How to Apply for Assistance

GW Republicans

GW encourages applicants to the University to apply for financial aid. In order to be considered, you must submit the CSS PROFILE and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Filing these forms by the deadline dates will enable us to consider you for all types of need-based aid. GW's Office of Student Financial Assistance reviews the family financial circumstances of each admitted student and determines your financial need based on information supplied by the PROFILE and FAFSA.

In addition to these forms other documents are required to verify your eligibility. The most common are listed below but note that additional documentation may be requested at a later date.

In an effort to provide families with timely information about their eligibility for financial aid, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will provide incoming Freshman and Transfer students with an estimated financial aid package based on either previous year data (Early Decision I  and II only) or current year data from the CSS Profile and FAFSA prior to the review of current year verification documents (tax returns, W-2 statements etc.).

The information provided on this page is intended solely for new applicants. Currently enrolled GW students should click here for information on applying for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Deadlines

Note on tax filing years requested

2012-2013 Academic Year applicants:

  • Prior Year=2010
  • Current Year=2011

Application Steps

If you have not yet filed your current year taxes (see definitions above), you can estimate your income on the CSS Profile and FAFSA by using year-to-date pay stubs and bank statements and comparing data with last year’s federal taxes. Please be as accurate as possible; variances with finalized information can result in an adjusted award.

  • CSS PROFILE
    • First time applicants must register on the site before completing the actual application.
    • For assistance, e-mail CSS at help@cssprofile.org or call 305-829-9793.
  • FAFSA
    • File your FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov designating GW to receive your information. Use our federal school code, 001444.
    • For assistance call 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3242).
  • Early Decision Applicants
    • If you are an Early Decision (ED) applicant, you must submit the Early Decision Financial Aid Applications Part I and II  in addition to the PROFILE and FAFSA
    • Early Decision applicants are given the same consideration for financial aid as all applicants.

All estimated aid packages need to be confirmed before funds will be disbursed to your account.

Confirming Your Need-Based Award

You are required to submit the following documents directly to the Office of Student Financial Assistance to confirm the award.

  • Signed copy of applicant’s federal tax return including all schedules and W-2 statements and, if married or to be married, those of spouse. Signed copy of parent’s federal tax return including all schedules and W-2 statements.
  • Tax returns must be for the "current year" e.g.  most recent calendar year prior to the academic year of enrollment (2011 returns for enrollment during the 2012-2013 academic year). Note that Early Decision candidates are asked to send prior year taxes in order for our office to provide an early estimated package.
  • Estimated or draft copies of tax returns are not accepted. You must submit signed copies of the actual tax return and all schedules that were sent to the IRS. The IRS E-file confirmation is not acceptable. Please be aware that if you have an extension from the IRS for your taxes, we will be unable to finalize an award until we receive the final taxes. We are unable to make exceptions to this requirement, regardless of whether the IRS grants an extension.
  • The 2012-2013 Verification Worksheet must be submitted by May 1.
  • If the applicant and/or parent did not file a tax form, you must complete the "Certification that Tax Return Was/Is Not Required To Be Filed for the 2011 Tax Year" form.
  • If the applicant reported on the Profile or FAFSA that they will have a sibling, spouse, or independent child in college, you must submit the "Verification of Family Member Enrollment" form. This form must be sent to the financial aid office at the family member's institution for verification.
  • If the applicant will have a sibling enrolled at GW as a full-time undergraduate in 2012-2013, you may apply for the GW Family Grant by submitting the “GW Family Grant Application.”
  • Non-U.S. citizens who wish to apply for federal aid must provide documentation of permanent resident (immigrant) or refugee status.
  • Social Security recipients must submit all 1099-SS forms for all family members receiving benefits.

Additional Application Information

  • Please include the applicant’s name, social security number or GWID number and application status (early decision I, early decision II, regular decision or transfer) on all submitted documents.
  • Be sure to meet all deadlines in order to receive full financial aid consideration. Keep in mind that deadlines differ depending on your application status.
  • During processing, additional documentation may be required. The Office of Student Financial Assistance will inform you if additional items are needed.
  • Fax is our preferred method of delivery for documentation.  The Office of  Student Financial Assistance has implemented a secure fax delivery system which reduces paper use and streamlines the entry of forms into the student's electronic file.  Our fax number is 202-994-0906.  Please include the student's name, social security number or GWid on all documents submitted to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Student Employment & Work Study

Career Fair

Many students choose to supplement their academic coursework and extracurricular activities with a part-time work experience. Part-time jobs not only provide a source of income, but many students believe that work experience adds structure to their weeks and empowers them with valuable skill sets. GW provides a number of options and resources for students interested in part-time employment during their undergraduate tenure. These opportunities are available during the academic year as well as the summer months.

