University of Arkansas researchers: Eliminating Louisiana Scholarship Program would be costly

A newly released white paper by researchers at the University of Arkansas has concluded that eliminating the Louisiana Scholarship Program as a way of saving money would do just the opposite.

The white paper examined the effect eliminating the Louisiana Scholarship Program would have on education expenditures in the state.

“It is true that the state would avoid $41.6 million of spending if the voucher program is eliminated,” they said. “However, each current voucher student who returns to a public school increases the local district’s necessary education expenditures without increasing the local tax revenue for schools, obligating the state to provide increased funding to the district.”

The researchers also noted that additional funding would be needed unless at least 13.5 percent of current Scholarship program participants stay in private schools and pay tuition out of pocket or through other private means. This is unlikely as all of the participating students come from low-income families.

Julie Trivitt, a clinical assistant professor of economics, and Corey DeAngelis, a doctoral student in education policy, conduct research with Patrick Wolf, holder of the Twenty-First Century Chair in School Choice. Wolf directs the School Choice Demonstration Project based in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas.

The white paper was released on the same day families traveled to the state Capitol urging lawmakers to provide full funding for the Scholarship Program.

Students testify