In 1999, a coalition of DC-area companies and foundations announced the formation of the District of Columbia College Access Program, a college counseling program created to help District public and public charter high school students prepare for, attend and graduate from college.
In addition to these local efforts, the DC College Access Act of 1999 was passed by Congress to provides District students with federally funded tuition subsides to attend private colleges in the Washington metropolitan area and public colleges and universities throughout the United States.
For the past 15 years, DC-CAP has worked to double the number of District students enrolling into college each year and tripling the number who graduate. While we can take satisfaction in what has been accomplished to date, the need for DC-CAP remains urgent. There are still too few DC students who are not able to participate in or contribute to the region’s economic growth.
Many of the District’s students live in poverty and face numerous barriers to higher education. Low test scores, one of the highest dropout rates in the nation, little information on the value of a college education, and even less on the means of acquiring one, have left too many DC students sitting on the economic sidelines.
Clearly we must do better. Every child, regardless of economic, social, or academic status, should have access to a better future through higher education. DC-CAP is our commitment to provide that opportunity to every District student.
DC—with its growing economy, its rich cultural life and its special status as the capital of our nation—has the potential to be a great city. But this potential hinges on a successful and productive workforce and on our ability to educate our youth.
Changing the educational horizon for DC youth requires a long-term, comprehensive commitment of people, resources and funds. Let’s work together as a community as we work to accomplish this vital goal.
Donald E. Graham
Chairman, DC-CAP Board of Directors