America’s School Choice Programs Ranked by Purchasing Power, 2021 Edition - EdChoice

America’s School Choice Programs Ranked by Purchasing Power, 2021 Edition

How well are America’s private school choice programs funded? In this post, we rank the nation’s educational choice programs by purchasing power based on data in the 2021 edition of The ABCs of School Choice.

To rank programs by purchasing power, we compare each program’s most recent per-pupil spending to the state’s (plus D.C.’s and Puerto Rico’s) average per-pupil spending in public schools. For context, we’ve also given the actual dollar amount each program’s students receive, on average.

While many of the programs’ rankings have remained largely intact, avid readers of EdChoice may notice a difference in purchasing power percentages as compared to last year. Previously, we calculated these percentages based on states’ current expenditures as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics. This year, we shifted our methods to compare school choice programs’ funding with states’ total expenditures per pupil, which includes all the same variables as current expenditures (think of things like teachers’ salaries, supplies and benefits) plus lots of other items it takes to run a school such as building expenses, capital and debt payments.

There are multiple reasons for this change. For one, private schools like public schools also have to spend money on things other than salaries and supplies in order to educate their students. Additionally, state legislators and policy activists interested in school choice programs are often interested in the total costs or savings of these programs, especially when compared to the alternative of not passing them.

Lastly, this change aligns with the methods and reporting of EdChoice’s forthcoming Fiscal Research and Education Center (FREC), a new project spearheaded by EdChoice Director of Fiscal Policy and Analysis (as well as one of the country’s foremost authors of private school choice fiscal analyses) Marty Lueken. More details about the center to be announced.

Note that the top two programs in this list have per-pupil spending amounts that are higher than public school per-pupil spending in their jurisdictions. This is because they serve primarily or exclusively students with special needs, who tend to receive more educational funding in public schools as well. While choice students with special needs often receive a significant amount of purchasing power as compared to the average student in the state, we have not found a single choice program whose average funding amount eclipses the funding received by a similar category of students with special needs in a given state. If you’d like to see more program data or data updated after this post, please make sure to visit our School Choice in America Dashboard.

Without further ado, here are your 2021 school choice program rankings by purchasing power.

 

1. Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program (1)
Voucher | 162% of average per-pupil spending in Ohio public schools | $23,844

2. Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (2)
ESA | 103% of average per-pupil spending in Arizona public schools | $10,284

3. Florida’s Gardiner Scholarship Program (3)
ESA | 96% of average per-pupil spending in Florida public schools | $10,515

4. North Carolina’s Personal Education Savings Accounts (5)
ESA | 88% of average per-pupil spending in North Carolina public schools | $8,929

5. Wisconsin’s Special Needs Scholarship Program (4)
Voucher | 82% of average per-pupil spending in Wisconsin public schools | $12,049

6. New Hampshire’s Town Tuitioning Program (6)
Voucher | 79% of average per-pupil spending in New Hampshire public schools | $14,000

7. Oklahoma’s Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities (7)
Voucher | 75% of average per-pupil spending in Oklahoma public schools | $7,056

8. Maine’s Town Tuitioning Program (11)
Voucher | 75% of average per-pupil spending in Maine public schools | $11,271

9. Vermont’s Town Tuitioning Program (14)
Voucher | 73% of average per-pupil spending in Vermont public schools | $15,546

10. Ohio’s Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program (8)
Voucher | 72% of average per-pupil spending in Ohio public schools |$10,499

11. Florida’s John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program (15)
Voucher | 71% of average per-pupil spending in Florida public schools | $7,754

12. Florida’s Hope Scholarship Program (13)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 66% of average per-pupil spending in Florida public schools | $7,169

13. Tennessee’s Individualized Education Account Program (25)
ESA | 65% of average per-pupil spending in Tennessee public schools | $7,068

14. North Carolina’s Special Education Scholarship Grants for Children with Disabilities (12)
Voucher | 63% of average per-pupil spending in North Carolina public schools | $6,362

15. Alabama’s Education Scholarship Program (22)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 62% of average per-pupil spending in Alabama public schools | $6,813

16. Utah’s Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program (9)
Voucher | 60% of average per-pupil spending in Utah public schools | $5,632

17. Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program (19)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 58% of average per-pupil spending in Florida public schools | $6,346

18. Mississippi’s Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Program (10)
ESA | 58% of average per-pupil spending in Mississippi public schools | $5,606

19. Wisconsin’s Statewide Parental Choice Program (17)
Voucher | 57% of average per-pupil spending in Wisconsin public schools | $8,450

20. Wisconsin’s Racine Parental Choice Program (18)
Voucher | 57% of average per-pupil spending in Wisconsin public schools | $8,448

21. Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (16)
Voucher | 57% of average per-pupil spending in Wisconsin public schools | $8,423

22. Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program (21)
Voucher | 56% of average per-pupil spending in Georgia public schools | $6,814

23. Florida’s Family Empowerment Scholarships (NR)
Voucher | 55% of average per-pupil spending in Florida public schools | $5,955

24. Mississippi Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship for Students with Dyslexia Program (27)
Voucher | 54% of average per-pupil spending in Florida public schools | $5,236

25. Arkansas’s Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities (28)
Voucher | 54% of average per-pupil spending in Florida public schools | $6,325

