Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 27. College Access Assistance.


§ 38–2701. Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a program that enables college-bound residents of the District of Columbia to have greater choices among institutions of higher education.


(Nov. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1323, Pub. L. 106-98, § 2.)


§ 38–2702. Public school program.

(a) Grants. —

(1) In general. — From amounts appropriated under subsection (i) of this section the Mayor shall award grants to eligible institutions that enroll eligible students to pay the difference between the tuition and fees charged for in-State students and the tuition and fees charged for out-of-State students on behalf of each eligible student enrolled in the eligible institution.

(2) Maximum student amounts. — An eligible student shall have paid on the student’s behalf under this section:

(A) Not more than $10,000 for any 1 award year (as defined in section 481 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1088)); and

(B) A total of not more than $50,000.

(3) Proration. — The Mayor shall prorate payments under this section for students who attend an eligible institution on less than a full-time basis.

(b) Reduction for insufficient appropriations. —

(1) In general. — If the funds appropriated pursuant to subsection (i) of this section for any fiscal year are insufficient to award a grant in the amount determined under subsection (a) of this section on behalf of each eligible student enrolled in an eligible institution, then the Mayor shall:

(A) First, ratably reduce the amount of the tuition and fee payment made on behalf of each eligible student who has not received funds under this section for a preceding year; and

(B) After making reductions under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, ratably reduce the amount of the tuition and fee payments made on behalf of all other eligible students.

(2) Adjustments. — The Mayor may adjust the amount of tuition and fee payments made under paragraph (1) of this subsection based on:

(A) The financial need of the eligible students to avoid undue hardship to the eligible students; or

(B) Undue administrative burdens on the Mayor.

(3) Further adjustments. — Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, the Mayor may prioritize the making or amount of tuition and fee payments under this subsection based on the income and need of eligible students.

(c) Definitions. — In this section:

(1) Eligible institution. — The term “eligible institution” means an institution that:

(A) Is a public institution of higher education located —

(i) In the State of Maryland or the Commonwealth of Virginia; or

(ii) Outside the State of Maryland or the Commonwealth of Virginia, but only if the Mayor:

(I) Determines that a significant number of eligible students are experiencing difficulty in gaining admission to any public institution of higher education located in the State of Maryland or the Commonwealth of Virginia because of any preference afforded in-State residents by the institution;

(II) Consults with the Committee on Government Reform of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and the Secretary regarding expanding the program under this section to include such institutions located outside of the State of Maryland or the Commonwealth of Virginia; and

(III) Takes into consideration the projected cost of the expansion and the potential effect of the expansion on the amount of individual tuition and fee payments made under this section in succeeding years;

(B) Is eligible to participate in the student financial assistance programs under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1070 et seq.); and

(C) Enters into an agreement with the Mayor containing such conditions as the Mayor may specify, including a requirement that the institution use the funds made available under this section to supplement and not supplant assistance that otherwise would be provided to eligible students from the District of Columbia.

(2) Eligible student. — The term “eligible student” means an individual who:

(A)(i) In the case of an individual who begins an undergraduate course of study within 3 calendar years (excluding any period of service on active duty in the armed forces, or service under the Peace Corps Act (22 U.S.C. § 2501 et seq.) or subtitle D of title I of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 12571 et seq.)) of graduation from a secondary school, or obtaining the recognized equivalent of a secondary school diploma, was domiciled in the District of Columbia for not less than the 12 consecutive months preceding the commencement of the freshman year at an institution of higher education;

(ii) In the case of an individual who graduated from a secondary school or received the recognized equivalent of a secondary school diploma before January 1, 1998, and is currently enrolled at an eligible institution as of April 4, 2002, was domiciled in the District of Columbia for not less than the 12 consecutive months preceding the commencement of the freshman year at an institution of higher education; or

(iii) In the case of any other individual and an individual re-enrolling after more than a 3-year break in the individual’s post-secondary education, has been domiciled in the District of Columbia for at least 5 consecutive years at the date of application;

