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Spreading Freedom And Saving Money: The Fiscal Impact of the D.C. Voucher Program

By Leon Michos and Susan L. Aud
About the Report

In August 2004 the first ever federally funded school voucher program began in Washington, D.C. Eligible students could attend a private school of their choice in the District of Columbia. Each participant received up to $7,500 for school tuition, fees, and transportation. In addition, the D.C. Public School System (DCPS) and D.C. charter school system each received $13 million in federal grants to improve their programs.

This study examines the fiscal impact of the voucher program on DCPS and the District of Columbia. The program is currently funded by the federal government and creates a net inflow of funds to both the District and DCPS. This study also examines the fiscal impact of the program under several proposed changes to the law. Those scenarios include funding the program locally, making it universally available to all D.C. public school students, and expanding capacity by including regional private schools.

About the Authors

Susan L. Aud is senior fellow at the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation. Leon Michos is an adjunct professor of economics at George Washington University.