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DC Futures Information for Students

The DC Futures Program (DC Futures) was created to support DC residents who want to enroll in a local university and earn their first associate or bachelor’s degree.

DC Futures is a new program, and as additional information becomes available, this page and related content will be updated.

What is DC Futures?

DC Futures is SO much more than a scholarship.

Completing a degree takes more than money, especially for first-time college students. The DC Futures program will offer DC participants a variety of supports. To participate you must apply for the program each year.

  • A Scholarship – all DC Futures recipients are eligible for last-dollar scholarship of up to $8,000 a year to attend one of three approved local universities if they major in a set of program areas or majors.

AND

  • College coaching – all DC Futures recipients are required to participate in a college coaching program – either through DC Futures designated providers or through an approved program such as DCPS Persists. This support comes with a stipend of up to $1,500 a year, in addition to the scholarship.
  • Access to additional funds – all DC Futures recipients are eligible to request up to $2,000 annually in emergency funds for those expenses that come up on a rainy day. This support will be based on need and fund availability.

Whether you are interested the scholarship, coaching, career advice, or peace of mind about unforeseen college costs – we encourage you to explore the sections below, determine if you are eligible for the DC Futures program and apply!

The application that opened Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 offers scholarship funds for the spring (and summer) 2022 semester. The application for the 2022-23 school year opens Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. Eligible individuals are invited to review the information below and apply here.

Eligibility and Application

Eligibility Requirements
  • You have been a resident of the District of Columbia for the last 12 months
    • Note: For most students under 24 years old, your residency is determined by your parents. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) uses federal guidelines on issues of student dependency status.
  • You are accepted or enrolled part- or full-time at one of the following eligible universities: The Catholic University of America, Trinity Washington University, the University of the District of Columbia OR University of the District of Columbia – Community College
  • You are seeking your first associate or bachelor’s degree
    • Individuals who have previously received a bachelor’s degree are not eligible to apply for the DC Futures program. Individuals who hold an associate or bachelor’s degree that is not recognized in the US are eligible to participate in this program.
  • You are majoring in a high-demand field.
  • You can demonstrate financial need based on annual household income.
    • Your household income aligns with the table below. For families/households with more than eight persons, add $18,160 for each additional person. Please reference the checklist on page 6 of the handbook to understand the documents you will need to provide in order to demonstrate your eligibility.

Please reference the checklist on page 6 of the Handbook to understand the documents you will need to provide in order to demonstrate your eligibility.

Renewal Criteria

Applicants seeking funding in subsequent years are expected to meet the following program participation terms. You will remain eligible for DC Futures if:

  • You continue to meet the eligibility requirements detailed above.
  • You participate regularly in required College Coaching.

DC Futures participants will be required to participate in college coaching with a designated coaching provider assigned by OSSE, unless you are already in an approved college coaching program (see DC Futures College Coaching Substitutions section). Either option will help you navigate structural and academic barriers to college persistence and completion and can help you plan for your future career. If you don’t engage with your coach, your eligibility for future DC Futures participation is jeopardized.

  • You are on track to earn your degree.
    • As a DC Futures participant, you are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) as determined by the university you attend, as well as satisfy the minimum credit requirements outlined below.

  • Complete annual application to provide updated information and documentation.
    • The application for the 2022-23 award period will open in February 2022, and all applicants from the pilot period will need to reapply.
Application Process

The DC Futures program application is online. Before you create an account and complete that application, it is helpful to take care of a few things first.

  1. Before you apply.
    • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2022-23 school year, if eligible and get a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR). 
    • Review the DC Futures Application User Guide. This is a step-by-step guide to help applicants complete the online application. For full eligibility criteria please refer to the Handbook.

