Private Scholarships: A Successful Path to High School Graduation

A new study released by Cascade Policy Institute and the Foundation for Educational Choice reveals the dramatic economic and social costs of dropping out of high school in Oregon, and the long-lasting value of a helping hand extended early in a child’s life.

Since 1999 the Children’s Scholarship Fund has given over 111,000 low-income children nationwide a “hand up” in life through a quality elementary education in the private grade schools of their parents’ choice.

Here in Oregon, over 600 students have benefited from CSF scholarships, funded entirely by private donations from Oregonians and matching grants from the Children’s Scholarship Fund. CSF scholarships are a “hand up,” not a “hand-out.” The Oregon families who participate pay, on average, over half of their children’s tuition themselves, a serious commitment from families whose incomes average $33,000.

Studies of CSF partner programs around the country show the difference educational opportunity makes in children’s lives, including raising their chances of high school graduation. By choosing the right school for their child and paying a substantial portion of tuition themselves, parents are empowered to hold schools accountable. When parents actively invest in their children’s education, students are highly motivated to succeed.

96% of CSF alumni in Philadelphia who left eighth grade four years ago graduated from high school on time, compared with the Philadelphia public school graduation rate of 62%. San Francisco CSF students had an estimated graduation of rate of 89-94%, compared with only 73% in San Francisco public schools and 46% in Oakland public schools.

Here in Portland, CSF students choose to attend grade schools like Holy Redeemer in North Portland, where 96% of the student body goes on to earn their high school diploma. A CSF scholarship of only $1,650 per year (average) is enough to help a lower-income child afford a quality education in a private or parochial grade school like Holy Redeemer.

A donation of any size can give these children the keys to knowledge and success””a gift that will last their whole lives. The national Children’s Scholarship Fund will match your donation. If you would like to change an Oregon grade school student’s life, please contact Kathryn Hickok at Cascade Policy Institute.


Kathryn Hickok is Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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