My sister and her family have been living in London for the past few years.  They had a great opportunity to try on the life of the ex-pat for three years through her husband’s work.  It has been a fantastic time for their family, and they have had many adventures, and enriching experiences.  But their oldest is a senior in high school, and they are looking at colleges back on this side of the Atlantic.  Like the rest of the US population, my sister and her husband are reeling with sticker shock from the price tags of college tuition.

But, they’ve figured out a pretty cool thing.  If they move back to Washington, D.C., instead of Bethesda (the difference of just a few miles), where they lived before London, their kids could be eligible for reduced tuition prices at public colleges and universities across the country, or private colleges in Washington, D.C.  

The DC College Access Act of 1999, also known as the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program, provides tuition subsidies to D.C. residents to attend public colleges and universities throughout the nation and private colleges and universities in the D.C. metropolitan area. D.C. residents attending private, historically black colleges and universities in Virginia are also eligible for tuition subsidies.

According to the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the “DCTAG expands higher education choices for District residents by providing grants of up to $10,000 toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico. The grant also provides up to $2,500 per academic year toward tuition at private colleges in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide, and two-year colleges nationwide. DCTAG is neither need nor merit-based.”

There are just a few requirements:  1) students must currently live in D.C., and must have lived there for at least 12 months prior to their freshman year of college; 2) students must have graduated from high school (or received their GED) on or after January 1, 1998, and must have begun their freshman year of college within 3 years of graduating; 3) students must be enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate degree or certificate program; and 4) students must not have already completed an undergraduate degree.

Now, this is not an option everyone can exercise.  But, if you live in D.C., this tuition assistance program can cover a big chunk of the cost of college at literally hundreds of colleges and universities across the country, including many prestigious names.   

For more information, contact the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program office: 

• For D.C. residents: (202) 727-2824 

• For Toll Free: (877) 485-6751 

• TTY: (202) 727-1675 

• For information in Spanish call (202) 727-8450 

• Website: 

One reply on “College Tuition Breaks for D.C. Residents”

  1. Wow! What a great opportunity for a huge number of families in the gap between those who can afford anything and those who can afford nothing. If you can afford to move to DC before the child’s senior year, it seems a lock to fulfill the requirements. And some of the high schools in DC are not too shabby: St Albans was good enough for Chelsea Clinton, right? And Gonzaga is no slouch. Then, if you live in DC and attend high school in the nearby suburbs (which seems to fit), the possibilities are even wider. A bonus of $10K per year would offset a good bit of moving costs, no? Especially if there is more than one to put through college. The only thing this program seems to lack is publicity. Do we think that more than fifteen residents of the District, with children in public high schools, know about this? Is there any funding in the budget for outreach? Or is this an opportunity for some politician to say in the future, “But see we offered this aid, and no one used it. They just don’t care enough.” And don’t think for a minute that no one would do that. You know better.

Comments are closed.