Tyton Partners Report Estimates that 20% of the U.S. K-12 Student Population Will Be Eligible for Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) in 2024

BOSTON, April 15, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Tyton Partners, a strategy consulting and investment banking firm focused on the education sector, releases the first and second installments of its three-part groundbreaking series, Paying for Choice. This new research initiative delves into the evolution and impact of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), with a specific focus on programs in Arizona and Florida.

Based on quantitative and qualitative research with more than 1,200 parents and 180 providers—the largest concentrated sample of families and providers on attitudes toward school choice that has been carried out in the U.S.—the findings illuminate the potential and challenges of ESAs in shaping the future of education in the United States.

As the report highlights, the expansion of ESA programs across the nation over the past several years has coincided with a disruptive and transformative period in American education. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a significant shift in schooling preferences, leading to a surge in alternative education options. ESAs, with their heightened flexibility in allocating state funding to parents for use across a variety of non-public school educational options, have become a lightning rod for both proponents of school choice and its most ardent critics.

Part 1 of this report sets the stage for an in-depth exploration of ESAs and where such programs stand today, while Part 2 dives into how parents make decisions about enrolling their children in alternative education programs. Part 3 will follow in the coming weeks, expanding on the perceptions of, attitudes towards, and options for ESAs among parents and education providers in the K-12 ecosystem.

Key findings from Paying for Choice 2024: Parts 1 and 2 include:

  • ESA programs are projected to cover approximately 10.2 million eligible learners, or 20% of the U.S. K-12 population, across 13 states in 2024.
  • Enrollment in ESAs grew gradually, reaching ~30,000 enrolled students in 2021, ten years after their inception, before more than tripling enrollment nearly overnight on the tail end of the pandemic.
  • The report introduces four foundational pillars that are applicable to ESA initiatives nationwide and critical for long-term programmatic success: Awareness & Trust, Accessibility, Usability, and Transparency.
  • Family income matters. Low-income families are less likely to know about ESAs and are frequently less able to easily access information about them.
  • Providers’ trust varies with experience. While providers are overwhelmingly aware of ESAs, their trust in these programs varies widely despite their general willingness to accept public dollars.

Tyton Partners’ report is issued at a time when the conversation around ESAs and school choice is growing increasingly polarized, making data-informed, nonpartisan analysis more critical than ever. As one school choice researcher cited in the report notes, "We've entered a highly dysfunctional place in education where there's a legitimacy argument. We need to put down our weapons and recognize we're in this together. It matters to everyone that our children know how to read and know the branches of government."

Dr. Shlomy Kattan, Managing Director at Tyton Partners and lead author of Paying for Choice 2024, notes, "We are at a critical juncture in education in America. The flight from public schools and the potential large-scale impact of ESAs on the education system requires a thorough understanding of the current state of these programs with a focus on their impact on student outcomes. Only through such efforts can we uncover the best ways to improve our education system."

By breaking down the complexities and opportunities within the evolving landscape of school choice and introducing the foundational pillars for long-term programmatic success, Tyton Partners highlights the need for transparency and accountability in the ESA ecosystem, as well as calling on policymakers and providers to increase support for low-income families to access the same opportunities as their higher-income counterparts.

Read Paying for Choice 2024: Parts 1 and 2 here.

About Tyton Partners

Tyton Partners is the leading provider of strategy consulting and investment banking services to the global knowledge and information services sector. With offices in New York City and Boston, the firm has an experienced team of bankers and consultants who deliver a unique spectrum of services from mergers and acquisitions and capital markets access to strategy development that helps companies, organizations, and investors navigate the complexities of the education, media, and information markets. Tyton Partners leverages a deep foundation of transactional and advisory experience and an unparalleled level of global relationships to make its clients' aspirations a reality and to catalyze innovation in the sector. Learn more at tytonpartners.com.


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