Tax-credit scholarship (TCS) policies create an incentive for taxpayers to contribute to nonprofit scholarship organizations that aid families with tuition and, in some states, other K–12 educational expenses. This paper explores the central design features of TCS policies—such as eligibility, the tax credit value, credit caps, and academic accountability provisions—and outlines the different approaches taken by the TCS policies in each state. The paper also offers suggestions regarding each feature for policymakers who want to design a TCS policy that most likely to succeed at its central purpose: empowering families to provide their children with the education that works best for them.
About Jason Bedrick
Jason Bedrick is a policy analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. Bedrick has extensive policy research experience, including detailed legislative development and analysis. He previously served as a legislator in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and was a research fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, where he focused on state education policy. Bedrick received his Master’s
in Public Policy, with a focus in education policy, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His thesis, “Choosing
to Learn,” assessed the scholarship tax credit programs operating in eight states including their impact of student performance, fiscal impact,
program design, and popularity.
While higher-income families have a plethora of K-12 educational options, lower-income families’ options are often limited to the local district school to which they are assigned. This paper proposes a constitutional and fiscally responsible method of expanding educational options for low-income families.
Beginning in the late 1930s, the confluence of a number of social, ideological, religious, and demographic factors led to the rise of Orthodox day schools in Boston and elsewhere. In the ensuing decades, the Jewish community migrated to the Boston suburbs and even further to the west.
This is the third in a series of Pioneer Institute policy briefs on scholarship tax credit programs. The first, in 2007, was a groundbreaking study of scholarship tax credit programs in Florida, Minnesota, and Arizona. The second report, published in 2010, built on that research in assessing Rhode Island’s Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit (CSTC) program, which became law in 2007. That study provided a review of the CSTC program’s legislative history, program design and impact and offered recommendations to policymakers based on Rhode Island’s experience.