Ruby Ferehawk

Do California LIHTC housing residents have access to quality schools?

Faculty Mentor: Seva Rodnyansky, Urban & Environmental Policy Department

Major: Mathematics

Funding: Ford Research Mentor's Endowment

This study examined the relationship between Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) affordable housing and district-level school performance in California. The research focused on LIHTC housing, specifically, because these projects are usually located in an income-diverse set of neighborhoods. District-level school performance was assessed using both the Academic Performance Index, or API, (1999-2013) and Dashboard (2017-2019) indicators since they were available for the study period. The starting hypothesis was a negative correlation between LIHTC project presence within a district and school performance. Data was collected from the California Department of Education (CDE), National Housing Preservation Database (NHPD), National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS), and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). A negative correlation between school performance was found between API scores and the presence of LIHTC housing within the district. Dashboard data showed a similar correlation between the Academic Indicator for math and LIHTC housing presence but did not show a significant relationship between any of the other variables. Dashboard data may be too new to be able to confirm specific patterns; however, API trends from later reporting years show less disparity in scores. This study recommends policymakers include and prioritize school performance in LIHTC housing placement criteria.
Keywords: LIHTC, affordable housing, California, school performance, API, Dashboard, educational policy, equity

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