Washington, D.C. Scholarships and Grants

Do You Need Money for School in D.C.?

The District of Columbia offers financial aid to college students through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), an agency that functions just like similar agencies in state governments. The office has set up a page collecting its information on scholarships and grants, for which you can apply in a unified online process called the DC OneApp.

For the 2013-2014 school year, the district has limited funds available to help college students, so residents are urged to complete the DC OneApp process as quickly as possible to maximize their chances to receive assistance. If you need counseling on how to prepare for college and obtain the necessary financing, a nonprofit called the District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP) has been established to advise you on how the process works. Current District of Columbia financial aid programs are discussed below.

Grants From the District of Columbia

District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grantdc financial aid

The District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) program provides a maximum of $10,000 per year to cover the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year institutions of higher education so that District of Columbia students can attend schools elsewhere. The most you can collect is $50,000 after a six-year period has elapsed.

If you enroll in a public two-year school, you receive $2,500 a year, capped at $10,000 overall. And if you choose one of the four-year historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), or a private school in the District of Columbia metro area, the annual maximum is $2,500 and the lifetime limit $12,500.

Note: For the public two-year school DCTAG grants, the award period is limited to four years rather than six.

Eligibility criteria for DCTAG include the following requirements. You must:

  • Be a U. S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Attend an approved institution.
  • Have lived in the District of Columbia for at least one year before your first enrollment in college, and you must continue to so reside until you graduate. If you are still a dependent under 24, your parents’ residency governs.
  • Be seeking a first degree at least half-time and maintaining satisfactory progress.
  • Not be in default on a student loan from the U. S. government.
  • Be 24 at most.

District of Columbia Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program

The District of Columbia Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (DCLEAP) provides grants for as much as $950 per year to residents of the District of Columbia. The most you can collect overall is $5,700 and there is a six-year limit on receiving the award. At least half-time attendance is necessary for eligibility, and the amount of the grant will be prorated accordingly.

Only courses taken in the fall and spring semesters will qualify, and you may apply for DCLEAP using the DC OneApp. Eligibility criteria for DCLEAP are almost identical to those for DCTAG, with one main difference: you must meet the standard promulgated by the U. S. Department of Education for financial need in order to win DCLEAP funding, while DCTAG is available to any student with an annual household income of less than a million dollars, as of 2013.

Scholarships From the District of Columbia

District of Columbia Adoption Scholarship

The District of Columbia Adoption Scholarship (DCAS) program pays a benefit similar to that given by DCTAG to students at public four-year schools (that is, maximums of $10,000 each year and $50,000 overall). DCAS assists student who live in the District of Columbia and were adopted or lost a parent as a result of 9/11. Since the district has restricted academic funding for the current year, you should check with OSSE to make sure the DCAS program is active when you need to apply.

Aid Recommended by the District of Columbia

United States Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is an excellent government scholarship offer that does not get a great deal of publicity, and it’s commendable of OSSE to spotlight it. USSYP involves outstanding students in activities undertaken in the course of government business, sending them to hear legislators and members of the President’s cabinet speak.

It’s a very important opportunity designed to attract top performers into public service, and USSYP selects only students from the top one percent of class rankings, choosing two from each state plus the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity, which educates children of military servicemembers abroad. The honor comes with an award of $5,000 for college tuition.

Financial Aid From Schools

Many schools in the DC metro area sponsor their own financial aid programs, like the following examples:

  • Georgetown University maintains separate listings for undergraduate and graduate scholarships.
  • The University of the District of Columbia is an HBCU that provides its own scholarships and also works with a prominent nonprofit scholarship provider called the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
  • Another HBCU, prestigious Howard University, has posted a comprehensive guide to its financial support for students here.


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