Patrick Wolf, a University of Arkansas professor and Michael McShane, of the American Enterprise Institute, had a research paper released recently in the Journal of Education Finance and Policy which shows that enrolling students in Opportunity Scholarship Program has a tremendous cost savings to D.C.'s taxpayers.
The authors found that for every dollar allocated to the voucher plan the public's return on investment is $2.62, a statistic that equates to a rate of 162 percent.
Mr. Wolf and McShane base their findings on the high school graduation percentage of those enrolled in the OSP which is 12 points higher than a comparable control group of students. The researchers point out that there are multiple advantages to society when kids obtain a high school diploma:
"Students who graduate from high school live longer, healthier, and more productive lives than their peers who do not. They make significantly more money and as a consequence pay significantly more taxes, are less likely to commit crimes, and are less likely to become a burden on the public. In other words, high-school graduates on average contribute more to society and require less from it than do high-school dropouts."
Here are the numbers. 421 more students completed high school than if there was not a private school voucher program. Mr. Wolf and McShane found a societal benefit of approximately $87,000 per graduate. This brings the total financial boost to over $183 million. On the cost side the OSP expenditure has been $70 million. Therefore, the study's authors conclude the public gains $2.62 for every dollar allocated to vouchers.
Over 3,738 students and families have taken advantage of these scholarships and have attended over 60 participating private schools. Isn't it time we expanded this highly successful public policy program?