D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray recently announced a new scholarship fund for graduates of D.C. high schools who come from low-income families and will be attending universities in the District.

Gray set aside $1.59 million in the District’s fiscal year 2013 budget for the fund and has given $1.2 million to 185 students this year.

“Creating a college-going culture begins with instilling the idea that college is an important and attainable aspiration, regardless of one’s financial situation,” State Superintendent of Education Hosanna Mahaley Jones said at the Oct. 5 press conference. “By expanding students’ local college choices and financial accessibility, we also expand their opportunities for success.”

According to Lauralyn Lee, Georgetown’s associate vice president of community engagement and strategic initiatives, the university is a firm supporter of this new program.

“The university is deeply invested in programs that support the success of students from the District of Columbia,” she wrote in an email. “We have enthusiastically supported this latest program.”

The scholarship was partially orchestrated by alumna Emily Durso, the assistant superintendent for postsecondary and career education at the Office of the State Superintendent, and provides $10,000 for students attending private schools, $7,000 for those attending the University of the District of Columbia and $3,000 for those enrolled in the city’s community college.

In order to receive a scholarship, students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing in their high schools and come from families who are considered low income by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“Today’s announcement means it will be easier for many District students to obtain a university or community college degree,” Gray said at the press conference. “It’s a wise investment in our students, our workforce and our city’s future.”

The new scholarships come in addition to the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant, which already provided $2,500 for local students attending private universities in the District.

Lee added that despite its need-blind admissions policy, Georgetown actively supports programs that enhance student access to college programs.

“We are firmly committed to supporting programs that promote access to college regardless of institution, as this one does,” she wrote.

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