Washington DC Student Grants for College

Finding Grant Money in the Nation's Capitol

A college degree is becoming more and more important for finding jobs. Unfortunately, the price of tuition is increasing as well. There are many scholarship and grant opportunities for students who can’t afford college on their own.

Benefits for Going Back to School

There are many adult workers reach their highest level of employment in their occupations. They realize the need for more training and knowledge and decide to return to school and complete their degree. Many companies offer to help pay for the costs of a higher education, and there are specific grant opportunities for these non-traditional students.

Grants vs Scholarships & LoansDC grants

Grants and scholarships are similar, with only a handful of differences. They are both different than loans, because loans are required to be paid back. Grants are essentially free money given to qualified students. Each grant is different; some are awarded based on merit, some are based on need. They are given out by states and the federal government (the government is actually the biggest provider of grants in the U.S.).

Grants in Washington DC

Washington D.C. is home to many respected colleges and universities, with over 35 in the area. Some of the most well known include Johns Hopkins University, Loyola College, and Georgetown University. The quality of these educations goes to show the level of dedication D.C. has to higher education. The rest of this article is dedicated to grants funded by the State Education Office and other organizations.

The DC Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG)

The DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program was designed specifically to target the most disadvantaged students living throughout Washington D.C who are interested in attaining a degree beyond high school.  Students who have graduated from high school after 1998 are eligible for this grant. There are two options for those students who qualify for the DC Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG):

1. Public College for disadvantaged Undergraduate students: The public institution portion covers the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at any school in the nation. A maximum of $10,000 can be awarded to qualified students for no more than six years.

2. Private College for disadvantaged Undergraduate students: If a student is planning on attending a private university for college the TAG grant will pay for up to $2,500 in tuition costs. These private schools must be in the D.C. area, Maryland, or Virginia or any historically black college or university.

Eligibility Requirements

Students applying for the DC Tuition Assistance Grant are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be a DC resident for at least 12 months prior to entering college
  • Not be in default on any student loans.
  • Must be a high school graduate or have a General Equivalency Diploma.
  • Have no bachelor’s degree if going back to college.
  • The student must meet and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by their particular institution.
  • 24 years old or younger.
  • Taxes must not exceed $1 million annually.

Application Process

Applying for the TAG involves a three step process. First, students must complete the DC OneApp. Secondly, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. All students who are looking for any federal grant must complete this application. Finally, students must provide the DC OneApp required supporting documents listed here.

The DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) Last Dollar Awards

The DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) is a nonprofit organization encouraging and helping students enroll in and graduate from college. they offer the Last Dollar Award to DC Public School graduates attending a two or four-year college or university. Students who demonstrate financial aid are eligible for up to $2,070 per year for up to five years of school.

Eligibility Requirements

This is a need-based scholarship for students who demonstrate financial need. To be eligible for this award, students must be a graduate of a DC Public High School from 2009 through today. Also, students must have a high school GPA of at least 2.0 to be selected.

Application Process: The application process is very simple.  In addition to proof of Student Aid Report, all you have to do is submit a completed the DC-CAP Authorization Form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the DC TAG Applications.

Loyola College

Loyola University offers many grants to students that need or deserve them the most:

  • The Loyola Grant is awarded to full-time students who demonstrate financial need. This award provides funding from $200 to $38,500.
  • Claver Grants are awarded to minority students who have exceptional financial need. Anywhere from $200 to $38,500 can be awarded depending on financial need.
  • Any student who has graduated from a Maryland high school is eligible for the Howard P. Rawlings Maryland Educational Assistance Grant. Students must demonstrate financial need in order to be considered. Anywhere from $400 to $3,000 per year can be awarded.

For information on other grants that Loyola offers, check out their grants page.

Georgetown University

Georgetown provides disadvantages students with financial aid through their own need-based grant program. The University offers up thousands of dollars in scholarship and grant programs, offering students up to $35,000 in financial aid depending on requirements and eligibility being met.

Grant Opportunities

If you have the drive and dedication to succeed in school, there are countless funding opportunities available to you. Students have enough to worry about in college to be bothered with trying to fund it. Washington DC is trying to make this process painless to let students focus all of their attention on their studies.

Discontinued Programs

The following archived programs are no longer offered.

The DC Adoption Grant

Update: According to the Government of the District of Columbia's Office of the State Superintendent of Education Postsecondary & Career Education Higher Education Financial Services Operations Manager Kenneth Howard, the funding base for this program was completely exhaused in the 2014-2015 school year.

The D.C. Adoption Scholarship is an award given to District of Columbia children that are adopted through D.C. Child and Family Services Agency. Students are able to receive up to $10,000 per year for six years. Students who have lost one or both of their parents in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are also eligible for this award.

Eligibility Requirements

There are certain eligibility requirements students need to meet to receive this award.

  • Must be a US citizen.
  • Be a resident of Washington DC for 12 months prior to applying.
  • (Be in good academic standing at your institution.
  • Be a U.S or eligible non-U.S citizen.
  • Not in default on any student loans.
  • No older than 25 years old.
  • Having no previous holds or debts from student or federal loans.
  • Applicants must be accepted in an eligible institution or already working towards a degree at an eligible institution on at least a part-time basis (converts to at least 6 credit hours in a semester)

The DC Adoption Grant is not given to those pursuing a professional or graduate-level degree.

The DC Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP)

Update: This was a federally funded program which was defunded after the 2010-2011 school year.

The DC Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (DCLEAP) is a grant given to Washington DC residents who have financial need. The funds received are to go towards tuition and other fees associated attending college.  Up to $950 is awarded per academic year for a maximum of six years and $5,700. Students must be attending college full-time for the maximum amount of funding. If they are enrolled for less than half-time no funds will be received. These awards don’t cover summer or mini-terms.

Eligibility Requirements

Students wishing to gain access to the LEAP grant will adhere to the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S or eligible non-U.S citizen.
  • Must be a resident of Washington DC for at least 12 consecutive months prior to applying.
  • Be a high school graduate.
  • Not in default on any federal student loans.
  • Must meet and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by their particular university.
  • Must demonstrate financial need.

Application Process

Students are required submit additional supporting documents to apply. The additional forms include:

  • Student Aid Report.
  • Certified DC Income Tax Return.


  • Twelve Month Income/Benefit History Statement.
  • One Current Utility Bill.
  • Proof of High School Completion.
  • Unofficial College Transcript.
  • Affirmation and Legal Disclaimer Statement.




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