A Failed Experiment: Georgia's Tax Credit Scholarships for Private Schools


Report Material

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SEF's infographic (2015)

News Coverage

The Hidden War Against Gay Teens. RollingStone. (October 10, 2013).

Backed by State Money, Georgia Scholarships Go to Schools Barring Gays. The New York Times. (September, 2013).

Does tax break aid kids? No. Public Schools suffer as abuses divert millions. The Atlanta Journal Constitution. (June, 2012).

Public Money Finds Back Door to Private Schools. The New York Times. (May, 2012).

Related Research

Vouchers and Tax Credit Scholarships in the US Video. Southern Education Foundation. (2015).

Georgia's Tax Dollars Help Finance Private Schools with Severe Anti-Gay Policies. Southern Education Foundation. (2013).

Complaint on Tax Irregularities in Georgia's Tax Credit Scholarship Program for Private Schools. Southern Education Foundation. (2013).

Suggested Citation

Suitts, Steve and Katherine Dunn. A Failed Experiment: Georgia's Tax Credit Scholarships for Private Schools. Southern Education Foundation. (2011).


2011 - The report  finds that Georgia’s program providing tax credit scholarships to private school students is a failure.  The program was created in 2008 with the passage of HB 1133 for the purpose of helping low income children transfer from poorly performing public schools to private schools.  SEF finds that the program has failed to achieve this aim, and that instead over $70 million has been diverted from Georgia’s state revenues over the last three years with a lack of accountability that has enabled widespread abuse.

The report finds that the student scholarship organization (SSO) program fails to serve any public purpose.  Under the program:

  • Scholarships are awarded to students who did not transfer from public school as intended by the law;
  • The conditions of schools involved raise questions about their eligibility to receive funding;
  • SSOs have failed to meet the requirements of the law, including spending requirements;
  • There is no accountability for tax-funded educational performance;
  • The number of low income students attending private schools has not increased;
  • Racial isolation and segregation in private schools are supported;
  • The state constitution’s ban on aid to religious groups is violated; and
  • No tax funds are saved, but millions are spent.

SEF calls for the Georgia legislature to end, or vastly mend, the failed SSO program before millions more are spent with no accountability or results.

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