African Americans Enroll for Vouchers –

Findings from a new study released Aug. 23 show a significant increase in college enrollment for African Americans who used vouchers as part of a private school choice program in New York.

The experimental study – conducted by researchers at the Brookings Institution and Harvard University – is based on analysis of data from the New York School Choice Scholarship Foundation Program in which three-year scholarships worth up to $1,400 annually were given to 1,000 low-income families in the spring of 1997. Voucher recipients were able to attend any private K-12 school within New York City, and were tracked until fall 2011 – for which the most recent enrollment data is available.

Results show that a voucher offer increased the overall (part-time and full-time) college enrollment rate for African Americans by 20%, and the full-time college enrollment rate by 31%. In addition, there was a 58% increase in enrollment to private, four-year colleges for African Americans.

The American Federation for Children, a national advocacy organization promoting school choice, has shown support of the findings. Federation senior advisor Kevin P. Chavous said the research makes clear the life-changing effect receiving a voucher can have on a child. He said it’s a “moral and economical imperative” that people across the country bring more choice to the communities most in need.

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