Established in the Fall of 1999 by major Washington-area corporations and foundations, DC-CAP is a privately-funded nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging and enabling DC public high school students to enroll in and graduate from college.
In 2008, the program expanded to include all DC public charter schools. So, in partnership with DC public and public charter school systems, DC-CAP provides direct counseling and financial assistance to students who might otherwise never have the opportunity to go to college. Additionally, DC-CAP works in partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the corporate community, colleges, universities, and other college access programs.
The overwhelming majority of students served by DC-CAP are from low-income, minority, single-parent households and are the first in their families to attend college.
DC-CAP is unique from other college access programs around the country for two reasons. First, every DC public and public charter high school student is eligible for DC-CAP services, regardless of academic history, grade point average, family income, citizenship status, ethnicity, special education eligibility, delinquency or juvenile criminal history. Unlike other programs, DC-CAP believes in an expansive approach to college access. Whereas many other programs set criteria that disqualify students from participation, the principle operating philosophy at DC-CAP is that every single high school student has the right to an opportunity to improve their quality of life through a college education. The second unique feature of DC-CAP is that we continue to support the students for up to five years after high school graduation so that they have the best chance of completing their education.