Congress has approved a short-term spending measure that will not only avert a government shutdown, but also will end a freeze on college financial-aid payments for hundreds of District students.
The federally funded D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program provides more than 6,000 high school graduates with between $1,250 and $5,000 per semester to pay for college.
Because of ongoing budget battles on Capitol Hill, DC TAG payments were halted on Feb. 28. That left more than 1,300 students without their spring semester money, struggling to pay tuition and make ends meet.
The House on Thursday passed a continuing resolution meant to fund the federal government for six months. The Senate passed the same bill earlier this week. It now heads to the White House for a signature from President Obama.
Assuming Obama signs the bill, as he is expected to do, DC TAG payments will resume beginning March 28, according to city officials who administer the program.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) sent a letter Thursday to participating colleges, urging them not to saddle students with fees or penalties for paying their tuition late.
“The delay is entirely attributable to Congress, not to students,” Norton wrote. “There can be no doubt that funds owed by the federal government will be forthcoming.”