File photo from Catholic University
Tameka Green, a paralegal student enrolled in Catholic University’s Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS), recently was featured in the news, including WJLA-7 and The Washington Informer. The District of Columbia resident is taking advantage of DC Futures, a city-administered tuition assistance program designed to help district residents receive an associate or bachelor degree in high-demand fields and improve their employability.
Catholic University is one of only three institutions of higher education in the city approved as an education partner for the program. All three offer an associate degree program.
Vincent Kiernan, dean of MSPS, said about 27 DC Futures recipients are enrolled in the School this semester, noting that he anticipates more next fall as the city expands the program.
Recipients must meet certain income requirements, enroll in programs for select high demand fields, and participate in a college coaching program. They receive $8,000 in tuition assistance per year, up to $32,000 total toward an associate degree and $48,000 for a bachelor degree.
MSPS worked with the University to adjust tuition so the associate program is free for DC Futures recipients.
The School has expanded its associate degree programs in the past few years. Most of them are connected with bachelor degrees, Kiernan noted, so students can easily continue their education if they choose.
MSPS classes are offered asynchronously and in-person at Catholic University’s Brookland campus and Alexandria, Va., center, with the option for students to attend those classes virtually. Flexibility is important for the students who are balancing work and family with classes.
“Our students are highly motivated. The average age of undergraduate students at the Metropolitan School is 40 years old. We have a substantial amount of first-generation college students. Some students are in very difficult financial straits and have struggled to get where they are. This financial aid is a godsend for them to be able to change their lives,” Kiernan noted.
DC Futures is a program of the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Information and an application are available from the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies.