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DCTAG Prepare

Step 1

Preparing for DCTAG means gathering the information you will need for the application, and completing a few additional steps. You and/or your family will need to complete your taxes, file your FAFSA, and possibly get documents from other DC agencies.

A good first step when you consider any scholarship or grant is to see if you are eligible. DCTAG has a list of required characteristics for each applicant to meet, and information on which schools can accept DCTAG awards. This page also has links to clarify technical words, or to show you an example of a document.

  1. Can I get DCTAG for college (Am I eligible)?
  2. Can I use my DCTAG award at the college I plan to attend?
  3. What documents do I need?

a. Where can I get my tax documents?
b. Can you show me an example of the documents?

  1. Words to Know

a. Domicile - Where do you stay?
b. Expected family contribution (EFC)
c. Student Aid Report (SAR)
d. Ward of the Court

1. Can I get DCTAG for college (Am I eligible)?

DCTAG applicants must be:

  • A US citizen or have an eligible non-citizenship status;
  • One who is attending an eligible public or private college or university;
  • A District of Columbia resident for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the applicant’s first time in college and maintain continued domicile throughout the applicant’s college matriculation (NOTE: Dependent students’ (under age 24) domicile is established through the parent or guardian);
  • Not in a defaulted 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 as a regular degree-seeking student;
  • One who has not earned or received a bachelor's degree;
  • One who is not a professional or graduate-level degree candidate;
  • In compliance with Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as defined by the college/university of enrollment or accepted enrollment;
  • 26 years of age or younger; and
  • In compliance with DCTAG maximum income thresholds. To determine income level by award year and first year of postsecondary education, please review this guidance - DCTAG Maximum Income [please note, this document was updated Nov. 13, 2020. If you have questions, please contact your DCTAG Counselor.]

DCTAG students are limited to a maximum of six years of receiving awards and may not receive more than either the maximum award amount per year or the lifetime maximum award amount (these vary by institution type – please see the Students and Families Awards page for details).

2. Can I use my DCTAG award at the college I plan to attend?

This is a list of colleges and universities (institutions) that have signed the DCTAG Participation Agreement in the past. If you do not see the institution you attend or would like to attend, and it falls within an eligible category (see below), please contact the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) Postsecondary and Career Education (PCE) at (202) 727-2824. PCE will contact the institution.

DCTAG eligible institutions are: all public colleges and universities throughout the US; public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) throughout the US; all private, nonprofit colleges and universities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Proprietary schools are not eligible.

Proprietary institutions are defined, by the Internal Revenue Service, as institutions that are for profit.

3. What documents do I need?

Starting early is the key to success for getting all documents submitted before the Nov. 13 DCTAG deadline! Submitting the required items on the checklist allows the DCTAG staff to start the review process.

The DCTAG team must verify the documents you submit to make sure you are eligible for DCTAG.

DCTAG applicants can upload PDFs of required documents to the DC OneApp. All documents must be uploaded at the same time. This is why preparing all your documents in advance is important. Additional information on submitting documents can be found at the Apply & Submit page.

Helpful Hint: At this time DC Government employees are operating on a telework schedule. Students, parents and guardians may continue to apply for DCTAG online and upload their supporting documentation. We will review applications electronically and send updates by email.

We hope the checklist / lista de verificación and the example documents will help this process go smoothly for you.

3a. Where can I get my tax documents?

Many students completing the DCTAG application online are able to link the appropriate D-40 tax return to the application as evidence of meeting domicile and income requirements. This process should be the primary option for most families to use when sharing tax information with DCTAG. Please contact your student’s DCTAG counselor for assistance and support as needed.

Note: In-person visits to the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) are not possible while DC Government operates on a telework schedule. As the operating status of this office is not guaranteed throughout the DCTAG 2021-22 academic year application cycle. DCTAG added the option for students and families to provide “processed” tax documents in addition to certified tax documents for this application year. Processed means that the parent/legal guardian’s taxes have been filed for the year indicated on the checklist. A copy of the parent/legal guardian’s taxes can be submitted with other required documents.

If the DC OneApp was unable to retrieve your taxes and you are unable to get a certified or “processed” D-40 tax return, please remember that you may submit other forms of domicile verification, which are listed on the Required Supporting Document Checklist.

Reach out to your DCTAG Counselor if you have additional questions about this or other processes.

3b. Can you show me an example of the documents?

Yes. Applicants will not need all of these documents to complete their DCTAG application, but if there is a document in the checklist that you can’t figure out, this packet has an example of each document we request to look at. The year may not be exactly correct – these are just visual examples.

Example Documents

4. Words to Know

4a. Domicile - Where do you stay?

To be eligible for DCTAG, an applicant must have established domicile in the District of Columbia for at least 12 months preceding the commencement of freshman year attendance at an institution of higher education. For full eligibility requirements please see the DC Code, Title 38, Chapter 27 and DC Municipal Regulations, Title 29, Chapter 70. In the District of Columbia, the term domicile has the same meaning as term “residence” when used for the purposes of verifying eligibility to enroll in District public schools.

Domicile is a person’s permanent place of dwelling. Consequently, domicile is a combination of two factors: (1) an actual residence and (2) an intent to remain.

Federal law requires that applicants receiving DC TAG awards are domiciled within the District of Columbia. As individuals may obtain a PO Box in the District without demonstrating domicile, OSSE does not consider a PO Box an acceptable address.

4b. Expected family contribution (EFC)

The EFC is a number used by your college or university to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive. EFC is calculated using a formula that uses your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security). The formula also considers your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year.

The information you share on your FAFSA is used to calculate your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award.

Your EFC is not necessarily the amount of money your family will have to pay for college and it is also not the amount of federal student aid you will receive.

4c. Student Aid Report (SAR)

Your Student Aid Report (SAR) is a paper or electronic document that gives you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid as well as listing your answers to the FAFSA questions. Whether you receive your SAR online or on paper depends on whether you provide an email address on your FAFSA form.

If you have an FSA ID (username and password) and your FAFSA information has been processed, you can log in at fafsa.gov to view SAR information regardless of whether you filed the online or paper FAFSA form or provided an email address or not.

There is an example SAR in the documents above.

4d. Ward of the Court

A Ward of the Court or a Ward of the District of Columbia is a person (usually a minor) who has a guardian appointed by the court to care for and take responsibility for that person. In some cases the guardian may be the District of Columbia. We do not mean – “Do you live in a Ward (1-8) in DC?”


  • Note: [PDF] This document is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing.