NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

School Vouchers Could Allow Equal Access to Private Schools

October 2, 2003

Contrary to the claim of critics who indicate that offering school vouchers as an alternative to public education is unworkable, a recent study by the Cato Institute shows that a $5,000 voucher or tax credit would give students access to most private schools.

The study found:

  • The majority of private elementary schools charged $5,000 or less per student per year.
  • There were private secondary schools whose annual tuition was less than $5,000, although these were not in the majority.
  • Some 45 of 62 private elementary schools in Washington, D.C., charge less per student per year than the District of Columbia Public Schools spends per student.

The study shows that a well-crafted voucher program would meet or exceed the costs of the average private school.

Source: David F. Salisbury, "What Does a Voucher Buy? A Closer Look at the Cost of Private Schools" Policy Analysis No. 486, August 2003, Cato Institute.

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