NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

New Study Links Vouchers with College Degrees

January 12, 2015

Do vouchers have any impact on students' success at the higher education level? Matthew Chingos of the Brookings Institution and Paul Peterson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, say they may: in a new study, they analyze voucher recipients in New York City, finding a positive impact on graduation rates for low-income, minority students.

Vouchers are a form of school choice that provide tuition funds to students in public school districts so that they can instead attend a school of their choosing. Most studies of vouchers have looked at their impact on test performance, but Chingos and Peterson take a longer-term look: do they impact success in college? After analyzing elementary school voucher recipients from 1,000 families in New York City in 1997, they found:

  • Minority students receiving the vouchers were 10 percent more likely to enroll in college than were minority students in traditional public schools.
  • Minorities receiving vouchers were 35 percent more likely to obtain a bachelor's degree.

Chingos and Peterson say theirs is the first study that indicates vouchers may have a long-term impact on graduation rates.

Source: Matthew M. Chingos and Paul E. Peterson, "School Vouchers Help Low-Income Minority Students Earn a College Degree," Education Next, January 7, 2015.


Browse more articles on Education Issues