(B)(i) Graduated from a secondary school or received the recognized equivalent of a secondary school diploma on or after January 1, 1998;

(ii) In the case of an individual who did not graduate from a secondary school or receive a recognized equivalent of a secondary school diploma, is accepted for enrollment as a freshman at an eligible institution on or after January 1, 2002; or

(iii) In the case of an individual who graduated from a secondary school or received the recognized equivalent of a secondary school diploma before January 1, 1998, is currently enrolled at an eligible institution as of April 4, 2002;

(C) Meets the citizenship and immigration status requirements described in section 484(a)(5) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1091(a)(5));

(D) Is enrolled or accepted for enrollment, on at least a half-time basis, in a degree, certificate, or other program (including a program of study abroad approved for credit by the institution at which such student is enrolled) leading to a recognized educational credential at an eligible institution;

(E) If enrolled in an eligible institution, is maintaining satisfactory progress in the course of study the student is pursuing in accordance with section 484(c) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1091(c));

(F) Has not completed the individual’s first undergraduate baccalaureate course of study; and

(G)(i) For individuals who began an undergraduate course of study prior to school year 2015-2016, is from a family with a taxable income of less than $1,000,000;

(ii) For individuals who begin an undergraduate course of study in or after school year 2016-2017 but before school year 2019-2020, is from a family with a taxable annual income of less than $ 750,000. Beginning with school year 2017-2018, the Mayor shall adjust the amounts in clauses (i) and (ii) for inflation, as measured by the percentage increase, if any, from the preceding fiscal year in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor; and

(iii) For individuals who begin an undergraduate course of study in or after school year 2019-2020, is from a family with a taxable annual income of less than $500,000. Beginning with school year 2020-2021, the Mayor shall adjust the amount in the previous sentence for inflation, as measured by the percentage increase, if any, from the preceding fiscal year in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor.

(3) Institution of higher education. — The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given the term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1001).

(4) Mayor. — The term “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia.

(5) Secondary school. — The term “secondary school” has the meaning given that term under section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 [20 U.S.C. § 7801].

(6) Secretary. — The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Education.

(d) Construction. — Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require an institution of higher education to alter the institution’s admissions policies or standards in any manner to enable an eligible student to enroll in the institution.

(e) Applications. — Each student desiring a tuition payment under this section shall submit an application to the eligible institution at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the eligible institution may require.

(f) Administration of program. —

(1) In general. — The Mayor shall carry out the program under this section in consultation with the Secretary. The Mayor may enter into a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement with another public or private entity to administer the program under this section if the Mayor determines that doing so is a more efficient way of carrying out the program.

(2) Policies and procedures. — The Mayor, in consultation with institutions of higher education eligible for participation in the program authorized under this section, shall develop policies and procedures for the administration of the program.

(3) Memorandum of agreement. — The Mayor and the Secretary shall enter into a Memorandum of Agreement that describes:

(A) The manner in which the Mayor shall consult with the Secretary with respect to administering the program under this section; and

(B) Any technical or other assistance to be provided to the Mayor by the Secretary for purposes of administering the program under this section (which may include access to the information in the common financial reporting form developed under section 483 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1090)).

(g) Mayor's report. — The Mayor shall report to Congress annually regarding:

(1) The number of eligible students attending each eligible institution and the amount of the grant awards paid to those institutions on behalf of the eligible students;

(2) The extent, if any, to which a ratable reduction was made in the amount of tuition and fee payments made on behalf of eligible students; and

(3) The progress in obtaining recognized academic credentials of the cohort of eligible students for each year.

