DCTAG applicants that are eligible for an award and who have their supporting documents approved should receive their award letter via email as soon as they are deemed eligible. If you start early that can happen in the spring. If you apply near the end of the season (May or June) you will receive an award letter later. Remember, timing depends on when you complete the DCTAG application (OneApp) have all your documents submitted (and accepted).
How much money will I get?
Well, you will not get any money personally. But the DCTAG team will work with your college or university to cover your tuition expenses if you are eligible for DCTAG and your school is eligible for DCTAG.
The award amount that your college or university will receive from DCTAG for your account depends on the type of institution, the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition, the academic term, your lifetime maximum award amount (see below), and the amount of federal funding appropriated for DCTAG.
In all situations, DCTAG recipients are limited to a maximum of six years receiving awards.
For public colleges and universities in the US, Guam and Puerto Rico:
- DCTAG awards may be up to $10,000 per academic year toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition (awards will be reduced for less than full-time enrollment).
- The $10,000 maximum in this case may be distributed to your institution based on the academic calendar (semester, or quarters).
- For a semester the maximum award is up to $5,000.
- For quarters, the first two quarters have a maximum of $3,333, and the third quarter has a maximum of $3,334*.
- The lifetime maximum in this case is $50,000.
*Please note: while colleges and universities may use a quarter-based system (fall, winter, spring, summer) students are not generally expected to attend the summer quarter, so awards are distributed in thirds. The annual maximum award amounts and lifetime maximum amounts remain the same. For example, you will not receive four payments totaling $13,332 in one academic year.
For four-year private HBCUs, nationwide, and private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area:
- DCTAG awards may be up to $2,500 per academic year (awards will be reduced for less than full-time enrollment).
- The maximum will be distributed in this case as up to $1,250 per semester.
- The lifetime maximum in this case is $12,500.
As always, if you have any questions, please contact your DCTAG counselor.
College costs and your DCTAG award may change based on a few things – tuition amount, expected family contribution, and your enrollment level (full-time or part-time… there is no eligibility below half-time).
DCTAG awards cannot pay for mini-terms or non-accredited online classes. Also all Study-Abroad Programs must be at the home institution and there must be both an in and out of state tuition charge. Most Study-Abroad Programs are not eligible for DCTAG funding. If you are not sure what these are or if impacts you, please contact a DCTAG counselor!
Big note: This is a federally funded program so the funds for DCTAG awards are subject to annual appropriation as approved and provided by the District of Columbia and United States Federal Government.
Whew! You made it through the school year, and completed the document submission for DCTAG – great work!
There are a few more steps before your college or university will receive your DCTAG award, if you are eligible.
- If eligible for DCTAG, you will receive an award letter.
- Make copies – scan this, save the email, or print a copy for your parent’s file cabinet.
- Submit your Award Letter to the Financial Aid Office at your college or university (if this is a different school than you indicated on your OneApp – in your OneApp portal).
DCTAG awards are disbursed directly to your college or university after the last date to add a class. The award is available for the fall and/or spring semesters, based on your enrollment status. If you have not yet received the annual maximum award for your institution type, you may be eligible to receive funding for tuition covering summer courses. DCTAG does not fund mini-terms, or non-accredited online classes.
If you are interested in more details, this is the process:
- You completed steps 1-3 above.
- Your college or university will sign into DC OneApp using its respective username and password.
- Your college or university must sign a Program Participation Agreement (PPA) for Public and Private Non-Profit Institutions of Higher Education and submit a W-9 certifying that the tax ID number provided is correct.
- Your college or university enters required data information into the DC OneApp (Cost of Attendance, Credit Hour Cost, In/Out of State Tuition, and Contact Information).
- Your college or university submits invoice to DCTAG for payment directly through DC OneApp. Invoice is received electronically and includes an Enrollment Verification Chart complete with student’s name, SSN, status, and tuition requested.
- The college or university credits your student account.
My college says my tuition has not been paid – is my DCTAG award missing?
If your school says your award has not been paid, these are the steps to take:
- Contact the financial aid office at your college or university with any problems concerning your student account. The financial aid office can determine if your student account is correct and, if not, how to resolve billing discrepancies.
- If the financial aid office requires assistance, they may contact the DCTAG Disbursement Analyst at (202) 727‐2824.
- If your require assistance you may contact your assigned DCTAG Counselor at (202) 727‐2824 or 1-877‐485‐6751.
Colleges or universities participating in the DC Tuition Assistance Grant Program (DCTAG) must adhere to the DCTAG Program Participation Agreement in which they agreed to: "Not impose any penalty, late fee, denial of classes or other institution facilities, or requirement that students borrow funds because of an inability to meet financial obligations to the institution as a result of not receiving forth coming DCTAG funds ..."
One note: Successful completion of the DC OneApp does not guarantee award funding. Funding is subject to annual appropriations as approved and provided by the District of Columbia.
Each semester, students attending college have questions about the possibility of receiving a refund check such as: When will I get it, how much will it be, what can I do with it?
Refunds (also known as “a refundable credit balance”) may be paid to students when the amount of financial aid (their loans, grants, or scholarships) is more than the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies, and room and board if you live on campus, that is billed by their college or university.
In many cases, loans and other financial aid are intended to cover expenses beyond tuition and fees, such as rent for off campus housing, food, and student living expenses. When this happens, the college or university may issue a refund check directly to students after the college bill is paid.
Timing for Refunds
The timing for when a student receives a refund depends on their college's or university's timeline and other factors. For example, the add/drop period can impact when refunds are distributed.
If you receive financial aid from DCTAG, please know that DCTAG begins paying invoices from college and universities on Oct. 1 each year. While DCTAG funds will not be refunded to you (they cover tuition), this timing may impact when your refund from other aid may be distributed. Please know that schools receiving DCTAG on behalf of eligible students agree not to charge students late fees, deny students access to classes, library, housing, other institutional facilities based on the timing of DCTAG’s payment. Even if you do not receive a refund, the timing of DCTAG should not affect your enrollment. For more information about our invoice process, please visit the DCTAG Disbursement Process page.
The bottom line – please contact your college or university’s bursar’s office or financial aid office to ask about their process for calculating and issuing refunds, if you are a student who believes you should receive a refund check based on your total financial aid package.
What can I pay for with a financial aid refund?
Students and families should consider the costs of college that are outside of tuition and fees at the college or university they are attending as they think about using their financial aid refund. Cost to the student or their family beyond tuition and fees may include: off-campus rent and other housing expenses such as utilities, and living expenses such as food, laundry, or transportation (bus fare, gas, parking registration, airfare back home). DCTAG encourages families and students to create a budget each semester to identify what costs students will be responsible for over the next three or four months, and what they might need help covering during that time.
If your budget is less than the refund amount, you may also decide to return or repay part of your student loan balance with your refund check. This would help reduce your overall student loan debt.
FAQs and Guidance
To retrieve the DCTAG award letter, the student should log into their DCTAG application (on the OneApp), click the Correspondence tab and then click the award letter in order to view, forward, email and/or print the DCTAG award letter.
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?”