A new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences has found that students participating in Indiana’s education choice program are more likely to enroll in college than their public-school peers.

The report, released this week by the Midwest Regional Education Lab, found that 61% of students utilizing the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program enroll in college within one year of graduating from high school compared with 52% of their peers in district public schools.

Of those who enroll in college, 78% of scholarship students graduate compared with 71% of public-school students.

“Add this new Indiana research to the litany of studies showing that when families are empowered with educational options, their children in K-12 schools of choice do better in the long-term,” said Tommy Schultz, vice president of the American Federation for Children. “The question is: When will the lawmakers opposed to educational options finally listen to the research and put children and families first?”

Report co-authors Megan J. Austin and Max Pardo controlled for a rich set of key characteristics of students and their schools, including family income, race, gender and eighth-grade test scores, as well as high school size and location.

While the study relied on observational data, its findings regarding the positive effects of private school choice on student outcomes are consistent with evaluations of such programs in Florida, the District of Columbia, Milwaukee and New York City.

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