The DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) is the first federally funded voucher program in the United States, providing scholarships of up to $7,500 for low-income residents of the District of Columbia to send their children to local participating private schools.
The congressionally mandated evaluation of the Program compared the outcomes of about 2,300 eligible applicants randomly assigned to receive or not receive an OSP scholarship through a series of lotteries in 2004 and 2005. This final report finds that the Program had mixed longer-term effects on participating students and their parents, including:
The evaluation also found that the cumulative loss of students between 2004 and 2009 from DC Public Schools (DCPS) to the Program was about 3 percent. In contrast, an estimated 20 percent of students annually change schools or leave DCPS. Thus, OSP-related transfers to private schools may not have been distinguishable from the larger share of other student departures.
View, download, and print the report as a PDF file (2.3 MB)
View, download, and print the executive summary as a PDF file (748 KB)
View, download, and print the four-page study snapshot as a PDF file (776 KB)