For the first time, the District is using its own money to help young residents attend college locally. Education official Gregory Meeropol says the new Mayor's Scholarship Fund is only for students in need who aren't receiving financial support from their parents.
"So many times, students get concerned with their financial situation, they maybe have one or two jobs," he says. "It really helps them focus in on their classes so they can really be successful in college."
The fund is awarding $1.2 million this year to students attending both public and private institutions in the District. It's meant to help supplement D.C.'s Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) program, which provides financial support to residents attending schools outside of the District. Unlike the new Mayor's Scholarship fund, TAG grants are not need-based and do not include D.C.'s own publicly-funded universities.
"We're telling students that we believe in them, we believe they can go to school and be successful, and they can stay and have fantastic careers here in the District," he says.
Students can receive up to $3,000 to attend a city community college, $7,000 to attend the University of the District of Columbia, or up to $10,000 to go to a private university in the District.