GW Career Center

Located at the corner of 20th and F Streets, GW’s Career Center provides a variety of services, both in-person and online, for current students and alumni. The Career Center serves as a resource to help students find part-time jobs, internships and co-op experiences, as well as full-time employment opportunities after graduation. Services at the Center include career consulting, networking workshops, resume critique services, mock interviews, career and internship fairs, four-year career action plans and alumni career connections.

GWork

The Career Center's online job and internship listings service makes it easy for students to manage job-search activities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All GW students and alumni may use GWork to research and apply for part-time employment (including all Federal Work-Study jobs), full-time jobs, internships, co-op positions and temporary employment. 

Federal Work Study (FWS)

The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) is a federally funded need-based work program allows students who have received a Federal Work-Study award as part of their University financial aid package to earn wages during college while working at pre-approved organizations.  Organizations that offer FWS employment include the University itself, local nonprofit organizations, government agencies and community service employers. Renewal of the award is contingent upon completion of at least 12 credit hours of study each semester, maintenance of a 2.0 or better grade point average, reapplication by the published April deadline and continued financial need.

There are a number of advantages to a federal work-study position. Because these positions are designed with students in mind, FWS jobs may include flexible hours, employment close to or directly on campus and an expectation of approximately 10 hours of work per week.

More information about the FWS Program can be found here on the Career Center’s web site.

Part-time Jobs

Living in the heart of a major metropolitan area, GW students find that there is no shortage of part-time employment opportunities. Students can work on campus, at nearby nonprofits and community service organizations, local restaurants, retail stores and countless other agencies in downtown Washington and its suburbs. While students typically seek out part-time employment through their own initiative, the Career Center helps to connect students with a variety of part-time employment experiences

Internships

Internships are a great way to experience different work settings, explore a variety of career fields, further develop marketable skills and cultivate networking opportunities. Students pursue internships to gain practical professional experience and to link the world of work to their academic studies. Internships can be paid or unpaid, credit or non-credit, and vary in hours per week and weeks per semester. Typical students will work 10 to 12 hours per week at their internships during the academic year, although this varies depending on the nature of the internship experience. The Career Center, faculty members and academic advisers all serve as great resources to help students find internships that match their interests and fit within their academic programs.

Alumni Networking Opportunities

GW boasts a global network of more than 220,000 alumni, with over 70,000 of them in metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. The Career Advisor Network is an online directory of GW alumni dedicated to providing career strategy assistance to other alumni and current GW students.  Students and alumni utilize this online network, along with face-to-face networking opportunities on and off campus, to connect with alumni who are active in the fields in which they are interested.  In addition to great contacts in a variety of professions, these networking opportunities often yield part-time and full-time employment opportunities.

Understanding Loans

George in Class

Educational loans are often a necessary and, at times, a desirable way to help finance a college education. In addition to using family savings, scholarships, grants and student employment, many families may still need or want to take out loans as part of their college financing plan.  Educational loans can be obtained through the federal government or through private sources—or a combination of both. There are various types of loans for families seeking assistance in funding the family contribution toward college costs and for students for whom loans are part of the financial need-based package.

GW participates in several federal low-interest loan programs. Below are the various types of loans for families to consider. Some are need-based; others are not. Once students are admitted to GW, more detailed information will be provided about these various loan options.

Federal Perkins Loan Program

The Federal Perkins Loan is awarded to students who demonstrate need. Award amounts depend upon the demonstrated need of the student and funding levels. To be considered for this loan, students must apply for financial assistance by the stated deadlines. If eligible, the financial aid award from GW will include this loan, and GW will be the lender. This loan has an interest rate of 5 percent, which begins to accrue nine months after graduation or when the student drops below half-time status. Repayment generally starts three months later and may continue for up to 10 years, excluding periods of deferment.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program

The Federal Direct Stafford Loans are funded by the U.S. Department of Education. To receive a Federal Direct Stafford Loan—whether subsidized or unsubsidized—applicants for admission to GW must submit a completed FAFSA. The financial aid award may include one or both of the following Direct Stafford Loans.

  • Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans:  Offered to students with financial need. Under this loan, interest is paid by the federal government, and no payment is required from the student while enrolled at least half-time. Loan payment begins six months after the student graduates or leaves the University.                                                                                                                                   
  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans:  Interest begins accruing on the date the loan is received. Applicants may choose to pay the interest only or allow it to accumulate and capitalize (added to the principal amount of the loan) until six months after graduating or leaving GW.

