Matt Chingos and Paul Peterson have a new study based on a random-assignment experiment of the effects of privately funded vouchers on college enrollment. They followed the students who had received a private school scholarship in New York City. Earlier research found significant achievement benefits from that program for African American students but there was some controversy over whether those findings were robust to reasonable alternative specifications.
Now the students are old enough for college and Chingos and Peterson went back to see if achievement gains translated into higher college enrollment. They did. African American students who received a private school scholarship were 24% more likely to enroll in college. The improvement was more dramatic in the chances that African American students would attend private 4 year colleges and even selective private colleges.
No significant effects were observed for Latino students nor for the very few white students in the sample. It appears that choice has the biggest effect on those whose options would have been the worse in the absence of a choice program. It is also worth remembering that the scholarship was good for only half of private school tuition, so it is possible that a more generous program would have a broader effect.
You can read Chingos and Peterson’s summary of their findings in the Wall Street Journal.