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DC Mayor’s Scholars Questions & Answers

OSSE updates this list of questions and answers periodically, based on requests submitted to [email protected]. If your question is not addressed here or in the content for Students or for Institutions, please let us know!

Q&A for Students & Families

  1. I am a current Mayor’s Scholars awardee. How do I re-apply for funds?
  2. What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
  3. How long will I receive funding?
  4. I have received my Mayor’s Scholars award letter. What do I do now?
  5. How does the payment process work?
  6. What expenses does the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program cover?
  7. How does the $4,000 get applied to my tuition bill?
  8. I have a course registration hold because my college hasn’t received payment. What do I do?
  9. How do I receive funds for next year?

Q&A for Institutions

  1. A student brought a Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program award letter to the financial aid office. How do I process this award?
  2. Can OSSE require repayment from my institution? How is that processed?
  3. Can my institution apply to be an eligible college or university for the Mayor’s Scholars?
  4. How can I help students attending my institution apply for this program?

Q&A for Students & Families

1. I am a current Mayor’s Scholars awardee. How do I re-apply for funds?
Recipients of Mayor’s Scholars funds must re-apply for the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program each year. Details of the next application cycle (2020-21 award year) are now available. The application will be available in April 2020. Funding is not guaranteed, is first come first serve, and is contingent upon local funds available each year. Please visit, the Application Process section for additional information.

2. What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
Applicants for the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program may document satisfactory academic progress in different ways, depending upon their applicant type. Please review the Academic Requirement and Application Documents sections for additional information. OSSE uses slightly different documents to indicate academic progress that reflect student’s individual educational journeys. Once enrolled at a college or university, students are required to demonstrate SAP based on transcripted credit. You can read more about this in the Award Information section related to Student Responsibilities.

3. How long will I receive funding?
Eligible students may receive Mayor’s Scholars funding for up to four years if you are seeking an associate degree, and up to six years if you are seeking a bachelor’s degree. The funds are available first-come, first-served, and recipients must re-apply each year. There is no guarantee applicants will receive funding.

4. I have received my Mayor’s Scholars award letter. What do I do now?
Congratulations! As a Mayor’s Scholars awardee, you should keep a copy of the award letter for your records, and show a copy of your award letter to your college or university financial aid office. This letter serves as proof that OSSE will pay your college or university and that payment will be sent each semester. Additionally, you should sign and return a copy of the award letter to the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program via email at [email protected]. If your institution needs help, you can point them to the Institutional Payment Process section.

5. How does the payment process work?
OSSE will work with your college or university to ensure that your award is received. It is important to show a copy of your award letter to your college or university financial aid office as soon as you send a signed copy to OSSE. By Sept. 15, and Feb. 15 each year, OSSE will provide each eligible college or university with a list of student awardees for the given award year. The college will be asked to submit an invoice to OSSE. After OSSE receives the invoice, payment will be sent to the university in four to 10 weeks. Participating college and universities should not penalize the students for late payment.

6. What expenses does the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program cover?
The award covers tuition and fees for the academic year (and may be used for summer terms, if requested). If you have leftover funds, you will not receive a check or reimbursement. The funding is last dollar, and will only go directly from OSSE to the college or university where you enroll.

7. How does the $4,000 get applied to my tuition bill?
The default application of funding applies half of the maximum award amount to the fall semester and half for the spring semester. However, you may choose to save some of the funding for summer semester. It is up to you, as the awardee, to communicate clearly to your college or university, and to the Mayor’s Scholars program, if this is the case. It is not the responsibility of OSSE or the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program to confirm the amount that you will receive each semester. OSSE encourages students to use additional funds available during summer sessions.

8. I have a course registration hold because my college hasn’t received payment. What do I do?
If you receive an award letter, and this happens, you should reach out to the financial aid office and/or the student accounts office on campus to handle registration holds, as necessary. The college should not penalize you for the Mayor’s Scholars payment if it’s late; however, at some colleges, students need to proactively contact the college to remove their holds. For more information, please review the information in the Award Information section.

9. How do I receive funds for next year?
You must re-apply for the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program each year. Details of the next application cycle will be available on DC Mayor's Scholars webpage. The “Traditional School Year” application will be available in April each year. Funding is not guaranteed, is first-come first-served, and is contingent upon local funds available each year. Please review the Requirements section if you have additional questions.

Q&A for Institutions

1. A student brought a Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program award letter to the financial aid office. How do I process this award?
Students are asked to submit a copy of their award letter to OSSE and their financial aid office. OSSE uses this information to generate a list of eligible students by eligible institution.
Payment requests (invoices) are provided each semester by OSSE to each college or university individually (semesters include: fall, spring, and summer), and are requested from the IHEs as soon as possible to avoid delays in students’ course scheduling timeline. IHEs may then follow-up with a request payment starting the day after the course add/drop deadline for that institution each semester. To ensure payment is completed in a timely manner, OSSE will include with the original payment request language indicating that the institution must submit final invoices no later than Feb. 1 following the fall semester, and no later than Aug. 1 following the spring/summer semester. For additional information, please review the information in the Institutional Payment Process section.

2. Can OSSE require repayment from my institution? How is that processed?
There are two ways Mayor’s Scholars may identify the need for an institution to reimburse OSSE for a Mayor’s Scholars award. First, OSSE may calculate lifetime or annual award timelines and amounts and find that a student has receive more than the maximums allowed. In this case, OSSE will request repayment from the institution that the student most recently attended. Second, if a student is included on the payment request from the institution and is then found not to be enrolled at that institution, OSSE will notify the institution of the reimbursement amount. This is unusual. For more information, please visit the Institutional Responsibilities section.

3. Can my institution apply to be an eligible college or university for the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program?
No, institutions may not apply to be eligible. OSSE reviews institutions for eligibility annually based on program offerings, distance/location, and accreditation/licensure. Programs may be added or removed during that process, and OSSE will notify the institution in either case.

4. How can I help students attending my institution apply for this program?
The Information for Students section is a good place to start. If a student is eligible to apply (new applicants or returning recipients) because they meet the requirements, then that student should review the application requirements, required documents, and submit an application prior to the application deadline.