Direct Stafford Loan amounts increase each year as the student successfully matriculates. The interest rate on the Federal Direct Stafford Loan is a fixed rate. The current interest rate is 4.5 percent for subsidized loans and 6.8 percent for unsubsidized loans.

Grade Level

Maximum Subsidized

Maximum Unsubsidized

Total

Freshmen

$3,500

$2,000

$5,500

Sophomore

$4,500

$2,000

$6,500

Junior

$5,500

$2,000

$7,500

Senior

$5,500

$2,000

$7,500

An additional amount in Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan funding is made available to an independent undergraduate student or dependent student whose parent is ineligible for a Direct PLUS loan. Those limits are as follows.

Grade Level

Maximum Subsidized

Maximum Unsubsidized

Total

Freshmen

$3,500

$6,000

$9,500

Sophomore

$4,500

$6,000

$10,500

Junior

$5,500

$7,000

$12,500

Senior

$5,500

$7,000

$12,500

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education are available to credit-worthy parents. With a Direct PLUS loan, parents may borrow up to the full cost of a student's education, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and living expenses, less any other financial aid. There are no maximum or minimum income guidelines for eligibility for the loan. Additional advantages include a 7.9 percent fixed interest rate. Interest may be tax deductible. 

Private Alternative Loan Options

Private alternative loans are non-federal, private credit-based loan products offered by various lending institutions. The loans generally require school certification of enrollment and eligibility information and are issued in the student's name. They can be used like a Federal Direct PLUS loan to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any financial aid. We encourage students to exhaust all federal loans described on this page before considering private loans.

Grants & Awards

Graduation Ceremony Caps

Grants and awards are types of financial aid considered as gift aid—financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Students admitted to GW with demonstrated financial need may be eligible for one or more of the following awards.  These need-based grants are awarded to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens only. Funding for these programs come from several different sources, including the University and the federal government.

The University invests $37 million of its own funds in grants and awards for the freshman class in addition to approximately $1 million of federal grant money. Federal regulations require that we consider all resources when determining financial aid eligibility, so any grants or awards from private organizations must be reported to GW and may result in an adjustment of your financial aid package. Often these outside awards will be used to reduce the student loans or the work-study portion of the financial aid package. 

Available grants and awards for undergraduates include:

The George Washington Guaranteed Grant

This grant is awarded solely on the basis of financial need. It is guaranteed as long as the student is enrolled at GW, for up to 10 semesters of full-time undergraduate study. Once the award becomes official, the guaranteed amount will never decrease provided the student is enrolled and charged as a full-time student and continues to make satisfactory academic progress toward an undergraduate degree. 

The GW Guaranteed Grant can only be used toward tuition expenses. If a student is fortunate enough to receive outside tuition awards, such awards can be combined with the GW Guaranteed Grant up to the cost of tuition. However, if tuition-specific outside resources combined with the GW Guaranteed Grant exceed tuition costs, the GW Guaranteed Grant will be adjusted.

While this grant does not require reapplication beyond the first year at GW, those students eligible for other need-based aid will have to reapply annually by the posted deadline dates. Each student’s financial need will determine the level of support that can be provided beyond the GW Guaranteed Grant.

University and Alumni Award

University and Alumni Awards are available from GW to students who demonstrate financial need. Renewal is contingent upon completion of at least 12 credit hours of study each semester, maintenance of a 2.0 or better grade point average, reapplication by the published April deadline and continued financial need. The amount of this award can vary each year depending on the student’s financial need.

GW Family Grant

A full-time GW undergraduate whose sibling is also attending GW as a full-time undergraduate for the same academic year may qualify for a GW Family Grant amounting to one-half tuition for the second student. This half-tuition grant can be awarded for the full academic year or for the fall or spring semester only. To qualify, siblings must be enrolled full-time in a first-time, four-year bachelor’s degree program and be charged at GW’s full-time rate. Students receiving discounted tuition do not qualify. This grant is not available to either sibling if one is enrolled in the Seven-Year B.A./M.D. or non-affiliated study abroad program. More detailed information about GW Family Grant eligibility and renewal requirements are provided at the time of admission to the University.

