Must Read Press Releases June 25, 2024

Tyton Partners’ Paying for Choice 2024 Research Finds That Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) Can Help 14% More K-12 Parents Afford Private School

[BOSTON, June 25, 2024] – Today, Tyton Partners, a leading strategy consulting and investment banking firm in the education sector, unveils the final installment of its new three-part series on school choice, Paying for Choice 2024 Part 3: Navigating the System of ESAs. The series continues the firm’s extensive research into the evolving schooling landscape since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This publication delves into the evolution and impact of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) through the most extensive survey of families and providers on attitudes toward ESAs in the United States to date. 

As highlighted in Parts 1 and 2, the proliferation of ESA programs nationwide has coincided with a period of disruption and transformation in American education, with Tyton Partners estimating that 20% of the U.S. K-12 student population will be eligible for ESAs in the 2024-2025 school year. The first two installments also shed light on some of the challenges of ESAs in shaping the future of education. 

In Part 3, Tyton Partners expands on the perceptions, attitudes, and options for ESAs among parents and education providers in the K-12 ecosystem. The report examines the journey of becoming aware of, applying for, and accessing ESAs, particularly focusing on the barriers that hinder parents from enrolling in the program. 

Key findings from Part 3 include: 

  • Low-income families generally report significantly lower satisfaction with schools compared to their higher-income peers. Those low-income families whose children are enrolled in alternatives to public school report satisfaction levels equal to and higher than those of high-income families in public schools. Yet, these families face greater access and enrollment challenges when opting for school choice. 
  • ESAs could help 14% more parents afford private school, but they often fall short for low-income families. While funds are the same across income levels, low-income families struggle to supplement them, limiting their school choices compared to higher-income families. 
  • Among parents who attempted but decided to discontinue their journey in signing up for ESAs, 25% dropped out before receiving approval to participate, 38% had difficulty getting approved, 17% struggled to find providers, and 21% encountered issues with payment/reimbursement. 
  • The top administrative barriers for parents and providers particularly concern support for parents, compliance for providers, and payment processes for both. 

Adam Newman, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Tyton Partners and co-author of Choose to Learn, says, “The insights from our Paying for Choice series underscore the critical role ESAs can play in expanding educational opportunities for families across the socioeconomic spectrum. While it’s encouraging to see what ESAs can do to help parents, there are significant barriers that must be addressed. It’s imperative that we develop more robust support systems to ensure that all families, regardless of income, can effectively navigate and benefit from ESA programs. By doing so, we can move closer to a more equitable and accessible educational landscape for every child in America—and we hope the research serves as a guideline as how to improve. 


Tyton Partners concludes the series with a set of recommendations ranging from enhancing navigation services to establishing localized support offices so ESA programs can better help parents, providers, and researchers make more informed decisions and improve ESAs. The report also highlights what is needed to assess the efficacy of ESA programs more broadly, ensuring they are designed, launched, and refined to provide stakeholders with the necessary information to make the right education-related decisions. 


Read Paying for Choice 2024 Part 3: Navigating the System of ESAs here.