The D.C. College Success Foundation and the D.C. College Access Program (DC-CAP) have announced a $122 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help increase the number of young people from the District of Columbia who graduate from high school and college.
The funding will support efforts to double the number of district students in the class of 2010 who successfully complete college within five years, and triple the number of those in the class of 2014 who complete college within the same time frame. To that end, D.C. Achievers scholarships will be awarded to more than 2,000 low-income students in Wards 7 and 8, where currently one in three students finishes high school within five years and only one in twenty high school graduates earns a college degree within five years. In addition, students in both wards will receive support over the next ten years to ensure they graduate ready to succeed in college.
Students will be selected for the scholarships in the spring of their junior year, based on indicators that measure resilience and demonstrated commitment to education. Once selected, the students will have access to a summer college preparatory experience, an assigned college prep advisor to provide college access programming, mentoring and academic support throughout their junior and senior years of high school, and additional mentoring once they enter college.
"The District of Columbia...is demonstrating a strong commitment to increasing student achievement and helping ensure that our graduates are prepared for success," said Mayor Adrian Fenty. "These scholarships will make a tremendous difference in nurturing the potential of so many students who never believed that they would complete college."