(h) GAO report. — Beginning on November 12, 1999, the Comptroller General of the United States shall monitor the effect of the program assisted under this section on educational opportunities for eligible students. The Comptroller General shall analyze whether eligible students had difficulty gaining admission to eligible institutions because of any preference afforded in-State residents by eligible institutions, and shall expeditiously report any findings regarding such difficulty to Congress and the Mayor. In addition the Comptroller General shall:

(1) Analyze the extent to which there are an insufficient number of eligible institutions to which District of Columbia students can gain admission, including admission aided by assistance provided under this chapter, due to:

(A) Caps on the number of out-of-State students the institution will enroll;

(B) Significant barriers imposed by academic entrance requirements (such as grade point average and standardized scholastic admissions tests); and

(C) Absence of admission programs benefiting minority students;

(2) Assess the impact of the program assisted under this chapter on enrollment at the University of the District of Columbia; and

(3) Report the findings of the analysis described in paragraph (1) of this subsection and the assessment described in paragraph (2) of this subsection to Congress and the Mayor.

(i) Authorization of appropriations. — There are authorized to be appropriated to the District of Columbia to carry out this section $12,000,000 for fiscal year 2000 and (subject to § 38-2706) such sums as may be necessary for each of the 12 succeeding fiscal years. Such funds shall remain available until expended.

(j) Effective date. — This section shall take effect with respect to payments for periods of instruction that begin on or after January 1, 2000.


(Nov. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1323, Pub. L. 106-98, § 3; Apr. 4, 2002, 116 Stat. 118, Pub. L. 107-157, §§ 2, 5(b)(1); Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3637, Pub. L. 108-457, § 1(a); Oct. 24, 2007, 121 Stat. 1013, Pub. L. 110-97,§§ 1(a), 2(a); Dec. 10, 2015, 129 Stat. 1802, Pub. L. 114-95, § 9215(y); Dec. 15, 2015, 129 Stat. 2242, Pub. L. 114-113, § 818; Feb. 15, 2019, 133 Stat. 205, Pub. L. 116-6, Div. D, Title VIII, § 817.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-2704, § 38-2705, and § 38-2706.

Effect of Amendments

Public Law 107-157 rewrote subsecs. (c)(2)(A), (B), and (C); and, in subsec. (i), substituted “and (subject to § 38-2706) such sums” for “and such sums”.

Section 9215(y) of Public Law 114-95 substituted “section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965” for “section 14101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 8801)” in (c)(5).

The 2015 amendment by Pub. L. 114-113 rewrote (c)(2)(G).

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority under Public Law 106-98, the “District of Columbia College Access Act of 1999”, see Mayor’s Order 2000-45, March 24, 2000 ( 47 DCR 4720).


§ 38–2703. Assistance to the University of the District of Columbia.

(a) In General. — Subject to subsection (c) of this section, the Secretary may provide financial assistance to the University of the District of Columbia for the fiscal year to enable the university to carry out activities authorized under part B of title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1060 et seq.).

(b) Authorization of Appropriations. — There are authorized to be appropriated to the District of Columbia to carry out this section $1,500,000 for fiscal year 2000 and such sums as may be necessary for each of the five succeeding fiscal years.

(c) Special Rule. — For any fiscal year, the University of the District of Columbia may receive financial assistance pursuant to this section, or pursuant to part B of title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965 [20 U.S.C. § 1060 et seq.], but not pursuant to both this section and such part B.


(Nov. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1327, Pub. L. 106-98, § 4.)

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority under Public Law 106-98, the “District of Columbia College Access Act of 1999”, see Mayor’s Order 2000-45, March 24, 2000 ( 47 DCR 4720).


§ 38–2704. Private school program.

(a) Grants. —

(1) In general. — From amounts appropriated under subsection (f) the Mayor shall award grants to eligible institutions that enroll eligible students to pay the cost of tuition and fees at the eligible institutions on behalf of each eligible student enrolled in an eligible institution. The Mayor may prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out this section.

(2) Maximum student amounts. — An eligible student shall have paid on the student’s behalf under this section:

(A) Not more than $2,500 for any 1 award year (as defined in section 481 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1088)); and

(B) A total of not more than $12,500.

(3) Proration. — The Mayor shall prorate payments under this section for students who attend an eligible institution on less than a full-time basis.

