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school choice, school vouchers, student attainment, college entrance, randomized control trial


The Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP) is a private school voucher program available to families who have incomes no greater than 250 percent of the federal poverty line and whose children attend a low performing public school. It began as a pilot program in New Orleans in 2008 and was expanded statewide in 2012. Previous evaluations of the LSP generally found negative impacts of the program on math and English language arts test scores. In this study, we evaluate the effects of the program on college enrollment for the first cohort of students eligible to enter college by 2017-18. Using lottery assignment for a student’s first choice private school, we are able to identify the causal effect of being awarded a scholarship on student attainment for just over 1,000 randomized students who were in the seventh through twelfth grades during the first year of the program. We find that 60% of treatment students who won a lottery and enrolled in their first choice private schools enter college, compared to 59.5% of control students. This difference in not statistically significant. We find no differential treatment effects when considering student enrollment in two- or four-year post-secondary institutions.