The results of the study are to be published in the summer issue of Education Next.
Matthew M. Chingos of the Brookings Institution and Paul E. Peterson, director of Harvard's program on education policy and governance, tracked college enrollment information for students who participated in the School Choice Scholarship program, which began in 1997. They were able to get college enrollment information on 2,637 of the 2,666 students in the original cohort.
The researchers compared the outcome for 1,358 students who received a voucher offer and a control group of 1,279 students who did not. They found that 26 percent of black students in the control group attended college full-time for some period of time within three years of expected high school graduation, while 33 percent of those who received vouchers did.
Vouchers had a much smaller effect on college attendance for Hispanic students. There were too few white and Asian-American students in the group to be significant.
Chingos and Peterson said their research suggests vouchers have a greater impact on whether black students attend college than small class sizes or effective teachers.