School Vouchers: Characteristics of Privately Funded Programs

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Privately funded voucher programs are a new development in the nation's experiment with school vouchers. These programs, started in the early 1990s, provide low-income families with private, nongovernmental tuition assistance at private schools for kindergarten through grade 12. Although private schools have long offered various forms of financial assistance, many of these privately funded voucher programs are different from traditional scholarship efforts in two key respects: they are open to any applicant solely on the basis of family income level, and recipients are free to decide ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 10, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Privately funded voucher programs are a new development in the nation's experiment with school vouchers. These programs, started in the early 1990s, provide low-income families with private, nongovernmental tuition assistance at private schools for kindergarten through grade 12. Although private schools have long offered various forms of financial assistance, many of these privately funded voucher programs are different from traditional scholarship efforts in two key respects: they are open to any applicant solely on the basis of family income level, and recipients are free to decide which schools their children should attend. The 78 privately funded voucher programs GAO reviewed shared numerous characteristics and faced common challenges, but the programs varied widely in the dollar amount of the vouchers awarded and the number of students receiving them. The average voucher amount in school year 2001-2002 ranged widely among programs, from $600 to $2,000 per student, and program size ranged from as few as four students to over 3,000 students. Beyond the information needed to determine eligibility and conduct financial oversight, most programs reported collecting little data about participating students, their families, or the schools they attended. Program officials said that voucher programs face two major challenges--sustaining programs for the long term and retaining students in the programs. Some programs have begun developing ways to address these challenges. Rigorous evaluations of privately funded voucher programs in New York, Dayton, and Washington, D.C., provided some evidence that African Americans students who used vouchers to attend private schools showed greater improvements in math and reading than students in the comparison group and have also found that the parents of voucher users of all racial and ethnic groups were consistently more satisfied with their children's education than parents of comparison group students."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 10, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. School Vouchers: Characteristics of Privately Funded Programs, report, September 10, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291795/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.