Number of Students in N.H.’s Education Freedom Accounts Doubles in Second Year – New Hampshire Public Radio

by | Sep 12, 2022 | Education

The number of students enrolled in New Hampshire’s Education Freedom Account program has doubled in the past year, a sign of the program’s growing popularity, but also adding to its cost to the state.The voucher-like school choice program gives state money to moderate and low-income families to pay for non-public school expenses, including supplies, tutors, home education programs, or private school tuition.It has been hailed by school choice advocates, Republican lawmakers, and conservative groups for dramatically expanding education options in New Hampshire, particularly for families who were dissatisfied with public school during the pandemic. When passed in 2021, it was one of the most expansive programs of its kind in the country.Democrats and some public school advocates have criticized the program for contributing to the trend of declining public school enrollment in New Hampshire, and for repurposing money from a fund that was formerly earmarked for public school districts.According to data released by the Department of Education, 3,025 students are now enrolled in the program. About 30 percent of them left public school during the pandemic. The rest were already in home education or private school, or not yet of school age or living in New Hampshire prior to enrolling in the program.About half of this year’s participants are eligible for free and reduced lunch.About 82 percent of them are white, around the same percentage of the statewide public sc …

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