Education A National Roundup

D.C. Voucher Program Reaches Capacity at 1,705 Students

By Karla Scoon Reid — September 27, 2005 1 min read

The federally financed voucher program in the District of Columbia has enrolled 1,705 students in private schools this fall, reaching capacity during its second year of operation.

Last year, 1,360 students were awarded vouchers worth up to $7,500, although Congress appropriated money for 1,613 city students to receive aid.

By the end of the 2004-05 school year, 983 students had used vouchers to attend nonpublic schools. Organizers cited the short application period, a lack of public school applicants, and a shortage of space at the right grade levels for the gap between slots and takers.

This year, the Washington Scholarship Fund, which runs the voucher program, accepted almost 1.7 applications from eligible public school students for each available seat. Still, a shortage of high school spaces kept 47 students who were awarded vouchers from attending private schools, the group said.

Congress approved funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which was created to allocate vouchers to public school students from low-income families, in 2004.

A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2005 edition of Education Week