Archdiocese on Proposal to Expand DC Opportunity Scholarship Program to Suburbs

July 13, 2005

According to recent news reports, there may be a shortage of seats this fall for DC Opportunity Scholarship (DCOS) recipients to attend non-public high schools in the District. One proposed solution reportedly has been to expand the program so District students could use their opportunity scholarships in suburban non-public schools.

Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese, noted:

“The Archdiocese of Washington has not been involved in any discussions to change the existing DC Opportunity Scholarship Program and the Catholic high schools in the Maryland suburbs are at or near full enrollment this fall and would not be able to participate in an expanded program.

“The Opportunity Scholarship program was developed by a broad partnership of diverse interests as part of a three-sector approach to support public, charter and non-public education in the city. The program is only beginning its second year of implementation. At this time, we feel it is important to allow it to continue as it was designed.

“We’ve been happy to participate with DCOS since its inception last year, when we welcomed nearly 600 Opportunity Scholarship students into 21 of our schools. We anticipate welcoming even more this September. The interest in this program shows us that families want educational choice and want to find the school that best meets their children’s needs.

“It is important to give students the opportunity to use their scholarships. Archbishop Carroll High School in Northeast Washington, the only high school operated by the Archdiocese of Washington, accepted 30 scholarship recipients last year and agreed to make another 25 seats available this fall. The school has since expanded that commitment to 30 students because of the need.”

The Archdiocese of Washington includes 115 Catholic early learning, elementary and secondary schools located in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Montgomery, Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]