New Hampshire’s EFA is a Win for Education Freedom
A few days ago, New Hampshire became the 5th state this year to create a new education savings account program, joining West Virginia, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky. Expanding on the state’s existing tax-credit scholarship and open enrollment programs, the newly created Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs) will help parents fund their children’s education at a private school, charter school or out-of-district public school of their choice. New Hampshire families earning less than 300% of the federal poverty line—currently $79,500 for a family of four—will be eligible to apply for an EFA. Each account will be funded with the same amount of money that the state would have otherwise sent to the local school district for the child’s education, estimated to be an average of $4,600 for the upcoming school year, and any unused funds will roll over year-to-year until the student graduates from high school.
But students and families are not the only winners with EFAs – New Hampshire taxpayers stand to benefit in a major way as well. The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy found that the program would save taxpayers $6.65 million, while public school funding would decrease by only 0.024% within two years. This estimate is in-line with a recently released study out of Ball State University, which found that Indiana’s school choice programs are saving taxpayers $88 million every year in the Hoosier state (of course, Indiana spends about $8.7 billion on K-12 education per year, while New Hampshire’s entire budget is currently about $6.75 billion).
The New Hampshire Legislature, like many others around the country, responded to a massive spike in demand for school choice following a year of inadequate Zoom learning that saw plenty of parents lose faith in their public schools. Today, 75% of New Hampshire parents and 68% of parents around the country support ESAs as a way to put students before systems and create better outcomes for every child.
In this “Year of School Choice”, American families in 18 different states will be able to access 28 new or expanded school choice programs. ALEC has a variety of resources for policymakers looking to put families first in their state, including the model Education Savings Account Act. You can also check out our education policy library for even more insights and ideas.