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Does School Choice Affect Private School Tuition?

By Jason Bedrick, Jay Greene, Ph.D. and Lindsey Burke, Ph.D.


Data analysis from the past decade reveals that tuition inflation was lower in states that adopted school choice policies (about 15 percent, on average) than in states without school choice (about 28 percent, on average). Moreover, among states that adopted school choice, inflation-adjusted tuition rates decreased after adoption of school choice. Contrary to the claims made by critics, states that adopted school choice had lower private-elementary-school tuition increases, and no discernable change in private-high-school tuition rates.

Key Takeaways

  1. Critics contend that school choice will inflate private school tuition similar to how student loans and grants have led to increases in the cost of higher education.

  2. Analysis of 10 years of private school tuition finds that states with school choice policies have lower rates of tuition increases than states without such policies.

  3. Statistical analysis of all states shows that school choice reduces elementary school tuition and has no significant effect on tuition inflation overall.


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