Students in the impact sample were either rising kindergartners or attending DC public schools in the year they applied for the OSP. The characteristics of the impact sample students when they applied reflect the Program's income eligibility criteria and priorities as specified in the authorizing legislation:
After 1 year, 77 percent of the students awarded a scholarship were attending a participating private school. Fifteen percent of the students who were not awarded a scholarship were nevertheless enrolled in a private school. As has been true in other scholarship programs, not all treatment group students offered scholarships choose to attend a private school, and some students in the control group find their way into private schools even without a Program scholarship.
Impact sample students who used their OSP scholarship were enrolled in 47 of the 68 participating private schools and were clustered in those schools that offered the most slots to OSP students. Of the students in this group, 8.4 percent were attending a school charging tuition above the statutory cap of $7,500 in their first year in the Program, even though 39 percent of all participating schools charged tuitions above the cap at that time. The average tuition charged at the schools that these scholarship students attended was $5,253 but varied between $3,400 and $24,5455. The average OSP student in this group attended a school with 177 students—somewhat smaller than the average of 236 students across the full set of participating schools. These OSP students are concentrated in the participating private schools with higher minority enrollments but with student/teacher ratios that are approximately representative of the entire set of OSP schools. Nearly two-thirds of these OSP students are attending participating schools operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.
In interpreting the presence or absence of Program impacts, it is important to understand the difference between the treatment and control groups in their educational environments and experiences. Examining the characteristics of the schools attended by students in the treatment and control groups suggests
5 The WSF reported that families were not required to pay for tuition out-of-pocket in almost all cases where the tuition charged by the school exceeded the $7,500 cap.