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Heritage Foundation: Lower tuition inflation in states with school choice

Study focuses on private-school tuition increases by state in the last decade.

School classroom. Credit: Pixabay.
School classroom. Credit: Pixabay.

Public-school advocates often claim that school choice inflates tuition costs by infusing many more students into the private-school system. New research from the Heritage Foundation indicates otherwise.

“On average, choice policies save money for parents whose children are already enrolled in private elementary school and impose no cost on parents whose children are already enrolled in private high school,” wrote Jason Bedrick, Jay Greene and Lindsey Burke.

The study focused on private-school tuition increases by state over the last decade, during which the authors found that tuition went up by 28% in states without school choice, while it rose by only about half that—15%—in states where parents have the option to use state funding to send their children to private schools.

Further, elementary-school tuition was lower in states with school choice than in those without, the authors found.

The authors compare school choice to student loans for college, the latter of which they said contributes to siding higher education costs.

“School-choice policies are not being introduced into a free-market education system,” they wrote. “Instead, nearly nine of 10 K-12 students attend schools that are entirely subsidized and run by the government.”

In that context, they wrote, conventional libertarian-conservative objections to subsidies impacting a “free market” don’t apply.

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