Enacted 2004 • Launched 2004 • Voucher
The District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program provides vouchers to low-income
students. Overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, the program is funded separately from D.C.
public and charter schools. It is authorized through 2016, with $20 million in total available funding.
Latest Stats (2012-13)
- Students participating: 1,638
- Schools participating: 46
- Average voucher value: $8,483 (2011-12)
Vouchers are worth up to $8,256 for K-8 students and $12,385 for students in grades 9-12. Those
amounts rise with the Consumer Price Index. Vouchers first pay for tuition, with any leftover amount
available for certain qualified fees that schools may require.
Families must be current D.C. residents. Additionally, families must either receive benefits under the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or earn no more than 185 percent of the federal
poverty level when they enter the program ($43,568 for a family of four in 2013-14). Students may
continue to receive vouchers in later years if their household income does not rise above 300 percent of
the poverty level. Students are given priority if they come from public schools in need of improvement,
or if they or their siblings already are participating in the program. They may use vouchers only to
attend private schools located in D.C.
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.
Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: 185 percent x poverty (300 percent x poverty to remain eligible year-to-year)
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: District (D.C.)
• Enrollment Cap: None (limited to $20 million total)
• Voucher Cap: $8,256 (K-8) / $12,385 (9-12)
• Testing Mandates: Nationally recognized norm-referenced tests
House Resolution 2673, 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act; House Resolution 1105, 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act; House Resolution 471, 2011 Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act
Robbie Rhinesmith | firstname.lastname@example.org
How to apply: http://www.dcscholarships.org/