When I attended the George Washington University many years ago, there was a program to provide free tuition to select DC public high school graduates. It was actually program funded by GWU and not from DC or the Federal Government. For some reason, I was under the impression that DC High School Graduates were allowed to pay in-state tuition anywhere in the US.
But I recently heard something very different from one of my DC clients who was getting ready to send a kid to college. After doing a little research I found out that there are two Programs that are available to DC High School Graduates that are pretty different in their scope and missions.
The first one is the District of Columbia’s College Access Program or DC-CAP which is a privately funded non-profit organization established in 1999 to encourage and enable DC public high school students to attend and graduate from college. In 2008 they expanded their focus to specifically include DC public charter high school graduates as well. DC-CAP provides counseling and financial assistance to students who may otherwise not have the opportunity to attend or graduate from college.
According to their website, “The overwhelming majority of students served by DC-CAP are from low-income, minority, single-parent households and are the first in their families to attend college.”
Every DC public and public charter high school student is eligible for DC-CAP services, regardless of academic history, grade point average, family income, citizenship status, ethnicity, special education eligibility, delinquency or juvenile criminal history. DC-CAP continues to support the students for up to five years after high school graduation so that they have the best chance of completing their education.
The second is the DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program or DC-TAG which provides grants to DC residents who have graduated from high school or received their GED after 1998, was created by Congress in 1999. TAG dollars cover the difference in the cost between in-state and out-of-state tuition costs at any public institution in the country up to $10,000 per year. TAG grants can also be used to pay for up to $2,500 in tuition costs at any local private college or university in D.C., Maryland, or Virginia or any historically black college or university and for 2-year colleges nationwide.
To qualify, students must apply within three years of graduating and must be accepted by a participating school. TAG grants are awarded only for a student’s first undergraduate degree, and is neither a need- nor merit-based program. You must reapply each year for TAG Grants.
So, there are programs to assist DC high school graduates, but they do not automatically receive in-state tuition throughout the country
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