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June 20, 2000

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Tuesday, June 20, 2000

June 20, 2000

"This fall, more than a thousand young people, many of whom might never have had the chance, will get the help to go to college. The District of Columbia College Access Act makes the playing field a little more level for the children of Washington, D.C. It is one of the best investments we could ever make."

President Bill Clinton

June 20, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton commemorated the passage of the District of Columbia College Access Act of 1999 by witnessing the first tuition subsidy award under the Tuition Assistance Program to a D.C. high school graduate for college entrance this fall. The Act improves access to higher education for D.C. students, authorizes federal financial support for the University of the District of Columbia, and contributes to the economic revitalization of the District. The President first proposed this initiative in his FY 2000 budget, and signed it into law on November 12, 1999. The President has requested $17 million in his FY 2001 budget to continue funding for this program, and challenged Congress to pass a budget that invests in the D.C. College Access Act and other education priorities.

Leveling the Playing Field for D.C. Students. The District of Columbia College Access Act offers D.C. residents an opportunity to attend affordable public colleges and universities, similar to the opportunities that residents of the 50 states already have. D.C. residents who graduated from high school on or after January 1, 1998 and are enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate program are eligible for tuition assistance. Highlights of the Act include:

  • In-State Tuition at Public Universities. The program will pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for D.C. residents who attend public colleges and universities anywhere in the country. Each student can receive up to $10,000 per year and up to $50,000 over a lifetime;

  • Scholarships for Local Private Universities. District residents who attend private colleges in the D.C. area as well as private Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout Maryland and Virginia can receive scholarships of up to $2,500 per year or $12,500 over a lifetime;

  • Support for the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). The Act will ensure that federal funds are available to support UDC, the only public institution of higher education in the District of Columbia.

Opening the Doors of College to All Americans. The Clinton-Gore Administration's record of opening the doors of college to all Americans includes:

  • More than doubling financial aid from $25 billion in FY 1993 to nearly $60 billion in FY 2000: the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill;
  • Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits which will provide over $7 billion in higher education tax relief to 10 million families this year;
  • Student loan reforms that have saved students $9 billion and taxpayers $6 billion; and
  • Larger Pell grants, new opportunities to earn money for college through work-study and national service, and new and expanded efforts through TRIO and GEAR UP to help at-risk youth prepare for college.

Urging Congress to Invest More in our Schools and Demand More From Them. The President's FY 2001 budget includes a $4.5 billion increase in funding for America's education priorities such as boosting accountability and investing in proven strategies. Last week, the House passed an appropriations bill that underfunds this agenda by more than $2.9 billion, which the President has threatened to veto because it fails to:

  • Strengthen accountability and turn around failing schools;
  • Fund emergency repairs and renovation of aging schools;
  • Expand after-school opportunities;
  • Improve teacher quality and reduce class size;
  • Adequately fund the Hispanic Education Action Plan, child care, and investments in Head Start;
  • Help prepare low-income students for college through GEAR UP; and
  • Help bridge the digital divide.

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