Student Financial Aid

Congresswoman Norton has made special efforts to increase college attendance in the District of Columbia. In 1999, Norton’s D.C. College Act became law, creating the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program (DCTAG), which provides higher education opportunities for D.C. students equal to those available to other Americans, by granting up to $10,000 annually for in-state tuition at most public colleges, and up to $2,500 annually to attend private institutions in D.C. and the region.  DCTAG has doubled college attendance rates in D.C., now up to 60 percent, which is 10 points above the national average. The program has served 14,458 D.C. students over the past decade and provided $219 million in tuition grants to more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide.

To apply for DCTAG, visit the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s website at or call (202) 727-2824 for more information.

DCTAG information from the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education:

DCTAG Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be:

  • A US citizen or have eligible non-citizenship status.
  • One who is attending an eligible public or private college or university.
  • A District of Columbia resident at least twelve (12) consecutive months prior to the applicant’s first time in college and continued residency throughout the applicant’s college matriculation.
  • Not in default status with federal student loans.
  • A high school graduate or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) recipient.
  • Accepted for enrollment in, or working towards, a first undergraduate degree on, at least, a half-time basis.
  • One who has not earned or received a bachelor's degree. 
  • One who is not a professional or graduate-level degree candidate.
  • Meet and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the college/university of enrollment or accepted enrollment.
  • 24 years of age or younger, unless enrolled in the program prior to 2006-2007 academic year.
  • DCTAG is limited to applicants whose District of Columbia Taxable Income does not exceed $1 million annually.

DCTAG Award Amounts

  • Up to $10,000 per academic year (a maximum of $5,000 per semester) toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public colleges and universities in the US, Guam and Puerto Rico (award will be reduced for less than full-time enrollment) for a lifetime maximum of $50,000. Awards are limited to a maximum of six (6) years from the date of the first semester the student is enrolled in college.
  • Up to $2,500 per academic year (a maximum of $1,250 per semester) for private HBCUs, nationwide, and private colleges/universities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, for a lifetime maximum of $12,500. Awards are limited to a maximum of six (6) years from the date of the first semester the student is enrolled in college.
  • Up to $2,500 per academic year (a maximum of $1,250 per semester) toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at two year community colleges, for a lifetime maximum of $10,000.  Awards are limited to a maximum of four (4) years from the date of the first semester the student is enrolled in college.

Awards will be reduced for less than full-time enrollment, with no eligibility below the half-time level.

Awards do not cover the summer or mini-terms.

Successful completion of the DC One-App does not guarantee award funding. Funding is subject to annual appropriation as approved and provided by the District of Columbia and United States Federal Government.

DCTAG Eligible Institutions

  • All public colleges/universities throughout the US, Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • Public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) throughout the US, Guam and Puerto Rico.
  • All private colleges and universities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Proprietary institutions are not eligible. Proprietary institutions are defined, by the Internal Revenue Service, as institutions that are for-profit.

For a list of colleges and universities currently participating in DCTAG please view the DCTAG Participating Colleges.  If you are a student attending a college or universities who does not currently participating in DCTAG and is an eligible institution please have your college or university contact the DCTAG office to learn how to participate in DCTAG.

DC OneApp counselors are happy to provide more information on DCTAG participating and eligible institutions.  Counselors may be reached at 202-727-2824 between the hours of 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.


The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation offers scholarships to eligible Washington, D.C. students.  Click here for submission deadlines, or visit their site for more infomation.  


Financial Aid for Students

Guides students through the process of locating and applying for financial aid. Prepared by the Congressional Research Service for Members of Congress, updated April 2015.

The basics: getting started


Student aid and where it comes from


Basic assistance categories:

  • Financial need-based
    Remember that students and their parents are responsible for paying what they can -- financial aid is a supplement, not a substitute, for family resources.

  • Non need-based
    Factors include academic excellence, ethnic background, or organization membership. Corporations may also offer assistance to employees and children.

Federal Student Aid:

States offer residents a variety of scholarships, loans, and tuition exemptions.

Colleges and universities provide some 20% of aid, most need-based. Check university Web sites and the institution’s financial aid office when you apply for admission.

Private foundations, corporations, and organizations offer scholarships or grants:
College Board Scholarship Search
Grants for Individuals

Targeted aid for special groups


Interested in public service?

Federal assistance programs seek to encourage people to work in geographic areas or professions where there’s a particular need (such as doctors in underserved areas); encourage underrepresented groups to enter a particular profession; and provide aid in exchange for services provided (such as military service).

Aid for private K-12 education: No direct federal assistance, check with schools themselves:

Repaying your loans


After college, the federal government has ways to help you repay your loans.