The Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program (Mayor’s Scholars) was created to support DC students who want to enroll in a college or university to get their associate or bachelor’s degree. Before you can complete an application, the first step is to determine if you are eligible for the program.
The application for the 2023-24 award year closed Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 at 3 p.m. EDT.
Your eligibility to apply for Mayor’s Scholars depends on if you are a returning awardee or a new applicant. Review the descriptions below to see if you are eligible for either group.
1. Are you a returning awardee of the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program? This means you were an awardee during the 2022-23 school year.
2. Are you a new applicant? This means you were either:
- A graduate of a public high school in the District of Columbia (including DCPS and public charters), within the years 2009-2023, or
- An older youth or adult learner who passed the GED or earned a diploma through the National External Diploma Program (NEDP), within the years 2009-2023.
If you are eligible to apply, then you can prepare to complete the online application. To complete the application, you must also show that you meet residency, academic, financial need, and enrollment requirements. These requirements are described below, and each one is related to a document you will submit in the online application.
If you have questions about these requirements or the documents you need for the online application, please email [email protected].
You have been a resident of the District of Columbia for the last 12 months.
- If you will complete a 2023-24 award year DCTAG application (including supporting documents), you are not required to submit documents again.
- If you are not DCTAG eligible, or did not complete a DCTAG application, you must submit (online) documents from this list:
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:
You meet all academic eligibility criteria. You need to show that you are making (or will make) satisfactory academic progress. Please note: The documents you must submit to show this are different depending on the type of applicant (returning awardee or a new applicant). OSSE uses this information to understand your commitment to higher education to show us that the funds will be used to support progress toward completion of a degree.
- New applicants who are current or recent high school students must provide their final transcript indicating a minimum GPA of 2.5. If you provide a current, but not final high school transcript, Mayor’s Scholars staff will request a final transcript prior to approval, if you meet all other eligibility criteria.
- New applicants who are currently seeking a GED/NEDP must provide a letter of recommendation from a teacher, professor, program director, principal, dean, or advisor at the high school, employer, or community-based organization.
- Returning applicants for Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program must provide their final college transcript (unofficial or official) or other proof of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at their current college or university. SAP is defined by each college or university, and typically includes a GPA of 2.0 or higher in addition to minimum credits earned.
- New and returning applicants who have already enrolled in a college or university, who are not current awardees, must also provide their final college transcript (unofficial or official) to demonstrate a college GPA of 2.0 or higher.
To maintain academic eligibility for Mayor’s Scholars once you enroll in an eligible institution of higher education (IHE), you must meet SAP each semester. Online courses are allowable if they satisfy institution requirements for SAP. If you do not meet SAP at the end of an academic year, you will not be eligible to apply for the next academic year. However, after one year of ineligibility based on academic minimums, you could re-apply for Mayor’s Scholars funds if your college or university determines you have met SAP.
You meet all financial eligibility criteria. Typically, an applicant's financial need is determined by their parent/guardian’s financial situation. OSSE follows guidance and policy of the federal government in regard to student/parent dependency situations. Eligible applicants must demonstrate financial need, and the amounts are updated each year. In 2022-23, Mayor’s Scholars shifted from using Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the Federal Poverty Guidelines. These are for the 2023-24 award year.
- Applicants must have a District household taxable income below 300 percent of the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the US Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2).
Income Eligibility Table 2023-24 Award Year (updated as of February 2023)
- Applicants can establish income eligibility through DC taxes or other eligible documents detailed in the Domicile Verification table above. Applicants can also be deemed income eligible based on their participation in DC’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Applicants may also demonstrate need through receipt of services through DC’s homeless services continuum of care system.
You are enrolling or continuing at an eligible college or university. In order to be eligible for Mayor’s Scholars funds, you must be planning to attend an eligible college or university. For the 2023-24 award year, the following colleges and universities are eligible:
*List updated Nov. 18, 2022
Note: If the list is updated and an institution is removed, OSSE will work with students currently enrolled at that institution who meet all other eligibility requirements to determine eligibility upon a case-by-case basis.
You are seeking your first associate degree OR your first bachelor’s degree. This may be an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, but it must be the first postsecondary degree of that type that you will earn.
- Students that have completed an associate degree and are seeking their first bachelor’s degree can apply as a returning student, but maximum award caps and time limits still apply.
- Please note, an individual who has previously received a bachelor’s degree may not be eligible to apply for a Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program award.
Before you apply for Mayor’s Scholars you need to:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), if eligible.
- Complete the DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG) application, if eligible.
- Gather electronic copies of all required documents. This means that you have each document you need in one of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .jpeg
Required Application Documents
|Applicant Type||Required Application Documents|
|New applicant – recent high school graduate (or anticipated graduate)||
|New applicant – adult/older youth||
Great job! You have reviewed the requirements, completed your FAFSA and DCTAG applications (if possible), and gathered the documents you need to show that you meet the requirements.
The next step is to complete the online application. The Mayor’s Scholars application is available on the OSSE website. You will be required to submit your personal information (name, contact information, parent/guardian information) through the online scholarship application. You will also provide the documents that show you meet the requirements such as transcripts with graduation year, GPA and/or test scores, and proof of enrollment. You can check the list of documents in the Requirements section.
Most applicants will complete the application between February and August in the year before they will get the funding. For example, if you apply in April 2023 and are eligible, you would receive the scholarship for the 2023-24 school year.
