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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.

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 Jan. 28, 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).

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.

What documents do I need?

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

For the 2020-21 DCTAG application you have two options to submit required DCTAG documents. You can read more about this update and get directions on the Apply & Submit page.

NEW! DCTAG applicants can upload PDFs of required documents to the DC OneApp. Once you have completed the DC OneApp online, you can then upload all required documents online.

If you choose to upload documents, they must be uploaded as PDFs, and should all be uploaded at the same time. This is why preparing all your documents in advance is important.
You can upload documents from Feb. 1, 2020 - Nov. 13, 2020.

If you do not file taxes there are other documents the DCTAG team can use to verify domicile.

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.

2020-21 DC OneApp Required Supporting Documents Checklist

2020-21 Lista de verificación de documentos adicionales requeridos por DCTAG

Helpful Hint: In the past when we said “submit your documents” it led students and families to believe they could just drop their documents off quickly and walk away. This was not exactly the way it worked, so while the process has not changed, we want to clarify what actually happens.

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 (above) and the example documents will help this process go smoothly for you.

Where can I get my tax documents?

Update: In-person visits to the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) are not possible while DC Government operates on a telework schedule. Many students completing the DCTAG application online are able to link the appropriate D-40 tax returns to the application, as proof of residency. 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.

As of June 30, 2020, DCTAG added the option for students and families to provide “processed” tax documents in addition to certified tax documents. 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.

Parents/legal guardians who have already submitted a certified D-40 or students whose supporting documentation is complete, do not need to re-submit this documentation.

Helpful Hints: If necessary, your parent/legal guardians should work with OTR to request their tax documents. If your parent/legal guardian needs someone else (third party) to request their certified DC Income Tax Return (D-40), then the DC Office of Tax and Revenue requires that the taxpayer (owner of the return) provide the third party with the following information.

  • A completed and signed Power of Attorney form.
  • Please click/select this link to download and complete the form.
  • The taxpayer must complete the following sections: Personal information; Representatives; Tax Matters; Acts Authorized; and Signatures.
  • If a section does not apply, the taxpayer granting the Power of Attorney authorization should indicate “N/A” in that section.
  • Print the completed form and obtain the correct signatures (i.e., taxpayer(s), Power of Attorney granted Representative) before delivering the form to OTR.
  • The individual picking up the certified D-40 must have valid identification (driver’s license, employment identification, etc.) for:
  • The taxpayer owning the return;
  • The authorized third party (Power of Attorney granted Representative); and
  • The individual picking up the certified D-40.

 Office of Tax and Revenue Information (printable)

Información de la Oficina de Impuestos e Ingresos (OTR) del DC (imprimible)

If you are unable to get a certified D-40 tax return, please remember that you may submit other forms of domicile verification, which are listed on the Required Supporting Document Checklist.

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

Note: See more information about who may be a Ward of the Court or Ward of the District of Columbia.

Words to Know

What tax documents do I submit? Do I need to re-submit my taxes if I already gave DCTAG my certified D-40?

The policy change that was released on June 30 did two things – (1) it extended the deadline and (2) it provided additional supporting documentation options. These additional documentation options are only related to the tax forms used to document domicile (the first two items on the checklist). Now students and families may provide “processed” tax documents in addition to certified tax documents.

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.

Most families should be able to use the DC OneApp to request that the Office of Tax and Revenue share the appropriate tax information with DCTAG. The additional option is now available for students and families for whom that process does not work. If you have questions about which option to use, please contact your DCTAG Counselor.

Parents/legal guardians who have already submitted a certified D-40 or students whose supporting documentation is complete, do not need to re-submit this documentation.

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.

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.

What is a 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.


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