May 1, 2001
Taubman Center for State and Local Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government

In 1999, the Children's Scholarship Fund (CSF) announced that it would award scholarships enabling low-income families across the United States to send their children in grades K-8 to the private school of their choice. The families of over 1.25 million children applied for scholarships; 40,000 were awarded. Because more families applied than could receive scholarships, recipients were chosen by lottery, enabling the research methodology of a randomized field trial to evaluate the program. The power of random assignment combined with the size and national scope of the CSF offers researchers an unmatched look at the effects of attending private schools on both parents and students. This evaluation reports on a variety of subjects, including the level of satisfaction with the school, reasons for choosing a school, experiences within the school, and family background characteristics.

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