SOURCE: The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

March 30, 2017 08:00 ET

Fraser Institute News Release: Parents with children in public schools and most independent schools in B.C. have similar incomes

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - March 30, 2017) - Families with children attending most independent schools in British Columbia have essentially the same level of income as families with children in public schools, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

"Despite common misperceptions that independent schools in B.C. cater only to wealthy families, there's little difference in the family income of parents that choose public schools versus those that choose the religious or alternative education provided by most independent schools," said Jason Clemens, executive vice-president of the Fraser Institute and co-author of Comparing the Family Income of Students in British Columbia's Independent and Public Schools.

The study finds that families with children enrolled in non-elite independent schools have an average (after tax) income that is just 1.9 per cent higher than the average income of parents with children in public schools -- $78,894 compared to $77,396, according to data from the B.C. Ministry of Education and Statistics Canada.

And only 8.2 per cent -- 28 -- of B.C.'s 340 independent schools are elite preparatory schools, defined as such by their memberships in exclusive provincial or national associations.

In fact, more than 50 per cent of independent schools in B.C. have a religious orientation and another 20 per cent offer alternative teaching methods or have a specialty focus -- art or athletics, for example -- not available in the public system.

In B.C., independent schools that meet certain criteria receive partial government funding between 35 and 50 per cent on a per student basis.

"The myth that independent schools in B.C. cater only to wealthy families prevents more fulsome discussions about providing more choice to parents and improving education in the province," Clemens said.

Jason Clemens, Executive Vice President
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

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