(b) Reduction for insufficient appropriations. —

(1) In general. — If the funds appropriated pursuant to subsection (f) for any fiscal year are insufficient to award a grant in the amount determined under subsection (a) on behalf of each eligible student enrolled in an eligible institution, then the Mayor shall:

(A) First, ratably reduce the amount of the tuition and fee payment made on behalf of each eligible student who has not received funds under this section for a preceding year; and

(B) After making reductions under subparagraph (A), ratably reduce the amount of the tuition and fee payments made on behalf of all other eligible students.

(2) Adjustments. — The Mayor may adjust the amount of tuition and fee payments made under paragraph (1) based on:

(A) The financial need of the eligible students to avoid undue hardship to the eligible students; or

(B) Undue administrative burdens on the Mayor.

(3) Further adjustments. — Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), the Mayor may prioritize the making or amount of tuition and fee payments under this subsection based on the income and need of eligible students.

(c) Definitions. — In this section:

(1) Eligible institution. — The term “eligible institution” means an institution that:

(A)(i) Is a private, nonprofit, associate or baccalaureate degree-granting, institution of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1001(a)), the main campus of which is located:

(I) In the District of Columbia;

(II) In the city of Alexandria, Falls Church, or Fairfax, or the county of Arlington or Fairfax, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia located within any such county; or

(III) In the county of Montgomery or Prince George’s in the State of Maryland, or a political subdivision of the State of Maryland located within any such county;

(ii) Is eligible to participate in the student financial assistance programs under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1070 et seq.); and

(iii) Enters into an agreement with the Mayor containing such conditions as the Mayor may specify, including a requirement that the institution use the funds made available under this section to supplement and not supplant assistance that otherwise would be provided to eligible students from the District of Columbia; or

(B) Is a private historically Black college or university (for purposes of this subparagraph such term shall have the meaning given the term “part B institution” in section 322(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. § 1061(2)).

(2) Eligible student. — The term “eligible student” means an individual who meets the requirements of subparagraphs (A) through (G) of § 38-2702(c)(2).

(3) Mayor. — The term “Mayor” means the Mayor of the District of Columbia.

(4) Secretary. — The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Education.

(d) Application. — Each eligible student desiring a tuition and fee payment under this section shall submit an application to the eligible institution at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the eligible institution may require.

(e) Administration of program. —

(1) In general. — The Mayor shall carry out the program under this section in consultation with the Secretary. The Mayor may enter into a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement with another public or private entity to administer the program under this section if the Mayor determines that doing so is a more efficient way of carrying out the program.

(2) Policies and procedures. — The Mayor, in consultation with institutions of higher education eligible for participation in the program authorized under this section, shall develop policies and procedures for the administration of the program.

(3) Memorandum of agreement. — The Mayor and the Secretary shall enter into a Memorandum of Agreement that describes:

(A) The manner in which the Mayor shall consult with the Secretary with respect to administering the program under this section; and

(B) Any technical or other assistance to be provided to the Mayor by the Secretary for purposes of administering the program under this section.

(f) Authorization of appropriations. — There are authorized to be appropriated to the District of Columbia to carry out this section $5,000,000 for fiscal year 2000 and (subject to § 38-2706) such sums as may be necessary for each of the 12 succeeding fiscal years. Such funds shall remain available until expended.

(g) Effective Date. — This section shall take effect with respect to payments for periods of instruction that begin on or after January 1, 2000.


(Nov. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1327, Pub. L. 106-98, § 5; Apr. 4, 2002, 116 Stat. 119, Pub. L. 107-157, §§ 3, 5(b)(2); Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3637, Pub. L. 108-457, § 1(b); Oct. 24, 2007, 121 Stat. 1013, Pub. L. 110-97,§§ 1(b), 2(b).)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-2705 and § 38-2706.

Effect of Amendments

Public Law 107-157, in subsec. (c)(1)(B), deleted “the main campus of which is located in the State of Maryland or the Commonwealth of Virginia” at the end of the subparagraph; and, in subsec. (f), substituted “and (subject to § 38-2706) such sums” for “and such sums”.

Pub. L. 108-457, in subsec. (f), substituted “7” for “five”.

