October 1, 1998
Taubman Center on State and Local Government, John F. Kennedy School of
The School Choice Scholarships Foundation (SCSF) announced in February 1997 that it would provide 1,300 scholarships so that children from low-income families currently attending public schools could transfer to private schools. The scholarships were worth up to $1,400 annually and could be redeemed for at least three years at both religious and secular schools. SCSF received initial application forms from over 20,000 students between February and late April 1997. Scholarship recipients were selected in a lottery held in May 1997 and began school the following fall. In this paper we report the first-year results for an evaluation of the SCSF program. The evaluation takes advantage of the fact that the SCSF lottery allowed for the conduct of a natural randomized experiment, in which students were allocated randomly to scholarship and control groups.
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