Impact of School Vouchers on Guardian Investment in Education

April 10, 2021   /  

Name: Madeleine Keller
Majors: Economics, Education
Advisors: Dr. Brooke Krause, Dr. Gretchen Tefs

Inequitable access to good quality education is an ongoing issue in the United States. The nature of free public schools versus costly private schools and property taxes funding public schools sparked my interest in disparities in school choice. As a future educator and economist, understanding school choice is fundamental. Private school education is not available to many students due to cost or other factors. State and federal school voucher programs have been introduced in an attempt to help combat this issue. Voucher programs are intended to increase access to private school education for various demographics that may not be able to attend private schools under ordinary circumstances. Using Wooster, Ohio as a base reference, the impact of school vouchers on guardian education contribution is studied. This paper hypothesizes that awareness and distribution of vouchers increases guardian education contribution. Expected utility, consumer theory and budget constraints are used to model this hypothesis. This study suggests that this hypothesis is true through two major findings. The first finding suggests that awareness of vouchers is correlated with a $1,548 increase in guardian contribution to education. The second finding suggests that providing guardians with a voucher increases their willingness to pay an additional $1,600 to send their child to a private school by 52.4%. These findings open a gateway to further research about the impact and usage of vouchers in different settings and across different demographics.

Madeleine will be online to field comments on April 16:
10am-noon EDT (Asia: late evening, PST: 6-8am, Africa/Europe: early evening)

46 thoughts on “Impact of School Vouchers on Guardian Investment in Education”

  1. Folks, you saw it here first: the best future educator moving to change the world!

    1. Thank you for always being my biggest fan! I hope to change the world one student at a time.

  2. Maddie I loved how you weaved Economics and Education together in your presentation to come up with such a unique and timely topic. Very interesting to look through, and I was able to learn a lot!

    What caused you to investigate these components of Education & Economics?

    1. Thank you Lauren! I knew from the start of my Junior Independent Study that I wanted to look at inequalities in education, but I hadn’t quite decided what topic I was going to focus on. I started to look into Charter Schools, and then came across the topic of school vouchers and became quickly interested in how the economics of school vouchers influences the education that students have access to. I started to look further into the topic and realized how recent and relevant school vouchers are.

      1. I love that story and that you’ve kept your passion for it! Can’t wait to see how you shake things up once you’re fully into your field!

        1,000 Congratulations!

  3. Wow this is a phenomenal topic! In many of our education classes we talk about the difference between public and private schools due to the economic resources. Thank you for such a wonderful IS!

    1. Thank you Raven! We do talk about it and I wish we talked about different educational institutions more. I look forward to seeing what you end up doing your IS on!

  4. Great work, Maddie! So proud of you and the contribution you have made to the study of school vouchers!

  5. Hey Maddie, I really liked your presentation and just wanted to comment on a great job you did!

  6. Congratulations on all your hard work, Maddie! I really enjoyed your presentation, and I think it is really cool how you demonstrated synthesis of your two areas of study. Your findings are fascinating also! Is receiving a voucher ever means-tested, and if so, do you think in that case there could be a kink in the budget constraint where the minimum means threshold exists? Also, what was your favorite part of doing this research?

    1. Thank you Tessa! It is in fact means-tested and I think there would be a kink in the budget constraint where a minimum threshold exists. This would be a very interesting topic to continue onto this study. I think my favorite part was coming up with how I was going to collect the data. Given how recently they were introduced, figuring out how to format my survey to gather the data I wanted was challenging but fun to tackle!

  7. Congratulations Maddie, I’m soooooo proud of you! I love how you melded together both of your interests into your IS so organically.

  8. Great work Maddie! Congratulations on a great symposium and an even better senior thesis!

  9. Congratulations Maddie! Your presentation was incredible, and I really enjoyed seeing your passions displayed through such a major accomplishment!!

  10. Amazing work this year on your IS, Maddie! It was amazing to see how dedicated you were to working consistently and rigorously on your project to complete it before student teaching. I am so proud of you and glad we had the opportunity to work together!

    1. Thank you Professor Krause! I had so much fun putting together this project and conducting my own research thanks to you. I am so glad that we were able to work together in both junior and senior IS. I learned so much from you. Thank you for your constant support!

  11. Maddie! You are incredible! I cannot wait to see the influence that you have on your future students. Those are some lucky kids.

  12. This is such impactful and important research and I’m glad you were able to study it! Quick question (just to pick your brain) — do you think if parents are given vouchers of any amount, would they be more inclined to put their children in extracurricular activities? Or would they potentially be interested in a private school that includes extracurriculars in the cost but be given a lower voucher amount?

    I am so proud of you and your work! This was extremely thought provoking and I am so excited to see your success in the future. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you! So I am honestly not sure. I think that if parents are able to “save” money on the cost of education, then they are able to spend more money on other items such as extracurricular activities. I also think that private schools that include extracurriculars, uniforms, etc. would be of greater interest.

  13. Congratulations Maddie! This is such an interesting project and your presentation explains it really well! You’re amazing and this project reflects that.

  14. Excellent work, Maddie. Its amazing how you progressed your I.S. from last year! So proud of you. Keep up the good wor

  15. Congratulations Maddie! Such a great I.S.! I can’t wait to see what you accomplish post-grad; I know it will be amazing just like you!

  16. Hi, Maddie! This was such an important topic to explore. I’m so glad I got to learn more about it!

Comments are closed.