Federal Pell Grant

Pell Grants are considered the foundation of federal financial aid to which aid from other federal and non-federal sources might be added. The Federal Pell Grant is awarded only to undergraduate students who have not previously earned a bachelor's or professional degree. The amount awarded depends not only on financial need, but also on costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, room, board or other educational expenses. For the 2011-2012 academic year, the maximum award amount was $5,550. Renewal is contingent on maintaining a 2.0 or better grade point average, reapplication and continued financial need.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) awards offered at GW range from $200 to $4,000. In accordance with federal regulations, FSEOG is awarded to students with exceptional financial need, and priority is given to students with Federal Pell Grant eligibility. Renewal of the FSEOG is contingent upon maintaining a 2.0 or better grade point average, reapplication by the published April deadline, continued financial need and Federal Pell Grant eligibility. Funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, room, board and other educational expenses.

Scholarships

Graduation cap throwing

GW offers both need-based and non-need-based scholarships.  The university is committed to the pursuit of academic excellence and rewards qualified students with academic merit scholarships. Approximately 24 percent of freshmen receive merit-based financial assistance. Even though you may meet the qualifications for several scholarships, only one will be awarded.

Non-need scholarships for entering freshmen

The university offers a number of non-need scholarships for entering freshmen, most of which are determined at the time of admission and no application is required. Freshmen awarded one of our non-need scholarships are guaranteed this award for up to 10 consecutive semesters as long as they maintain continuous full-time enrollment and satisfactory academic progress. Below is a list of these scholarships. Details about these scholarships are given on the Apply pages of our Web site.

  •  Presidential Academic Scholarships
  • Presidential International Scholarship
  • Engineering Scholarships
  • Seven-Year Integrated B.A./M.D.
  • Arts Scholarships
  •  Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholars
  • Scottish Rite Scholarship
  • ROTC Scholars

Non-need scholarships for entering transfers

The university has several scholarships for transfer students who have demonstrated achievement in selected areas prior to coming to GW. These scholarships are listed below. More detailed information can be found in the Apply pages of our Web site.

  • Phi Theta Kappa
  • Alpha Beta Gamma
  • Engineering Scholarship
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Need-Based Scholarships

In addition to merit-based scholarship awards, the university grants several need-based scholarship awards. Receipt of these awards is based on financial need as demonstrated through the financial aid application as well as academic and extracurricular achievements.

  • The Board of Trustees Scholarship--The Board of Trustees Scholarship (BOT) is available to academically excellent students who also demonstrate eligibility for need-based assistance according to GW’s financial aid policy.
  • University Scholarships—Need-based tuition scholarships, including endowed awards listed in the Bulletin, are available to academically excellent students working on their first undergraduate degree. We automatically will consider all aid applicants for these awards and do not need additional applications.

Outside Scholarships

Outside scholarships may be available to you through community groups, your high school or other organizations. The Office of Financial Assistance must be notified if you receive a scholarship from an outside source. It may affect your financial aid eligibility depending on individual circumstances and the amount of the scholarship.

Change in Financial Circumstances

Autumn in GW

If you are an undergraduate student whose family has experienced a significant change in financial circumstances, we encourage you to contact our Office of Student Financial Assistance as early as possible. You may do so by writing a letter specifying how your situation has changed since the original filing of your PROFILE and FAFSA forms. We ask that you provide us with detailed information, along with specific monetary amounts for any increased expenses or changes in income, so that we can evaluate your financial need. We will let you know if we need any additional information and we will inform you of our decision.

Subject to availability of funds, we typically allow award changes for the following: disability or death of a parent, unemployment, layoffs, pay cuts, emergency medical expenses, or natural disasters. Please be aware that we cannot revise awards based on your family's financial decisions, such as a parent choosing not to pay your educational costs or your family falling short of resources due to allocating funds elsewhere.

Managing the Family Contribution

Graduation and Family

The family contribution is the amount of money your family is expected to pay toward your college education for one year and is determined by subtracting any financial aid received from the total cost of attendance. Paying the family contribution through family income or savings is the ideal choice; however, such a contribution may exceed family resources.

Listed below are options we encourage you to consider in your financial planning. 

Monthly Payment Plan

The GW Monthly Payment Plan allows GW students and their parents to spread out annual college costs (tuition, fees, housing and meals) across more manageable monthly installments.

GW has partnered with ECSI to manage the payment plan. The monthly payment plan allows payments to be spread over up to ten months per year. The first payment for the fall semester is due in June, and the first payment for the spring semester is due in November.  As long as the sum of your payments covers each semester balance, you are not subject to interest or late fees. For more information, visit http://www.ecsi.net/gateway/3y-tpp.html.

