AFC Applauds House Committee for Supporting DC OSP Reauthorization

Reauthorization will benefit thousands of children in low-income families over the next five years

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, applauds the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) for passing the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act to reauthorize the highly demanded and incredibly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP).

Statement from John Schilling, Chief Operating Officer of the American Federation for Children:

“We thank Chairman Jason Chaffetz and members of the OGR Committee for passing the SOAR Act. The D.C. OSP has been an educational lifeline for children in low-income District of Columbia families, allowing these children to access a school that meets their needs and helping them to achieve educational success. Today’s vote sends a strong message that members recognize the success of the OSP and the tremendous demand from D.C.’s parents. We urge Congress to incorporate the OSP reauthorization into the final Fiscal Year 2017 budget bill and we look forward to working with members on broader legislation this year that will expand educational choice for children across the country.”

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is now in its 12th year serving the city’s most disadvantaged students. Nearly 6,600 children from low-income District families have been awarded scholarships since the program began in 2004-2005. More than 19,800 have applied for scholarships, and currently 1,244 students are enrolled. The average income for participating families is less than $22,000 per year and 97 percent of participating children are minority.

Graduation rates for D.C. OSP students are nearly 30 points higher than D.C. public schools. Recent data compiled by the program administrator shows a 2015-2016 graduation rate of 98 percent. 86 percent of these students were accepted into a 2-or-4 year college with 5 percent entering the military or technical school, while 3 percent had been awaiting college acceptance.