UDC President Allen Sessoms says his efforts to revitalize the school are hampered by some DC policies, including the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant program, which since 1991 has been giving residents up to $10,000 to attend colleges in other states and up to $2,500 to attend private universities in the city.
“The program is a disincentive for students who want to go to UDC,” said Mr. Sessoms. “The District’s high school graduates get zero dollars to attend UDC but the program pays instead for them to attend Michigan, Virginia or Maryland or other states, and the money is not needs-based. Even residents who attend private universities in the District receive tuition assistance. They’re going to Trinity, American, George Washington, Princeton.”
The competition posed by those tuition grants and more prestigious degrees is heightened by the city’s consistently high unemployment, illiteracy and dropout rates, and failure to meet the demands of the 21st-century global labor market.