26. Arizona’s Lexie’s Law Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program (24)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 53% of average per-pupil spending in Arizona public schools | $5,304

27. Louisiana Scholarship Program (29)
Voucher | 50% of average per-pupil spending in Louisiana public schools | $6,325

28. Nevada’s Educational Choice Scholarship Program (20)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 49% of average per-pupil spending in Nevada public schools | $5,370

29. South Carolina’s Refundable Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children (26)
Individual Tax Credit | 48% of average per-pupil spending in South Carolina public schools | $6,211

30. South Carolina’s Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children (30)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 43% of average per-pupil spending in South Carolina public schools | $4,973

31. Louisiana’s Elementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction (31)
Individual Tax Credit | 43% of average per-pupil spending in Louisiana public schools | $5,481

32. Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program (34)
Voucher | 41% of average per-pupil spending in Indiana public schools | $4,707

33. Illinois’s Invest in Kids Program (32)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 40% of average per-pupil spending in Illinois public schools | $7,132

34. North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarships (35)
Voucher | 40% of average per-pupil spending in North Carolina public schools | $4,062

35. Georgia’s Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit (36)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 38% of average per-pupil spending in Georgia public schools | $4,560

36. Puerto Rico’s Free School Selection Program (42)
Voucher | 37% of average per-pupil spending in Puerto Rico public schools | $2,276

37. Mississippi’s Nate Rogers Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program (23)
Voucher | 35% of average per-pupil spending in Mississippi public schools | $3,408

38. Ohio’s Cleveland Scholarship Program (38)
Voucher | 34% of average per-pupil spending in Ohio public schools | $5,025

39. Ohio’s Educational Choice Scholarship Program (39)
Voucher | 34% of average per-pupil spending in Ohio public schools | $4,925

40. District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program (33)
Voucher | 34% of average per-pupil spending in D.C. public schools | $10,095

41. Wisconsin’s K–12 Private School Tuition Deduction (40)
Individual Tax Deduction | 33% of average per-pupil spending in Wisconsin public schools | $4,912

42. Alabama Accountability Act of 2013 Parent-Taxpayer Refundable Tax Credits (45)
Individual Tax Credit | 30% of average per-pupil spending in Alabama public schools | $3,279

43. Ohio’s Income-Based Scholarship Program (43)
Voucher | 28% of average per-pupil spending in Ohio public schools | $4,158

44. Louisiana’s Tuition Donation Credit Program (41)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 24% of average per-pupil spending in Louisiana public schools | $3,074

45. Arizona’s Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program (44)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 24% of average per-pupil spending in Arizona public schools | $2,354

46. Kansas’s Low-Income Students Scholarship Program (37)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 24% of average per-pupil spending in Kansas public schools | $3,157

47. Virginia Educational Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (46)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 23% of average per-pupil spending in Virginia public schools | $3,065

48. Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarships (47)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 22% of average per-pupil spending in Oklahoma public schools | $2,017

49. Louisiana’s School Choice Program for Certain Students with Exceptionalities (51)
Voucher | 20% of average per-pupil spending in Louisiana public schools | $2,491

50. Indiana’s School Scholarship Tax Credit (50)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 19% of average per-pupil spending in Indiana public schools | $2,145

51. Arizona’s Original Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program (48)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 17% of average per-pupil spending in Arizona public schools | $1,739

52. South Dakota’s Partners in Education Tax Credit Program (60)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 16% of average per-pupil spending in South Dakota public schools | $1,927

53. Indiana’s Private School/Homeschool Deduction (52)
Individual Tax Deduction | 16% of average per-pupil spending in Indiana public schools | $1,811

54. New Hampshire’s Education Tax Credit Program (56)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 16% of average per-pupil spending in New Hampshire public schools | $2,882

55. Maryland’s Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Program (57)
Voucher | 15% of average per-pupil spending in Maryland public schools | $2,507

56. Arizona’s “Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program (53)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 14% of average per-pupil spending in Arizona public schools | $1,396

57. Pennsylvania’s Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (54)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 14% of average per-pupil spending in Pennsylvania public schools | $2,499

58. Rhode Island’s Tax Credits for Contributions to Scholarship Organizations (49)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 13% of average per-pupil spending in Rhode Island public schools | $2,444

59. Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (58)
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 11% of average per-pupil spending in Pennsylvania public schools | $1,990

60. Iowa’s School Tuition Organization Tax Credit
Tax-Credit Scholarship | 10% of average per-pupil spending in Iowa public schools | $1,404

61. Minnesota’s Education Deduction (59)
Individual Tax Deduction | 7% of average per-pupil spending in Minnesota public schools | $1,184

62. Minnesota’s K–12 Education Credit (62)
Individual Tax Credit | 2% of average per-pupil spending in Minnesota public schools | $250

63. Illinois’s Tax Credits for Educational Expenses (61)
Individual Tax Credit | 1% of average per-pupil spending in Illinois public schools | $244

64. Iowa’s Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit (63)
Individual Tax Credit | 1% of average per-pupil spending in Iowa public schools | $133

Not ranked:
Montana Tax Credits for Contributions to Student Scholarship Organizations
Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program

Receive Educational Choice Updates Straight to Your Inbox.

Email Newsletter Signup

Follow Our Progress.

Receive Educational Choice Updates Straight to Your Inbox.

Email Newsletter Signup Engage

Privacy Policy