    • Document DC residency and financial need by completing ONE of the following:
      • 2022-23 DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) application OR

      • 2022-23 Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program application OR 

      • Use the table below to identify the documents you will need to provide (if you choose this option, please provide each document you need in one of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .jpeg). Please choose one from Column A AND one from Column B: 

2. Complete DC Futures Application Online

To complete the application, please:

  • Create an account.
  • Submit your personal information (name, contact information, parent/guardian information, if applicable) as well as planned university enrollment information through the online scholarship application.
  • Provide the documents that show you meet the residency, academic, and financial requirements (applicants are expected to submit all documents electronically and will only be able to submit documents in-person in the case of an extenuating circumstance).
  • Provide permission for OSSE to share relevant data with DC Futures partners to make sure you receive services in an efficient manner.
  • Look for a confirmation email stating that your application is complete.

For application support, please contact OSSE at [email protected] or (202) 741- 6406.

Application Timeline

All applications (including all supporting documents) must be submitted before the appropriate deadline.

All applicants will be notified of their program eligibility via email on a rolling basis (this includes notification of denial because of ineligibility for any reason).

Applicants on the waitlist who are granted an award will be notified via email.

OSSE will work with your university to process your scholarship in a timely manner. The actual scholarship amount will be determined by your university and funds may not be disbursed if your tuition and fees will be covered by other funding sources (e.g., Pell Grant, other scholarships, etc.).

Please note: If your tuition and fees are covered by other sources, you are STILL eligible for other components of this program including coaching, coaching stipends, and emergency funds.

Reconsideration Process

If you apply and the DC Futures Program staff determine you are ineligible, you may request that DC Futures reconsider the decision by sending a letter stating the reason(s) you believe you were eligible for the funding. Only documents submitted with the initial application will be considered under reconsideration. All reconsideration requests must be submitted via email or regular mail within 15 business days from the date of the ineligibility email that included the notification letter.

A designated OSSE team will review the documentation and provide you with a written response documenting the results of the reconsideration process via email within 10 business days of an appeal being received. The results of the reconsideration process are final.

Reconsideration request packets (letter and supporting documentation) must be sent to the DC Futures program manager, preferably via email at [email protected]

OR

DC Futures Program

OSSE Postsecondary and Career Education

1050 First St. NE, Fifth Floor

Washington, DC 20002

Award Details

Scholarship

Once you meet eligibility requirements for the DC Futures program, you may receive a last dollar scholarship on a first-come, first-served basis and as outlined under the program’s priorities, which are subject to change. OSSE reserves the right to make final funding determinations based available funds. Eligible applicants who are not granted funding because of funding restrictions or space in a designated DC Futures College Coaching provider will be placed on a waitlist managed by OSSE. Applicants on the waitlist will be notified via email if an award becomes available.

Maximum Scholarship Amounts

DC Futures provides funding to participants pursuing their first associate degree or their first bachelor’s degrees as detailed below:

College Coaching & Stipend

You will be required to participate in college coaching with a designated DC Futures College Coaching provider assigned by OSSE, unless you are already in an approved college coaching program (see below). This provider will help you navigate structural and academic burdens to college persistence and completion and can help you plan for your future career. If you don’t engage with appropriate coaching, your eligibility for future DC Futures scholarships and supports will be jeopardized.

DC Futures College Coaching Substitutions

Participants who are also DCPS Persists participants may apply to substitute their DCPS Persists coach in place of their DC Futures College Coach. To request a substitution, you must submit a substitution form to your DC Futures Coaching provider. Unless you submit a substitution form and that request is approved you are required to participate with your designated DC Futures College Coaching provider.

If your substitution is approved, you are STILL eligible for other elements of this program including scholarship funds and coaching stipends.

DC Futures College Coaching Stipends

DC Futures College Coaching providers also provide the program’s participation incentives. Even if your substitution is approved, your DC Futures College Coaching provider will manage the coaching stipend.

The coaching stipend will be administrated by your designated DC Futures College Coaching provider on a monthly basis, depending on engagement. To receive the stipend, you must engage at least monthly with your provider. Each provider may have their own process for disbursing these funds.

Emergency Funds

DC Futures participants are eligible to apply for emergency funds. Emergency funds may be applied towards unexpected emergency expenses related to cost of attendance (i.e., food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, & childcare, etc.).

Requests for emergency funds will be processed by an OSSE designated vendor. Details on the process of requesting these funds will be shared with eligible participants at the start of their award period.

Fund requests are subject to the following annual award caps.

