ON-Lion Letter

A Nevada school-choice program to launch in 2016 will cover the majority of private-school tuition costs for many elementary-, middle-, and high-school pupils, according to a survey released in August by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice in Indianapolis.

The comprehensive survey report by Friedman Foundation research and policy associate Andrew C. Catt, Exploring Nevada's Private Education Sector, shows half of private schools in Nevada charge a median tuition of $6,400 or less for students in grades K–5.  The median tuition is $7,200 for grades 6­8 and $8,100 for high school.

Under the Nevada program called Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), eligible students with disabilities or children from low-income families will receive an estimated $5,700 ESA, which they can use to pay for a variety of educational expenses.  For eligible middle- and upper-income families, students will receive an ESA worth approximately $5,100.

As a result, for at least half of the private schools in the state, the ESA program would cover at minimum 80% of private-school tuition and fees in grades K-5, 70% in grades 6-8, and 63% in grades 9-12.

As many parents seek alternative schooling options through the ESA program, the number of Nevada students filling private-school seats is expected to increase.  The report estimates enrollment in private schools could potentially increase 33% -- or by about 6,600 students -- when ESAs launch next year.  And that's without any new schools being created.

"There is already incredible interest in this program from parents, students, and education providers," according to Friedman Foundation president and chief executive officer Robert C. Enlow.  "As with many school-choice programs, we expect demand to outstrip supply quickly and new providers to fill the void with start-up private schools, online learning models, and schooling innovations that go beyond what we know today."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports the Friedman Foundation.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |