Exploring Colorado’s Private Education Sector
By Drew Catt
Exploring Colorado’s Private Education Sector is the fourth entry in our School Survey Series. Among other data, this report examines whether private schools in the state would participate in private school choice programs and what concerns those schools have about potential rules and regulations. In light of Colorado’s court battles over the Douglas County voucher program and recent proposals for a statewide education savings account (ESA) program, this report shows that the state’s private schools are ready to accommodate new school choice programs.
In this report, you will learn:
Private School CapacityWith a projected 15,000 private school seats available across grade levels in Colorado, the state is ripe for a new private school choice program. This report estimates the number of open seats currently available by grade level at the 163 respondent schools.
Private School Tuition Costs and AssistanceTuition at Colorado private schools varies widely, but half or more of private school families pay $7,575 or less in per student tuition. The majority of the schools offer some sort of tuition assistance, with many offering $2,000 or more per student.
Interest in Private School Choice ProgramsThe majority of respondent schools would be likely to participate in private school choice programs. Approximately two-thirds of responding schools would participate in each type of school choice program. Tax-credit scholarships, education savings accounts (ESAs), and vouchers were all options for Colorado private schools.
Standardized Testing in Private SchoolsWe estimate more than four out of five Colorado private schools administer nationally norm-referenced tests to their students annually. Some schools test most grade levels, and nearly one-third test all grade levels. Only ten respondent schools use Colorado’s criterion-referenced test, and seven of those also administer at least one nationally norm-referenced test.