Archdiocese Hails House Passage of SOAR Legislation

Wednesday, July 8, 2016

WASHINGTONToday (July 6), the House of Representatives by a vote of 239-185, passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services bill. The legislation includes $20 million in funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, and extends the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act of 2016 (SOAR) through 2021. The following statement should be attributed to Dr. Thomas W. Burnford, Secretary for Education for the Archdiocese of Washington:

“The archdiocese commends the House of Representatives for extending the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which helps level the playing field for D.C. families by giving parents the ability to choose a good school for their children. We look forward to families in the District of Columbia having some certainty that the educational opportunities they currently have will continue for years to come.”


  • Since it began in the 2004-2005 school year, the C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has provided a quality private-school education to nearly 6,400 disadvantaged children in the District of Columbia.
  • The majority of children who are recipients of Opportunity Scholarships come from single-parent families with an average household income of about $22,000 per year.
  • Nearly half of the children enrolled in the program live in Wards 7 and 8 of the nation’s capital, the most economically challenged areas, and 97 percent of the children who receive the scholarships are African-American or Hispanic.
  • About 87 percent of the children come from zones with public schools classified as “in need of improveme”


The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 94 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi or Lindsey Frechou
[email protected]