Private and homeschool families save the state almost $350 million

By Aaron Rice
October 30, 2019

Families who homeschool or send their children to private school provide a savings of more than $340 million to taxpayers. And that doesn’t even include local or federal savings, which likely doubles that number.

The state appropriated more than $2.58 billion for K-12 education this past year. This includes MAEP, general education programs, education enhancement funds, and a couple other programs. Last year, 470,000 students attended public schools, a number that will likely decrease when final enrollment numbers are released later this year.

That translates to an average of $5,500 per student, though those numbers vary. 

While we don’t have ‘official’ numbers on private school students or homeschoolers, estimates based on national data and Census numbers, generally put the numbers in the range of 40,000-50,000 students in private school and 15,000-20,000 who homeschool. 

Using the middle number for homeschool and private school students, those families save the state approximately $343 million. That number would be higher if we took into account local and federal funds, that make up a little less than half education funding in the state.

No tax credits or deductions

Nine programs in eight states allow families to receive individual tax credits and deductions for approved educational expenses, including private school tuition, books, supplies, computers, tutors, and transportation. Tax credits lower the total taxes a person owes; a deduction reduces a person’s total taxable income. 

The credits and deductions a family could receive differ among the states. Eligibility to participate also varies.

StateProgramIndividual Credit/ Deduction Cap
AlabamaAlabama Accountability Act of 2013 Parent-Taxpayer Refundable Tax Credits80% per pupil funding
IllinoisTax Credits for Educational Expenses$750
IndianaPrivate School/Homeschool Deduction$1,000
IowaTuition and Textbook Tax Credit$250
LouisianaElementary and Secondary School Tuition Deduction$5,000 per student
MinnesotaEducation Deduction$1,625 to $2,500
MinnesotaK–12 Education Credit$1,000 per student
South CarolinaRefundable Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children$11,000 per student
WisconsinK–12 Private School Tuition Deduction$4,000 to $10,000

Source: EdChoice

Mississippi provides no credit or deduction for private or homeschool families. 


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