Pub. L. 110-97, in subsec. (c)(2), substituted “through (G)” for “through (F)”; and, in subsec. (f), substituted “12 succeeding fiscal years” for “7 succeeding fiscal years”.


§ 38–2705. General requirements.

(a) Personnel. — The Secretary of Education shall arrange for the assignment of an individual, pursuant to subchapter VI of chapter 33 of title 5, United States Code, to serve as an adviser to the Mayor of the District of Columbia with respect to the programs assisted under this chapter.

(b) Administrative expenses. —

(1) In general. — The Mayor of the District of Columbia may not use more than 7% percent of the total amount of Federal funds appropriated for the program, retroactive to November 12, 1999, for the administrative expenses of the program.

(2) Definition. — In this subsection, the term “administrative expenses” means any expenses that are not directly used to pay the cost of tuition and fees for eligible students to attend eligible institutions.

(c) Inspector general review. — Each of the programs assisted under this chapter shall be subject to audit and other review by the Inspector General of the Department of Education in the same manner as programs are audited and reviewed under the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).

(d) Gifts. — The Mayor of the District of Columbia may accept, use, and dispose of donations of services or property for purposes of carrying out this chapter.

(e) Local funds. — It is the sense of Congress that the District of Columbia may appropriate such local funds as necessary for the programs under §§ 38-2702 and 38-2704.

(f) Funding rule. — Notwithstanding § 38-2702 or § 38-2704, the Mayor may use funds made available:

(1) Under § 38-2702 to award grants under § 38-2704 if the amount of funds made available under § 38-2702 exceeds the amount of funds awarded under § 38-2702 during a time period determined by the Mayor; and

(2) Under § 38-2704 to award grants under § 38-2702 if the amount of funds made available under § 38-2704 exceeds the amount of funds awarded under § 38-2704 during a time period determined by the Mayor.

(g) Maximum student amount adjustments. — The Mayor shall establish rules to adjust the maximum student amounts described in §§ 38-2702(a)(2)(B) and 38-2704(a)(2)(B) for eligible students described in § 38-2702(c)(2) or § 38-2704(c)(2) who transfer between the eligible institutions described in § 38-2702(c)(1) or § 38-2704(c)(1).

(h) Dedicated account for programs. —

(1) Establishment. — The District of Columbia government shall establish a dedicated account for the programs under §§ 38-2702 and 38-2704 consisting of the following amounts:

(A) The Federal funds appropriated to carry out such programs under this chapter or any other Act.

(B) Any District of Columbia funds appropriated by the District of Columbia to carry out such programs.

(C) Any unobligated balances in amounts made available for such programs in previous fiscal years.

(D) Interest earned on balances of the dedicated account.

(2) Use of funds. — Amounts in the dedicated account shall be used solely to carry out the programs under §§ 38-2702 and 38-2704.


(Nov. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1329, Pub. L. 106-98, § 6; Apr. 4, 2002, 116 Stat. 119, Pub. L. 107-157, § 4.)

Effect of Amendments

Public Law 107-157 rewrote subsec. (b); redesignated subsecs. (e) and (f) as subsecs. (f) and (g); and added new subsecs. (e) and (h). Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: “(b) Administrative Expenses.—The Mayor of the District of Columbia may use not more than 7 percent of the funds made available for a program under § 38-2702 or § 38-2704 for a fiscal year to pay the administrative expenses of a program under § 38-2702 or § 38-2704 for the fiscal year.”


§ 38–2706. Limit on aggregate amount of federal funds for public school and private school programs.

The aggregate amount authorized to be appropriated to the District of Columbia for the programs under §§ 38-2702 and 38-2704 for any fiscal year may not exceed—

(1) $17,000,000, in the case of the aggregate amount for fiscal year 2003;

(2) $17,000,000, in the case of the aggregate amount for fiscal year 2004; or

(3) $17,000,000, in the case of the aggregate amount for fiscal year 2005.


(Nov. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1323, Pub. L. 106-98, § 7; as added Apr. 4, 2002, 116 Stat. 118, Pub. L. 107-157, § 5(a).)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-2702 and § 38-2704.