DC School Choice Incentive Program

To provide low-income parents residing in the District of Columbia (District) with expanded options for the education of their children.

This program is part of a broader school improvement effort in the District that is funded on the belief that all education sectors (public schools, public charter

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schools, and nonpublic schools) can offer quality educaiton experiences for the District's students, economically disadvantaged have the least access to such experiences.
Examples of Funded Projects

The Washington Scholarship Fund, the grantee under the program, has established the Opportunity Scholarship Programs (OSP) to provide eligible students with expanded school choice options.

These scholarships of up to $7,500 per student per school yer enable students from low-income families to attend a participating nonpublic District elementary or secondary school of their choice.

Agency - Department of Education

The Department of Education ensures equal access to education and promotes educational excellence through coordination, management and accountability in Federal education programs. The Department works to supplement and complement educational efforts on all levels, encouraging increased involvement by the public, parents and students.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments

One continuation awrd was made in FY 2008.

Uses and Use Restrictions

One or more grants are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible applicants to establish a scholarship program to provide eligible students with expanded school choice options.

Students who are residents of the District and who come from households whose income does not exceed 185 percent of the poverty line are eligible to apply for scholarships from a grantee under this program.

These scholarships may be used to pay the tuition and fees and transportation expenses, if any, to enable students to attend the participating District non-public elementary or secondary school of their choice.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

An educational entity of the District of Columbia Government; a nonprofit organization; or a consortium of nonprofit organizations.

Beneficiary Eligibility

To receive an award under this program, an applicant must ensure that a majority of the members of its voting board or governing organization are residents of the District of Columbia. The Secretary gives priority to applications from eligible entities that will most effectively provide students and families with the widest range of educational options; to applications from eligible entities that will most effectively target resources to students and families who lack the financial resources to take advantage of available educational options; and to applications from eligible entities that will most effectively give priority to eligible students who, in the school year preceding the school year in which the student would use the scholarship, attend an elementary or secondary school identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (20 U.S.C. 6316).



Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

Information about Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs under Executive Order 12372 is in the application package for this program.

Application Procedures

Applicant must submit the following by the designated deadline: (1)The applicant must provide a written narrative, which addresses the selection criteria (and the required application content) that reviewers use in evaluating their applications. This Section must be limited to no more than 50 double-spaced pages. (2)Required forms to be submitted with the application include SF424; Sections A, B, and C of ED Form 524; Assurance - Non Construction Programs; Certifications Regarding Lobbying, Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters; Drug-Free Workplace Requirements; Disclosure of Lobbying Activity; Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion - Lower Tier Covered Transactions. (3)Applicants for grants under this program are required to submit applications electronically using the Electronic Grant Application System (e-Application) available through the Department's e-GRANTS system. Specific instructions for submitting applications electronically are included in the application notice.

Award Procedures

Applications are reviewed by the Department for eligibility and completeness. Applications are reviewed and scored by a panel of experts. A funding slate is prepared and the highest ranked applications are recommended for funding. Successful and unsuccessful applicants are notified of outcome. Grant awards are prepared and mailed to successful grantees.


Deadlines will be published in the Federal Register. Contact the program office for more information.


DC School Choice Incentive Act of 2003, (Title III of Division C of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 60 days.


Not applicable.


Applicants may apply for a project period of up to 60 months. Continuation awards are subject to the availability of appropriations.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Applicants may apply for a project period of up to 60 months. Renewals are subject to the availability of appropriations.

Post Assistance Requirements


Annual performance are required for each budget period.

Specific due dates are determined by the Department and forwarded to applicants accordingly.

Final performance reports are due 90 days after expiration or termination of the award.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


In accordance with the General Education Provisions Act and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), certain financial records must be maintained for a period of three years.

Financial Information

Account Identification

20-1817-0-1-501 .


(Project Grants) FY 07 $13,860,000; FY 08 est $14,800,000; and FY 09 est $18,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Average Continuation award: $12,594,200.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The Closing Date Notice will be published in the Federal Register. Contact the Program Office for more information.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-5961. Contact: Michelle Armstrong, E-mail: michelle.armstrong@ed.gov; Telephone: (202) 205-1729.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The selection criteria are contained in the closing date notice.

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