Funding Education Opportunity: Estimating costs for universal school choice, new choice programs, and more

In Politics by Michael Rae

The argument that private school choice programs save taxpayer money has been compelling and straightforward for decades. Most private school vouchers, tax credit scholarships, and education savings account (ESA) programs have had income-based or other eligibility limits that ensured most school choice program participants—usually between 85 and 90 percent—were previously public school students.

This high “switcher” rate—the share of school choice program participants who were previously enrolled or would have enrolled in public schools—saves taxpayer money because choice scholarships are cheaper than public schools. That’s why proponents have been able to argue that both participating families and taxpayers benefit from private