Families and Taxpayers Each Benefit from Choice Scholarships

Thanks to a new analysis by the Nevada Policy Research Institutes’s Daniel Honchariw, we see how well-constructed school choice programs hold substantial benefits, not only for the students and their families able to take advantage, but for taxpayers as well.

The program allows businesses that pay Nevada’s Modified Business Tax to receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for scholarships which income-eligible students (from households with income up to 300 percent of the federal poverty threshold) can use toward tuition for participating private schools and through approved scholarship organizations.  The scholarship size is limited, as is the total amount of funds statewide which can be used by the program.

Using the average, annual per-student spending of $9,165 and the average size of each scholarship awarded, the NPRI report calculates that Nevada taxpayers have saved $1.14 for each tax dollar spent on the program to date.  What’s more, because most of the dollars raised through the tax credits have not actually been spent yet on scholarships (as the process moves forward), the report finds that taxpayers will actually save $1.92 for every tax-credit dollar, because nonpublic schools will actually be assuming responsibility for serving those students.

The program includes requirements for participation by nonpublic schools, including administering norm-referenced annual tests to scholarship students.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that actual per-student spending levels are substantially higher, when other subsidies including building and maintaining school buildings are factored in — so actual taxpayer benefits are likely even greater than those described in the report.  With Nevada experiencing some of the nation’s fastest growth in its school-aged population, and with overcrowding and teacher shortages already common in its public schools, Nevada officials are well-served to pay attention to the fiscal, as well as educational, benefits of choice programs like the Educational Choice Scholarship Program.

Nevada Action is an approved scholarship organization.  Reach us at info[at]nevadaaction[dot]org for information on how to contribute or apply for scholarships.

Read Honchariw’s paper, “Nevada’s Opportunity Scholarship: A Win for Students and Taxpayers.”