Independent research conducted by Sutherland Institute shows the average tuition among the majority of voucher-eligible private schools in Utah is $4,520. And nearly 64 percent of these private schools are within the range of affordability for low-income families, having tuition below $4,500.
“Affordability is a subjective term,” said Sutherland Institute President, Paul T. Mero. “But consider a low-income family that receives the maximum school voucher amount of $3,000 per child. The difference between the average tuition rate and the maximum school voucher is $1,520, or $127 per month. That is less than the cost of a car payment.”
Of the 88 voucher-eligible schools contacted, 64 responded. The responding schools reported annual tuition charges from $1,600 to $52,200. Only six private schools are clearly unaffordable for low-income families the new voucher law is primarily intended to serve. Those six were omitted from Sutherland’s results.
“In addition to being affordable, private schools in Utah are also convenient and accessible. These are important factors for the families that vouchers are primarily intended to serve,” said Mero. “The current supply of private schools in Utah is within close proximity to 85 percent of Utah’s school-age population.”
From its research conducted in August 2007, Sutherland Institute found that there are private schools in 17 of Utah’s 29 counties. Most private, public and charter schools are concentrated in the Wasatch corridor and the St. George area. In the most recent school year, these areas accounted for 85 percent of school-age children in Utah, which means the majority of school-age children have access to private schools that meet the qualifications to accept vouchers.