Survey Finds Colorado Private School Supply Primed for School Choice Families

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 15, 2015) – New data show Colorado’s private schools have an estimated 9,000 open seats, are open to school choice programs, and, for the most part, have lower per-student tuition costs than the public per-pupil allocation, according to a new report released by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

Andrew D. Catt’s Exploring Colorado’s Private Education Sector is the fourth installment in the foundation’s School Survey Series, and school choice advocates in the state feel this data further reinforces the need for the legislature to expand educational opportunities to Colorado students.

“It’s likely Colorado parents will be pleased to know private schools that could meet the educational needs of their children better than their assigned public school have space for—and want—their children to attend their school,” said Brittany Corona, state programs and government relations director for the Friedman Foundation. “This report sends a clear message to policymakers: It’s time to expand school choice in Colorado.”

The report’s key findings include:

  • 9,000 open seats available in respondent private schools (15,000 open seats is a projected estimate for all private schools in the state).
  • 63 percent of private schools would consider participating in an education savings account (ESA) program. That is compared to 71 percent for a tax-credit scholarship program and 66 percent for a school voucher program similar to the one in Douglas County.
  • Half of private schools charge about $5,000 or less for elementary and middle school grades and $7,600 for high school grades. (In 2012–13, Colorado public schools spent approximately $8,650 per student).
  • 73 percent of respondent schools enroll at least one student with special needs.
  • 50 percent of respondent schools provide an average of $2,000 in tuition assistance per student.
  • 84 percent of respondent schools require their students to take a nationally norm-referenced test or the state assessment to measure academic performance.
  • 55 percent of respondent schools reported high or very high concern with rules and regulations relating to testing and accountability.
  • 71 percent of respondent schools reported high or very high concern with rules and regulations relating to curriculum and instruction.

The state is likely to consider school choice proposals for tax-credit scholarships and ESAs next legislative session. The legislature considered a proposal in March of 2015 for an ESA program called Colorado Flex Accounts, which would allow parents to fully tailor their children’s education to their individual needs. Parents could have used their share of per-pupil state funds toward a variety of pre-approved educational tools and services, including private school tuition, homeschool curriculum, tutors, specialists, therapists, and more.

“With a viable school choice program, private school and other learning approaches would become a reality for thousands of Colorado families,” said Robert C. Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation. “School choice programs make it possible for these families to consider a school other than the one assigned to them based on their home address.”

For the full report, please visit



About the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the Foundation promotes school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The Friedman Foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to school choice.


More information contact:

Susan L. Meyers
National Media Relations Director
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice   404-518-2271 (cell)