Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), in response to inquiries from the public and the press, today said that she was delighted that in spite of the economy, the number of students who have applied and qualified for the District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) program has reached new heights. This is a positive reflection, Norton said, on DCTAG's outreach efforts and the District's education system. The spike in applications and expected enrollment, however, has led to concern about funding. Norton said DCTAG received the same funding in fiscal year 2013 ($30 million) as in previous years, but was cut by over $2 million due to sequestration. Fortunately, carry over funds filled most of the gap but that funding has now run out. This is a short-term problem inasmuch as the President's fiscal year 2014 budget requested $35 million for DCTAG, a $5 million increase. While there could be short-term adjustments to the program, the goal remains to fund every enrollee. Norton said that she was pleased that the applications for DCTAG will continue to be received until the May 31, 2013 application deadline for students, and that she appreciated DCTAG for establishing a new innovative advisory date, April 30, 2013 -- to encourage parents and students to submit their application early to ensure it is completed before the, strict May 31 deadline, after which any applications for the 2013/14 DCTAG program year will automatically be placed on a waiting list.
"I applaud the DCTAG program's outreach, which has helped lead to an the all-time high number of qualified applicants," said Norton. "I am making every effort to secure the necessary funding and I have confidence that the program will only grow stronger with the use of best practices -- as we see with the new April 30 advisory date -- to accommodate the increase in students applying earlier."
DCTAG, which Norton got enacted in 1999, provides up to $10,000 annually toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities, and up to $2,500 annually toward tuition at private colleges in the D.C. region, Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide, and two-year colleges. DCTAG has doubled college attendance among students from the District, and is considered by many experts to be the most important workforce development program in the city.