America's School Choice Programs Ranked by Purchasing Power
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  • Jan 29 2015

America’s School Choice Programs Ranked By Purchasing Power

We’ve helped our readers see how many families are eligible for school choice programs across the country and those who actually participate. Until now, the question still remained: Which programs realistically give families the financial ability to choose something other than their zoned public school?

Read on for the final installment in our series of rankings for the 2015 release of The ABCs of School Choice: purchasing power.

For these rankings, we determined each program’s average per-pupil funding value as a percentage of the jurisdiction’s current per-pupil spending in public schools. We’ve also included the average amount of money participants receive for each program, according to most recent data, to provide some context. It’s also important to note that 13 of these programs serve only students with special needs, who tend to receive more educational funding. All other programs are inclusive of students with special needs, but are open to students of all learning levels.

Of the top 10 programs below, eight are solely for children with special needs. Notably, the percentages of their average school choice funding appears very high—but that is because it is being compared with the average funding for the entire student body in public schools. Unfortunately, per-pupil spending averages for public school students with special needs is not available.

1. Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
ESA | 184% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $13,907
-the nation’s first and largest education savings account program

2. Ohio Autism Scholarship Program
Voucher | 171% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $19,103

3. Florida Personal Learning Scholarship Account Program
ESA | 121% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $10,119

4.
Oklahoma Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities
Voucher | 101% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,514

5.
South Carolina Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children
Tax-credit scholarship | 95% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $8,730

6. Vermont Town Tuitioning Program
Voucher | 92% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $14,681

7.
Florida John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program
Voucher | 83% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $6,979

8. Kansas Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarships**
Tax-credit scholarship | 82% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $8,000

9. Utah Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program

Voucher | 76% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,733

10. Ohio Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program

Voucher | 76% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $8,543

11. Wisconsin Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine)

Voucher | 72% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,533

12. Maine Town Tuitioning Program

Voucher | 71% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $8,688

13. Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (Statewide)

Voucher | 68% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,533

14. Mississippi Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program
Voucher | 63% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,155

15.
Colorado Douglas County Choice Scholarship Pilot Program*
Voucher | 62% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,572

16. Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 60% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,999

17. Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program
Voucher | 58% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,386

18. Wisconsin Milwaukee Parental Choice Program
Voucher | 58% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $7,533

19.
Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program
Voucher | 58% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,701

20. D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program
Voucher | 58% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $8,712

21. Louisiana Scholarship Program
Voucher | 49% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $5,546

22.
Arizona Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 44% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,360

23. Indiana Choice Scholarship Program
Voucher | 41% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,986
-the nation’s largest voucher program

24. Georgia Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit
Tax-credit scholarship | 38% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,515

25. Ohio Income-Based Scholarship Program
Voucher | 38% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,250

26. Ohio Educational Choice Scholarship Program
Voucher | 37% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,105

27. North Carolina Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities
Voucher | 34% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,760

28.
Louisiana Tuition Donation Rebate Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 33% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $3,726

29.
Alabama Education Scholarship Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 32% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,699

30. Ohio Cleveland Scholarship Program
Voucher | 30% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $4,112

31. Arizona Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 25% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,927

32. North Carolina Opportunity Scholarships
Voucher | 25% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,016

33.
Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 Parent/Taxpayer Refundable Tax Credits
Tax credit/rebate | 23% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,005

34. Virginia Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 23% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,413

35. Arizona Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 20% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,524

36.
Louisiana School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities
Voucher | 19% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,213

37.
Rhode Island Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations
Tax-credit scholarship | 18% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,519

38. Pennsylvania Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 17% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $2,312

39. Arizona “Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 14% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,089

40. Iowa School Tuition Organization Tax Credit
Tax-credit scholarship | 12% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,209

41. Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 12% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,587

42. Indiana School Scholarship Tax Credit
Tax-credit scholarship | 11% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,064

43. New Hampshire Education Tax Credit Program
Tax-credit scholarship | 10% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $1,316

44. Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships
Tax-credit scholarship| 8% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $566

45. Wisconsin K-12 Private School Tuition Deduction
Tax credit/deduction | 5% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $536

46. Minnesota K-12 Education Credit
Tax credit/deduction | 3% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $276

47. Illinois Tax Credits for Educational Expenses
Tax credit/deduction | 2% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $274
-the nation’s largest individual tax credit program for educational expenses

48. Louisiana Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction
Tax credit/deduction | 1% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $162

49. Iowa Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit
Tax credit/deduction | 1% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $111

50. Minnesota Education Deduction
Tax credit/deduction | 0.8% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $83

51. Indiana Private School/Homeschool Deduction
Tax credit/deduction | 0.6% of average per-pupil spending in public schools | $60

*Program is not currently operating.
**Program is not yet launched.

For a closer look at each program’s funding and purchasing power for families, visit edchoice.org/ABCs.

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