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DC College Access Act of 1999 - Fact Sheet

The Clinton Administration is delighted that the D.C. College Access Act of 1999 has been enacted into law. This legislation authorizes the Federal government, through a program run by the Mayor of D.C., to provide tuition subsidies to D.C. residents to attend colleges and universities anywhere in the nation. By providing tuition subsidies to D.C. residents, this legislation will provide more opportunities for D.C. residents to attend college, and will encourage families with college bound children to remain in, or move to, the District, thereby contributing to its revitalization. This much needed legislation was proposed in the President's FY 2000 budget that provided $17 million to fund this program. The Administration is pleased that by enactment of the legislation, D.C. residents will have access to a broad array of affordable higher education opportunities.

This legislation would not have been possible without the efforts of many people, including Congressman Davis, Delegate Norton, Senators Voinovich, Durbin, Jeffords, and Kennedy, Mayor Williams and many members of the private sector, including Donald Graham, publisher of the Washington Post. The Congressional appropriations committees should also be thanked for including $17 million for the program in the D.C. appropriations bills.


What types of tuition subsidies are available for D.C. residents under this legislation? The legislation authorizes two types of tuition subsidies for students. First, for D.C. residents who attend public colleges and universities anywhere in the nation, the program will pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition up to $10,000 per year (with a lifetime cap of $50,000 per student).

Second, for D.C. residents who attend private colleges in the Washington, D.C. area and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout Maryland and Virginia, the legislation authorizes grants of up to $2,500 per year (with a lifetime cap of $12,500 per student).

Who is eligible for these grants? To be eligible, a student must:

  1. have lived in the District of Columbia for at least 12 months before beginning the freshman year at a college or university,
  2. have graduated from high school or received the recognized equivalent of a secondary school diploma on or after January 1, 1998,
  3. have begun an undergraduate course of study within three years of graduating from high school (or obtaining the recognized equivalent of a secondary diploma),
  4. be enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate degree or certificate program and be making satisfactory academic progress, and
  5. not have completed an undergraduate baccalaureate course of study.

How do students apply for these grants? The grants are expected to be available for school beginning in the fall of 2000. Applications are available from the Mayor's office. The Mayor's office is currently developing participation agreements with eligible colleges.

What other resources are available to D.C. residents wishing to attend college? D.C. residents with financial need will continue to be eligible for Federal student aid programs such as the Pell grant program and Federal student loan programs. Additionally, the D.C. College Access Program, a private sector initiative lead by the Washington Post, has raised $17 million to fund a program that will provide scholarship money to D.C. residents, as well as providing advice and mentoring to D.C. high school students.

Who do I call for further information? Call either the college information center at (202) 393-1100 or the District of Columbia government at (202) 727-3685.

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Office of Postsecondary Education
1990 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Last updated June 22, 1999 (gkp)