Surprise! Median Private School Tuition Beats Per Pupil Expenditure at Government Schools, Says Institute: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
March 1, 2002

Surprise! Median Private School Tuition Beats Per Pupil Expenditure at Government Schools, Says Institute
Independent Scholarship Fund Application Period Now Open for Private School Scholarships for San Francisco East Bay (K-12) Students

OAKLAND, Calif.—The cost of attending private schools (K-12) in the San Francisco East Bay counties of Alameda and Contra Costa is much more affordable than commonly believed, according to data collected by the Independent Scholarship Fund and national studies.

In the 2001-2002 school year, the median private school tuition paid by ISF recipients was $3,852—about one-third less than the $6,045 per pupil expenditure at California’s government schools for the 1998-99 school year.

These findings are consistent with National Center for Education Statistics data that shows—dollar for dollar—private schools are more productive than their public counterparts.

In addition, last year ISF applicants greatly over-estimated the median cost of attending an East Bay private school at $6,950, according to Katherine Shearer, Director of the ISF.

“Many parents were pleasantly surprised to learn that enrolling their child in a private school was much more affordable than they had expected,” reports Shearer.

The Independent Institute moved up the beginning of its application period from previous years and has been accepting applications since January 2, 2002. Children entering grades K-12 from low- to moderate-income homes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties can now apply for need- and merit-based tuition scholarships to attend private, community or parochial schools of their choice for the 2002-2003 school year. The deadline for applications to the Independent Scholarship Fund is Friday, May 3, 2002.

Started in 1999 by generous donations from local foundations interested in improving youth education, the ISF has already helped students from more than 300 families attend area community schools. The Independent Institute, which administers the program, expects to award more than 300 scholarships - possibly much more depending on contributions received - for the 2002-2003 school year.

“The ISF provides children from low- to moderate-income families in the East Bay with an opportunity to receive the kind of quality education in a safe environment that for too long has been perceived as the exclusive domain of the affluent,” said David J. Theroux, founder and president of The Independent Institute.

ISF scholarships pay up to 75 percent of the cost of a student’s tuition, up to $1500 each school year. Parents are responsible for the remaining portion, which encourages positive parental involvement in their child’s education. Studies touting the benefits of increased competition among public and private schools indicate that the ISF has already improved access to high-quality educational opportunities for the East Bay’s youth. Through its continued growth, the ISF will enable more families to choose the best education for their children.

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