If you are an older youth or adult learner who passed the GED or earned a diploma through the National External Diploma Program (NEDP), within the years 2009-2023, then you may be able to apply for the summer or spring/summer application window.
All applications (including all supporting documents) must be submitted before the appropriate deadline. 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.
Traditional School Year
|Eligible Applicants||All eligible applicants|
|Application Opens||Feb. 1, 2023 at 9 a.m.|
July 14, 2023 at 3 p.m. for priority returning
Aug. 18, 2023 at 3 p.m. for first-come, first-served
|Award Amount||Up to $4,000|
|Award Period (Enrollment)||2023-24 school year|
Students who are awarded semester-based funding will be eligible to reapply for the traditional Mayor’s Scholars funding for the following school year as returning applicants.
This guide will provide a reference for completing the Mayor’s Scholars online application tool. Please note: There are steps to complete before submitting a Mayor’s Scholars application.
For additional assistance, please contact the Mayor’s Scholars program manager at [email protected] or (202) 741-6406.
All applicants will be notified of their award status 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 eligible applicant’s college or university to process any award payment in advance of the semester enrolled. The actual award amount will be determined by the college or university, and may be cancelled if tuition and fees will be covered by other funding sources (e.g., Federal Pell Grant, scholarships, etc.).
Maximum Award Amounts and Time Limits
Once you meet eligibility requirements for the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program, you may receive funding 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 on (1) information submitted regarding the student’s financial need, and (2) available funds. Maximum award amounts and time limits are related to the type of degree each student is seeking.
The Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program provides funding to applicants pursuing their first associate degree or their first bachelor’s degrees as detailed below:
|Program Type||Annual Award Cap||Time Limit||Lifetime Award Cap|
|Associate or two-year degree||up to $4,000||up to four years||$16,000|
|Bachelor’s or four-year degree||up to $4,000||up to six years||$24,000|
|Spring/Summer cycle*||up to $2,000||one or two academic terms||$2,000|
*Spring/summer cycle funding is anticipated to help learners completing an NEDP or earning their GED enter college as soon as possible, and will be awarded on a semester basis. Applicants may apply as a returning applicant for the next possible fall semester and, if awarded, will qualify for the traditional annual award cap and time limits.
The annual award caps include tuition and fees for students enrolled in coursework. Summer coursework must take place during the summer immediately following the academic year in which the student receives Mayor’s Scholars funding.
Funding may cover developmental and remedial courses.
If you transfer from an associate degree program to a bachelor’s degree program, award caps (both annual and lifetime), as well as time limit will reflect the bachelor’s limits and caps.
No Mayor’s Scholars recipient may receive more than six years of awards total (the time limit represents years of receiving awards not the time since the first award was received). Similarly, no recipient may receive more than $24,000 total. In calculating remaining awards and time to receive awards, staff will subtract the total received from the new maximum (bachelor’s level).
The award will pay for tuition and fees until maximum award amount is reached.
Applying Award to Tuition and Fees
OSSE will provide funding directly to your college or university to cover tuition and fee costs, and you will not receive a reimbursement or overage check from this funding. Your institution will be required to submit a payment request each semester, with detailed cost breakdown. OSSE will communicate with the financial aid office at your college or university with this deadline and payment request information.
If you transfer mid-year, you should notify Melanie Fleming at [email protected] or (202) 741-6406 and provide a financial aid letter from your new institution (also called a receiving institution).
Mayor’s Scholars staff will also have an opportunity to review for potential transfer students at each institution upon receiving the next semester’s invoice. If a transfer student is inaccurately listed on the institution’s invoice, Mayor’s Scholars staff will remove that student prior to disbursement.
If you transfer from an associate degree program to a bachelor’s degree program, award caps (both annual and lifetime), as well as time limit will reflect the highest limits and caps (bachelor’s level). No Mayor’s Scholars recipient may receive more than six years of awards total (the time limit represents years of receiving awards not the time since the first award was received). For additional information, review the section on Maximum Award Amounts and Time Limits.
1. Please email or upload a copy of this award letter to your college or 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 student’s responsibility to work with their college or university to ensure payment requests are submitted in a timely manner. Untimely or improperly submitted payment requests may prevent an eligible student from receiving their Mayor’s Scholars funding award or from receiving their funding award in a timely fashion.
2. Stay focused on your academic goals. Remember, Mayor’s Scholars funding is conditional and may be canceled at any time if eligibility requirements are not met.
As a Mayor’s Scholars awardee, in order to be eligible to apply for the upcoming award year and to continue to receive funding in subsequent years, you must earn a minimum of 12 credits per academic year (if pursuing an associate degree) and 24 credits per academic year (if pursuing a bachelor’s degree). Additionally, you must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP is successful completion of coursework as defined by your institution (which may include a minimum number of credits completed and minimum GPA). If your circumstances vary, please contact the Mayor’s Scholars program manager at [email protected] or (202) 741-6406.
If you apply and are determined ineligible for Mayor’s Scholars funds, you may appeal the decision by sending a letter stating the reason(s) you believe you were eligible for the funding. In addition to the letter, you should include all supporting documentation in your appeal packet. All appeals must be submitted via email within 15 business days from the date on the ineligibility notification. Late submission is not an appealable issue.
A designated OSSE team will review the documentation and provide you with a written response documenting the results of the appeal process via email within 10 business days of an appeal being received. The results of the appeal process are final.
Appeal packets (your letter and supporting documentation) must be sent to the Mayor’s Scholars program manager at: [email protected].