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The Universal Tuition Tax Credit: Advancing Excellence through Parental Choice and Empowerment. A Sutherland Institute Policy Study.

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This study examined the possible benefits to Utah of a Universal Tuition Tax Credit (UTTC), a credit that would make it possible for parents, both low-income and moderate-income, to choose a nonpublic school for their child if they want to. The UTTC would have a positive effect on the per-student revenues available for public school systems as more parents would rely on nonpublic schools. It is projected that over 5 years, the UTTC would save $36 million in local property tax expenditures. The study began by considering why parental choice is an essential ingredient in school change and improvement, suggesting that only where consumer choice and competition exist can there be organizational strategies that allow for successful change and improvement. The study analyzed four potential options for educational improvement and concluded that a tuition tax credit is the best option for significant educational improvement. It is the most likely strategy to provide multiple options and freedom of choice and to most likely to accelerate improvement through incentives. The study also examines constitutional issues based on the U.S. Constitution and Utah's state constitution. The study outlines the UTTC plan for Utah, which would gradually phase in a tax credit for any Utah private school student that could be claimed by any taxpayer, individual or corporate, including a students relatives, friends, or businesses that pay children's tuition. The proposed credit is a per-child credit that increases over years to a maximum of 50% of the average per-student cost of public schooling. An final analysis considers the impact on public school enrollment in Utah and suggests that the credit will benefit the state in periods of slow or rapid economic growth. Four appendixes provide additional information about the UTTC and organizations that support it. (SLD)

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Author:Salisbury, David F.; Maxfield, Richard; Miller, Maxwell A.; Bischoff, Jim
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Article Type:Report
Date:Oct 1, 1999
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