Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement on today's D.C. Council passage of the D.C. Promise bill on First Reading.
"Residents expect me to tell them what they may not know about congressional intentions and programs. I have done that by informing the Council and the public what we have been told about the risks of the D.C. Promise bill to DCTAG. Upon learning of the Promise bill, congressional appropriators warned that if it appears the city can fund its own college access program, future funding for DCTAG would be at risk. Today, a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has seen to it that the District receives full DCTAG funding each year, publicly confirmed the risks to DCTAG.
"I regret that federal rules that apply to the District of Columbia and to every other U.S. jurisdiction may lead to the withdrawal of federal funds if similar funds are available to be provided by a local jurisdiction. DCTAG parents and students and many others need supplemental college funding, which could have been provided by this bill. They do not need to lose DCTAG.
"Every Republican and Democratic President has supported, and most often increased, DCTAG funding since it was enacted in 1999. Twenty thousand students have been educated with DCTAG funding since its inception and 5,000 D.C. students are attending college today with DCTAG funding, two-thirds of them from low-income families. The number of students applying for DCTAG has increased every year, yet, no eligible student has ever been denied funding to attend a DCTAG-eligible institution. Ironically, this is an indication that our public schools are not yet graduating enough students prepared for college. While securing DCTAG funding may become more difficult, I certainly will not give up. I will do what I always do. I will fight to save DCTAG if it is threatened with the loss of all or any part of its funding. If D.C. residents lose DCTAG funding for now or in the future, I know that they will hold the Council accountable to replace whatever funds are lost."