Opportunity Scholarship Program
The D.C. Scholarship Program was the first federally funded school choice initiative. It provides low-income students with scholarships to attend the school that best meets their educational needs.
A total of $12.1 million dollars is allocated to fund Opportunity Scholarships. Individual scholarships to cover tuition, fees and transportation are capped at $7,500.
More than 1800 students are enrolled at 67 participating private schools under the program during the 2006-2007 school year.
To be eligible, students must reside in the District of Columbia and have a household income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Priority is given to low-income students who attend schools deemed in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act. Low-income applicants in public schools not identified as low performing are then considered, followed by students already attending private school. If there are more eligible applicants than available scholarships or slots in participating private schools, the WSF awards scholarships by lottery.
Regulations on the Program
As tuition rises and the average scholarship amount is increased, the number of students that can be funded under the current cap will decrease every year.