Increasing Access by Waiving Tuition: Evidence from Haiti
Despite recent gains in increasing access, an estimated 58 million children worldwide are still out of school. Abolishing school fees has increased enrollment rates in several countries where enrollments were low and fees were high. However, such policies may be less effective, or even have negative consequences, when supply-side responses are weak. This article evaluates the impacts of a tuition waiver program in Haiti, which provided public financing to nonpublic schools conditional on not charging tuition. We conclude that a school’s participation in the program results in more students enrolled, more staff, and slightly higher student-teacher ratios. The program also reduces grade repetition and the share of overage students. While the increase in students does not directly equate to a reduction in the number of children out of school, it does demonstrate strong demand from families for the program and a correspondingly strong supply response from the nonpublic sector.