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The Effects of School Vouchers on College Enrollment: Experimental Evidence from New York City

Access to education, Vouchers

Matthew M. Chingos and Paul E. Peterson

The Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings | Harvard’s Program on Education Policy Governance

August 2012

Abstract: Most research on educational interventions, including school vouchers, focuses on impacts on short-term outcomes such as students’ scores on standardized tests. Few studies are able to track longer-term outcomes, and even fewer are able to do so in the context of a randomized experiment. In the first study using a randomized experiment to measure the impact of school vouchers on college enrollment, we examine the college-going behavior through 2011 of students who participated in a voucher experiment as elementary school students in the late 1990s. We find no overall impacts on college enrollments but we do find large, statistically significant positive impacts on the college going of African American students who participated in the study. Our estimates indicate that using a voucher to attend private school increased the overall college enrollment rate among African Americans by 24 percent.

The full paper can be accessed here.

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