$85 million in federal funds promised to D.C. school choice program

The only federally funded school choice program in the country will receive more U.S. Department of Education funds over the next five years to boost lower-income students' ability to attend private schools.
By: | July 28, 2020
Photo by Patrick Fore on UnsplashPhoto by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

The U.S. Education Department plans to award at least $85 million for private school choice in Washington, D.C., over the next five years.

“When students find their right fit, we know they’re more likely to succeed,” stated U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a press release.

The funding is part of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, the only federally funded school choice program in the nation. The department plans for an immediate payout of $17 million for fiscal year 2020 to help enable disadvantaged students from lower-income families in Washington, D.C., to attend private schools of their choice.

The program awards scholarships annually to more than 1,500 students living in Washington, D.C., where the average income of participating families is less than $27,000 per year. More than 90 percent of participating students identify as Black, Hispanic or Latinx, according to ED. Nearly 10,000 scholarships for low-income students have been awarded since the program’s congressional authorization in 2003.

ED also reported that nearly 98 percent of scholarship recipients graduate, with 86 percent of those graduates going on to attend college.

Serving Our Children, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., will administer the scholarships and provide support services to recipients and their families over the next five years.

Johnny Jackson covers homeless and at-risk students and other Title I issues for TitleIAdmin, a DA sister publication.