Unpaid Previous Year Balances at another College or University

In addition to annual emergency funds DC Futures participants can also to receive a one-time amount of funds to pay a previous years’ unpaid balance at another college or university. These funds are intended to enable students to access transcripts and credits that can be applied to their current program. Participants can receive up to $1,500 in total for these purposes. Details on the process of requesting these funds will be shared with eligible participants at the start of their award period.

Ensure that you have a valid debit or credit card to successfully submit the online payment.

Program Time Limits

No DC Futures recipient may participate in the program for more than six years if pursuing a bachelor’s degree or three years if pursuing an associate degree (the time limit represents years of receiving awards, not the time since the first award was received). For participants who earn an associate degree and choose to remain enrolled to earn a bachelor’s, OSSE will subtract the total received from the new maximum (bachelor’s level).

Participant Responsibilities

The DC Futures program includes a coaching component as well as the scholarships. As you apply for the program each year, please review these responsibilities.

1. Notify OSSE whether you will accept or reject the program offer.

Applicants have two weeks to notify OSSE via email if they will accept or deny the award, and the terms of the program.

2. Take a copy of your DC Futures program award letter to your university financial aid office as soon as possible, so it can be applied to your invoice. You may want to keep the original for your records.

Please note: It is the participant’s responsibility to work with their university to ensure payment requests are submitted in a timely manner. Untimely or improperly submitted payment requests may prevent an eligible participant from receiving DC Futures funding or from receiving funding in a timely fashion.

3. Stay focused on your academic goals. Remember, DC Futures participation is conditional and may be canceled at any time if eligibility or program requirements are not met.

Participants who join the spring and summer 2022 semester pilot program must enroll in a minimum of six credits for the term of the award if enrolled part-time and 12 credits if enrolled full-time. If your circumstances vary, please contact OSSE at [email protected] or (202) 741-6406.

4. Stay engaged with the DC Futures College Coaching provider you are assigned to each year.

Your coach is there to help support you throughout your college journey. If you do not engage with your designated DC Futures College Coaching provider, your eligibility for future DC Futures scholarships and supports will be jeopardized.

Participants granted an DCPS Persist substitution are still expected to engage with their approved college coaching program.

5. If you need help – coaching stipends or academic support – reach out to your designated DC Futures College Coaching provider.

DC Futures College Coaching providers manage the coaching stipends. Even for participants with approved substitutions your DC Futures College Coaching provider will manage the stipend.

The main goal is to complete your degree, and your coach can help address any challenges that come your way.

Transfers

While participating in DC Futures, there are several considerations around transfers that might be relevant to you.

DC Futures requires enrollment at one of the three eligible universities. If you transfer between semesters, you should notify OSSE at [email protected] or (202) 741-6406.

Regardless of timing, if you are transferring to one of the other DC Futures eligible universities, you will provide a financial aid letter from your new university (also called a receiving institution).

However, if you are transferring to a college or university that is not eligible for DC Futures, you are no longer eligible for DC Futures and should contact OSSE at [email protected] or (202) 741-6406 to formally withdraw from the program.

If you transfer from an associate degree program to a bachelor’s degree program, award caps (both annual and lifetime), as well as award time limits, will reflect the highest limits and caps (bachelor’s level). For additional information, review the section on Maximum Scholarship Amounts and Time Limits.

Changes in Major or Program of Study

Applicants will be asked to indicate their intent to pursue a major associated with a high-demand field when applying for DC Futures (see Eligibility Criteria). Your enrollment in an approved program for the current year will be verified by your university after you apply. OSSE will update approved fields and related programs annually.

You may transfer between approved programs without penalty.

DC Futures offers support to applicants pursuing majors on the approved list. If you change to a major not on this list, you will no longer be eligible for DC Futures programming and you should contact OSSE at [email protected] or (202) 741-6406 to formally withdraw from the program.

If an eligible major is removed from the list of approved programs after your first award year, participants remain eligible if the following criteria are met:

  • You remain enrolled in the same university, program, and major.
  • You apply for DC Futures each consecutive year.
  • You continue to meet all other eligibility criteria.