School Vouchers Boost College Enrollment for Black Students, Study Says

A Brookings Institute study shows that voucher programs that help students attend costly private and religious schools can payoff big for Black students.

Posted: 08/27/2012 01:20 PM EDT
School vouchers boost college enrollment for Black students, study says

A new study from the Brookings Institute throws some weight behind school voucher programs and what kind of educational results they may yield for African-American students. The study examined the college-going behavior of a group of New York students who participated in a voucher experiment as elementary school students in the late 1990s. CNN reports:

“The Brookings study was based on data collected on students who were recipients of vouchers from the privately funded New York School Choice Scholarships Foundation program. In 1997, the foundation offered three-year scholarships of up to $1,400 per year to 1,000 low-income families whose children were either entering first grade or were already in public schools in second through fifth grades. The Brookings study claims to be the first that used “a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment.” It also claims to be one of only a few studies to track longer-term outcomes, years after students received their first vouchers.

Overall, the study found no effect on college enrollment, except among African-Americans, where there was significant impact.

“Our estimates indicate that using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African-Americans by 24%,” say Matthew M. Chingos and Paul E. Peterson, the study’s authors.”

In addition to the higher rates of college enrollment among Black students overall, the study also found that among Black voucher students, the number enrolled in “selective colleges” more than doubled.

Read the full story here.


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