Merten and Student Join Clinton at White House

Posted: June 21, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

President Alan Merten and incoming freshman Zack Gamble joined President Bill Clinton in the White House Roosevelt Room on Tuesday for the signing of a bill expanding the D.C. College Access Act.

Originally signed late last year, the D.C. College Access Act called for the federal government to assist D.C. students by paying the difference, up to $10,000 a year, between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public colleges and universities in Virginia and Maryland. It also called on the federal government to pay $2,500 toward the tuition costs for district students to attend certain private colleges. The bill signed yesterday allows D.C. students to attend public institutions nationwide at the in-state tuition rate.

Merten and Gamble, a graduate of Gonzaga High School in D.C. who will benefit from the law next year by attending George Mason at the in-state tuition rate, were invited to the podium to receive congratulations from Clinton.

“I want to tell you that Zack Gamble is a young man who did well in high school and was accepted into several colleges,” said Clinton. “The D.C. College Access Act is making it possible for him to go to George Mason this fall to study computer science.” Gamble was then presented with his tuition check.

New Century College student Chartese Day was instrumental in getting the original bill drafted. In 1998, she worked as a congressional aide in the office of D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton while finishing her senior year of high school. She learned that, as a D.C. resident, the only public institution she could attend without having to pay out-of-state tuition was the University of D.C., which did not have the degree program she was interested in.

She expressed her frustration to Norton, who asked two members of her staff to draft legislation to give D.C. students more postsecondary options. Day later facilitated passage of the bill by testifying in support of it before a congressional subcommittee.

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