Heritage: D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program

The Heritage Foundation:

With the 111th Congress scheduled to consider its reauthorization, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP) may be in jeopardy. But a new evaluation highlights how the DCOSP is benefiting families, adding to the reasons why Congress and the Obama Administration should continue this successful program.

Program Background

The DCOSP was passed by Congress in January 2004. The program, which provided more than 1,700 children with scholarships of up to $7,500 in 2008 to attend a private school of their choice, has repeatedly shown improved family satisfaction and increased parental involvement. Since 2004, approximately 7,200 children have applied for spots in the program, or about four applicants for each available scholarship.[1]

The program has served as an alternative for families with children underserved by the D.C. public school system. Although the District spends far above the national per-pupil average ($14,400), D.C. students lag well behind the academic achievement of their peers nationwide, and only slightly more than half of students graduate.[2]

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