How It Works
Serving Our Children (SOC) believes it is important that you understand how to apply for, and best use your scholarship under the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP). In this section, you will learn about major aspects of the OSP, in order to receive the full benefits of the program.
OSP School Placements
In order to use the scholarship, recipients must submit a separate application to the participating private school of their choice. You may apply to as many schools as you want. SOC will reimburse families for the cost of up to 5 applications per student. Parents and guardians are encouraged to start this process immediately. Our team is here to help you search for, and choose amongst the participating OSP private schools in the District. Once your child has been accepted to one of our participating schools, and you have confirmed your annual income amount, we will provide you with a School Placement Form (SPF). The SPF allows your child’s school to bill your scholarship for tuition and other educational fees. Only children awarded an Opportunity Scholarship are provided with the School Placement Form.
SUPPLEMENTAL SCHOLARSHIPS: If applying to a school where tuition is above the OSP scholarship amount, students should inquire at the school about applying for supplemental financial aid.
OSP Scholarship Payments Basics
To maximize the use of your scholarship plan ahead! Talk with your child’s school to go over all fees and services that may be charged to your scholarship.
- For school year (SY) 2017-18 scholarships caps are up to $8,653 for grades K – 8th and up to $12,981 for grades 9th-12th
- Your scholarship will pay for tuition first!
- Scholarship funds are awarded to YOU, not your child’s school! The guardian must endorse the check in order to release the funds to the school your child is attending. This is mandatory to remain in the program.
- Scholarship checks are sent to you via the student’s school 2-3 times per school year.
- All checks include an Invoice Confirmation Report (ICR) outlining all charges to your scholarship. The school must review all charges with you.
Once your child has been placed at one of our participating private schools, the student’s school can bill your scholarship for tuition, and other fees. For schools with tuition amounts that are more than the total scholarship cap, your scholarship will be used solely to pay for tuition. You can talk to your child’s school about other options to cover the remaining balance such as additional financial aid and payment plans to spread the costs throughout the school year. If tuition is less than the scholarship cap, then you may be able to cover other school-related fees with your scholarship. Talk to your child’s school about other charges that can be covered after tuition. We encourage you to meet with school officials at the beginning of the school year to go over the services that are most important to you and your child.
With each check that arrives to your child’s school, we send out the Invoice Confirmation Report (ICR), which details the charges made by the school to your scholarship. It is your responsibility to go to the school and review the charges listed on the ICR with the school official and sign the ICR. Do not sign the ICR and check without reviewing all charges – it is your right!
In reviewing the charges you will find:
- The total check amount for the payment cycle
- A summary of the total charges made to your scholarship for the current school year
- The breakdown of the charges made by your child’s school along with how much scholarship money remains
- The payment cycle, and how much your scholarship will cover
There should be no surprises – the charges to your scholarship are based on services and fees you signed up for when talking with your child’s school at the beginning of the school year. Contact your child’s school if you have any questions. Before signing the ICR and check, you must review the ICR, to be sure the services and fees you had signed up for at the beginning of the school year are what is being covered by the scholarship payments.
Your scholarship pays for tuition first. If the tuition is less than the scholarship cap, then ask your child’s school which fees can be billed to your scholarship. It is up to each school to decide which fees they will allow to be billed to your scholarship.
Fees that may be covered:
- Uniforms (maximum of $350 annually)
- Before and After Care
- Field Trips
- Public Transportation (metro rail or bus)
Fees that cannot be covered:
- Punitive Fees
- Late Fees
- Parent participation and/or fundraising fees
- Penalties for student behavior
- Supplies and Select Uniform Items
- Basic school supplies
- Gym shoes or sneakers
- Other Fees
- Personal transportation
- Other items not related to academic success
- Other fees your school has determined are not billable to your students scholarship
Talk with your child’s school to confirm that these fees can be covered by your scholarship. Uniform vouchers are not provided by Serving Our Children. You must contact the school directly to obtain a uniform voucher.
Summer school may be paid for if money is remaining from your student’s scholarship after:
- Tuition and all other fees have been paid, and;
- Summer school charges have been billed on time with Serving Our Children by your school. Make sure you check your family portal or contact Serving Our Children well before summer starts to check if any funds are available.
Remember, payments can only be sent to the school where your child is enrolled. To use another summer school program, talk to school officials about billing your scholarship.
Sign up for summer school early! It is your responsibility to check with your school to ensure your scholarship is billed by the third payment deadline and that you have signed a summer school registration form listing the amount you will be charged.