Private Schools, Public Money

Taxpayers are on the hook for an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies to fund private school education.
April 17, 2024
Facebook LogoTwitter Icon
Black LinkedIn Icon
hand putting penny into a private school uniform

Did you know your taxpayer dollars could be going towards funding private school education?

Currently, 32 states provide an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies to fund private school education through tuition vouchers, education savings accounts, and tax-credit scholarships.

Many proponents of these subsidy programs promoted them on the grounds that they would provide access to better education for low-income students in under-performing public school districts.

The early data suggest that the students of many families accessing these subsidies have never attended public school before, thus, not exactly low-income students, per FutureEd:

  • 74% of students in the 10-year-old Wisconsin Parent Choice Program in 2022-23 had never attended public school before
  • 73% percent of students in New Hampshire’s two-year-old Education Freedom Account had never attended public school before
  • 90% (39,964 of the 44,376) of students in Indiana’s 2021-22 choice scholarship program had not spent more than two semesters in public school

The taxpayer bill is expected to increase as many private schools are taking advantage of the loose rules and regulations surrounding subsidies, perProPublica. For example, some private schools encourage parents to apply for taxpayer-funded vouchers, regardless of need, since the more voucher money families receive, the less schools have to offer in financial aid. The surge in voucher applications is nearing the total enrollment for all private schools in some states.

Read next