Kicking Off Fair Shot February, Mayor Bowser Launches $12 Million DC Futures Program to Provide Residents with Tuition and Financial Supports to Earn Degrees in High-Demand Fields
(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off Fair Shot February by launching the DC Futures Program, a new college tuition and support program for DC residents seeking a degree in a high-demand career field at three local universities. When added to other financial aid, DC Futures will completely cover financial need for many participants, making the cost of college free. The program, created through a $12 million investment by Mayor Bowser and offered through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), provides tuition, coaching, and financial supports to DC residents pursuing their first associate or bachelor’s degree in high-demand career fields, including Information Technology, Health Science, and Education. Throughout Fair Shot February, Mayor Bowser will host her annual Budget Engagement Forums and highlight programs and opportunities that put Washingtonians on pathways to the middle class.
“When we support the career dreams of Washingtonians, that is the type of fair shot that can change the trajectory of someone’s life,” said Mayor Bowser. “The DC Futures Program is a critical investment that will help break down traditional barriers to post-secondary education and provide more Washingtonians with the supports they need to succeed in college.”
Participants may attend select local universities, including the University of the District of Columbia and the University of the District of Columbia Community College, Catholic University of America, or Trinity Washington University. In addition to providing residents with up to $8,000 in tuition support, the DC Futures Program also provides wrap-around services and supports, such as college coaching and access to emergency funds to help cover the cost of additional and unexpected expenses like food, housing, healthcare and child care. This support comes with a possible stipend of up to $1,500 per year.
This spring, OSSE launched a pilot of the DC Futures Program, and 304 residents are participating, including 38 paraprofessionals and instructional aides. The paraprofessionals and instructional aides in the pilot will each receive tuition support, a stipend, and coaching as they earn their degree and pursue a path toward a lead teacher role.
The addition of DC Futures expands access to the District’s existing postsecondary support options, including the DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG) and the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program (Mayor’s Scholars). Applications for those programs also open on February 1, 2022. Together, these three programs will support the postsecondary plans of more than 5,500 DC residents. Residents are invited to apply for all three postsecondary support options, which will offer more than $50 million dollars in financial aid and postsecondary supports to DC residents in the 2022-2023 award year.
“OSSE is committed to maintaining DC’s momentum toward increasing postsecondary enrollment, and early in 2021 we identified investments in postsecondary education as an exciting and worthwhile use of economic recovery funds with Mayor Bowser’s leadership,” said State Superintendent Christina Grant. “We are excited to expand access to financial aid options for DC residents pursuing postsecondary education. Tuition support is essential and, when paired with the additional supports of coaching and access to emergency funds, DC Futures will be an excellent catalyst for helping our residents start and complete their higher education goals.”
Residents are encouraged to learn about each opportunity and apply for those that best suit their postsecondary plans. DC residents may be eligible to apply for all three opportunities, but awards depend on criteria that vary by program including the applicant’s high school, age, postsecondary institution, cost of attendance, family income, and college major.
These investments support progress toward OSSE’s ambitious goal to support the enrollment of 1,100 additional students in postsecondary education by 2023 from our 2019-23 strategic plan. Interested individuals must re-apply to each program annually, and each program has a separate application.
Since the first DCTAG awards were made in 2000, the program has helped more than 32,000 students make tuition payments at more than 500 institutions across 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands.
To learn more about DC Futures, DCTAG, or Mayor’s Scholars, please visit osse.dc.gov/page/scholarships-and-grants-students.