Vouchers Do Not Adequately Serve Low-Income Students

Private school vouchers do not adequately serve low-income students because the cost of tuition and fees at schools that accept vouchers generally exceeds the amount of the voucher, making voucher schools unaffordable for most low-income families.

A 2016 Government Accountability Office report found that 13 out of 22 voucher programs it surveyed did not place a cap on private school tuition, allowing private schools to charge more than the voucher award. Thus, only families with the money to cover the cost of the rest of the tuition, and additional expenditures such as uniforms, transportation, books, and other supplies can use the vouchers. In the end, the families most likely to use a voucher are the ones who could already afford to send their kids to private schools. And for many low-income students, traveling outside their county or district to attend school every day – especially in rural areas – is not feasible. In Cleveland, for example, the majority of families who were granted a voucher but did not use it cited the additional costs as the reason they could not use the voucher.