NEPC Review: An Analysis of Arizona Individual Income Tax-Credit Scholarship Recipients' Family Income (October 2010)
The report under review attempts to counter claims made by two Arizona newspapers that Arizona’s tuition tax credit voucher program has largely failed to increase private school access for low-income families. The report concludes that many scholarship recipients come from families whose incomes qualify them as below the state median and even below the poverty line. The analysis is generally transparent and thorough, and the results probably do approximate the distribution of the vouchers. However, the report overstates the newspaper claims. Moreover, certain design issues--particularly the possibility of sampling bias, a lack of uniformity in data collection, and self-reported data by the voucher-granting organizations--cause some uncertainty about the final estimates of family income. The Arizona law was recently amended to require official reporting, so more definite numbers will soon be available.