By C.N. Staff Writer
Federal budget cuts affect many state-run programs and federally funded assistance programs. Tuition money is just one of the many changes it can affect. District students who rely on the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program every year could see their award money decrease dramatically.
According to officials in the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the District’s agency that funds the program, the funding for the program will decrease due to the estimated $1.5 million cut to the budget, affected by the sequester.
The program typically aims to fund up to $10,000 annually to fund D.C. residents who attend colleges and universities outside of the District. Additionally, they help fund $2,500 per year for students historically black colleges and universities or other private colleges or universities in the D.C. area.
OSSE has encouraged students who apply for the aid to turn in their applications by May 1st, instead of the May 31st normal date. Officials at OSSE said that students may not get the normal amount, but still encouraged them apply, but apply as early as possible.
High school parents are concerned about the funding, as the smallest amount could affect where a student decides to attend based upon what their parents can also contribute. Sherita Louis is a mother of two students, one in the 11th and a 12th grader. She said, “I really want to know how much my senior will get, because unfortunately it will affect what schools I can send my 11th grader next year.”
The sequester, which took effect March 1st, gave automatic cuts to programs like this, where ordinarily the federal government would provide $30 million for this type of grant. OSSE officials are uncertain of the final outcome and thus cannot properly inform parents or high school officials what the budget might look like. It is encouraged that early applications are the best route for this uncertain money.