America's School Choice Programs Ranked by Purchasing Power, 2016 Edition - EdChoice
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  • Jan 28 2016

America’s School Choice Programs Ranked by Purchasing Power, 2016 Edition

We’ve given our readers an overview of school choice programs across the nation this week with rankings based on eligibility and family participation. But one major question still remains: How well are these programs funded?

The best school choice policies make as many children as possible eligible to participate, but also empower participants to truly afford their chosen educational options. Here, we’ll rank the nation’s educational choice programs by purchasing power based on the data in the 2016 edition of The ABCs of School Choice.

To rank programs by purchasing power, we don’t look at the actual or average dollar amount of funding. Instead, we compare each program’s per-pupil spending to the jurisdiction’s current average per-pupil spending in public schools. For context, we’ve also given the actual dollar amount for each program’s average per-pupil spending.

The top five programs in the list actually have per-pupil spending amounts that are higher than public school per-pupil spending in their jurisdictions. This is because these programs serve primarily or exclusively students with special needs, who tend to receive more educational funding in public schools, as well. We compare the average funding amounts for these programs to the average funding for the entire student body in local public schools. Per-pupil spending averages for public school students with special needs are not available.

1. Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program
Voucher | 181% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $19,789

2. Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
ESA | 172% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $12,417†

3. Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship Program
ESA | 127% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $10,716

4. Wisconsin’s Special Needs Scholarship Program
Voucher | 108% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $12,000

5. South Carolina’s Refundable Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children
Individual Tax Credit | 105% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $10,000‡

6. Vermont’s Town Tuitioning Program
Voucher | 90% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $14,681

7. Ohio’s Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program
Voucher | 87% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $9,794

8. Oklahoma’s Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
Voucher | 86% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $6,632

9. Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program
Voucher | 85% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,188†

10. Maine’s Town Tuitioning Program
Voucher | 85% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $10,339‡

11. Utah’s Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program
Voucher | 82% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,342

12. Mississippi’s Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program
ESA | 80% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $6,500

13. Tennessee’s Individualized Education Account Program
ESA | 76% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $6,200†

14. Arkansas’s Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities
Voucher | 70% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $6,584

15. Alabama’s Education Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 70% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $6,097†

16. Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Program (Statewide)
Voucher | 67% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,388

17. Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Parental Choice Program
Voucher | 67% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,366

18. Wisconsin’s Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine)
Voucher | 66% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,324

19. Arizona’s Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 64% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,648

20. Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 64% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,413†

21. Nevada’s Education Savings Accounts
ESA | 62% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,139†

22. Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program
Voucher | 60% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,918

23. North Carolina’s Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities
Voucher | 60% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,070

24. Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program
Voucher | 59% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,396

25. Louisiana Scholarship Program
Voucher | 56% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,856

26. Colorado’s Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program
Voucher | 53% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,572

27. District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program
Voucher | 49% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $8,712

28. North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarships
Voucher | 48% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,009†

29. Mississippi’s Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program
Voucher | 44% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,556

30. South Carolina’s Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 43% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,078

31. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program
Voucher | 42% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,968

32. Louisiana’s Tuition Donation Rebate Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 40% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,214

33. Ohio’s Educational Choice Scholarship Program
Voucher | 38% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,257

34. Louisiana’s Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction
Individual Tax Deduction | 36% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,060

35. Georgia’s Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 35% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,151

36. Ohio’s Income-Based Scholarship Program
Voucher | 34% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,761

37. Montana’s Tax Credits for Contributions to Student Scholarship Organizations
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 30% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,262

38. Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program
Voucher | 28% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,101

39. Arizona’s Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 26% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,869

40. Arizona’s Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 26% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,853

41. Alabama’s Accountability Act of 2013 Parent-Taxpayer Refundable Tax Credits
Individual Tax Credit | 23% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,037

42. Virginia’s Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 23% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,535

43. Louisiana’s School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities
Voucher | 22% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,264

44. Nevada’s Educational Choice Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 21% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,779

45. Rhode Island’s Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 21% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,024

46. Arizona’s “Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 19% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,339

47. Indiana’s Private School/Homeschool Deduction
Individual Tax Deduction | 19% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,776

48. Pennsylvania’s Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 17% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,312

49. Iowa’s School Tuition Organization Tax Credit
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 16% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,624

50. Kansas’s Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 15% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,485

51. Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 15% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,129

52. Indiana’s School Scholarship Tax Credit
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 14% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,361

53. Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 11% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,587

54. New Hampshire’s Education Tax Credit Program
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 11% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,527

55. Minnesota’s Education Deduction
Individual Tax Deduction | 11% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,168

56. Wisconsin’s K–12 Private School Tuition Deduction
Individual Tax Deduction | 3% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $309

57. Minnesota’s K–12 Education Credit
Individual Tax Credit | 2% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $272

58. Illinois’s Tax Credits for Educational Expenses
Individual Tax Credit | 2% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $271

59. Iowa’s Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit
Individual Tax Credit | 1% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $111

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