Education A National Roundup

Measure Eases Limits on Family Income for D.C. Vouchers

December 19, 2006 1 min read

The income limit for many District of Columbia families of students who have received federally funded private school vouchers will go up under a measure approved by Congress last week.

The provision raises the “earn-out” cap from 200 percent to 300 percent of the poverty level. More than 100 students in the District of Columbia have lost their eligibility for the federal vouchers because their family incomes rose too much, according to the Washington Scholarship Fund, which administers the program.

The measure applies to 1,500 students who enrolled during the first two years of the program. The vouchers were first available for the 2004-05 academic year.

The initial income threshold to participate remains unchanged: a household income that does not exceed 185 percent of the poverty line.

“This provision assures parents that an improved financial situation will not negatively affect their children’s education,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican who championed the provision.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city’s delegate to Congress, countered that the change “destroys the low-income rationale for the program.”

A version of this article appeared in the December 20, 2006 edition of Education Week