% more likely to enroll in any college, and 43% more likely to enroll in a four-year college. These students were 20% more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees.

– If these students used the scholarship to attend private schools for four years or more, they were 99% more likely to enroll in four-year colleges and 45% more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees.

Grades 3-7:

– Students who began using the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship to attend private K-12 schools in grades 3-7 were 12% more likely to enroll in any college, and 16% more likely to enroll in a four-year college. These students were also 11% more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees.

– If these students used the scholarship to attend private schools for 7 years or more, they were 45% more likely to enroll in four-year colleges and 56% more likely to earn bachelor’s degrees.

The new findings expand on the 2017 work by the Urban Institute on the Florida school choice program. The new study includes data from private colleges and from non-Florida colleges, whereas the previous study only included data from public colleges in Florida.