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students

Federal Direct PLUS loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education are available to credit-worthy parents. With a Direct PLUS loan, parents may borrow up to the full cost of the student's education, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and living expenses, less any financial aid. There are no maximum or minimum income guidelines for eligibility for such a loan. Additional advantages include a current 8.5 percent fixed interest rate; interest may be tax deductible.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are funded by the U.S. Department of Education. To receive a Federal Direct Stafford Loan—whether subsidized or unsubsidized—applicants for admission to GW must submit a completed FAFSA.

Private Alternative Loan Options

Private alternative loans are non-federal, private credit-based loan products offered by various lending institutions. The loans generally require school certification of enrollment and eligibility information and are issued in the student's name. They can be used like a Federal Direct PLUS loan to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any financial aid. We encourage students to exhaust all federal loans described on this page before considering private loans.

Evaluating Need Based Assistance

The GW experience at Kogan Plaza

Financing a GW education is a very important aspect in determining your ability to attend our exciting University. At GW, we are committed to assisting families to make the most of their financial aid dollars and to treat families equitably while maintaining flexibility in recognizing unusual situations. Each financial aid application file is given a personal review by experienced staff in the Office of Student Financial Assistance. In addition to submitting the required documentation, you are welcome to include any information you believe will help us understand your family's financial circumstances.

The following factors are used in determining a student’s eligibility for need-based assistance.

Determining the Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance is determined by the University and is an estimate of the educational and miscellaneous expenses a student will occur during the nine-month academic year.  An educational expense budget is calculated for each financial aid applicant. These expenses include direct costs such as tuition, fees, room, and board as well as indirect costs which are standard allowances for books, supplies, personal expenses, and transportation. 

Calculating the Expected Family Contribution

GW uses both the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the CSS Profile as the main determinants in calculating the family contribution. The Office of Student Financial Assistance evaluates each student's application using federal and institutional methodologies to assess the family’s financial resources. During the review, attention is given to individual family circumstances. Standard factors involved in the review include income, family assets, household size, the number of children enrolled in college at the undergraduate level and unreimbursed medical expenses.  Based on this information, a determination is made as to what the family is expected to contribute toward the student's annual educational expenses following the appropriate federal and University policies.

Financial Need is Determined

Demonstrated financial need of each student is the difference between the cost of attendance and the calculated family contribution. The calculated need determines the student’s eligibility for financial assistance.

Construction of a Financial Aid Award

Eligibility for government grants is estimated and, if there is significant need, aid may be offered from University-administered and University-funded resources. The student is sent notification of the aid offer in the form of an award letter.

The financial aid award may include one or a combination of any of the following assistance vehicles: grants and/or scholarships from federal and/or institutional funds, federal loans, and work study.

Verification of Need-Based Award

In order to provide the most accurate award for students, as well as to make efficient use of financial aid dollars, GW verifies 100 percent all financial aid awards.  For this reason, tax data is requested from the parents and the student.

How GW Determines Financial Need

Types of Assistance

Evaluating Need-Based Assistance

We recognize that financing a GW education can be a deciding factor in attending GW. In assisting families, our approach is to be open minded, creative and flexible. We provide a personalized evaluation process in order to maximize your assistance based on your financial picture.


Managing Family Contributions

Families are expected to pay their share of a GW education. Paying the family contribution through family income or savings is the ideal choice. However, there are other resources and options to consider when paying for college.

Change in Financial Circumstances

Now more than ever, there are a variety of factors that we will consider in re-evaluating your financial aid eligibility

Fixed Tuition at GW

Excellence Awards 2009

Our families tell us that the fixed tuition plan takes much of the guesswork out of financing higher education. Last year alone, private institutions nationwide raised their tuition an average of 6.3 percent. So, while tuition elsewhere is subject to annual increases, the cost of a GW education, once set, remains constant.

We are committed to attracting academically qualified students who want to be at GW. Through the University’s innovative fixed-rate tuition plan, students no longer need to be concerned about annual tuition increases. The tuition you pay as an entering student remains fixed for your undergraduate program provided you maintain continuous full-time enrollment and are registered for a minimum of 12 semester hours of study each fall and spring term. Students also have the flexibility of a tuition fixed for up to ten semesters of study should a fifth year be required to achieve their academic goals. There are no additional fees except for a minimal Student Association fee. So, right up front it allows families to know the cost of a GW education, not just for the first year, but through the conclusion of a degree program.

In comparing costs of education and offers of financial assistance, GW’s fixed-tuition plan gives our families a long-term, guaranteed outlook, compared to most other schools that provide only a one year financial glimpse. We recognize that making the financial sacrifice for a quality private education at a select university is not easy, so we are doing our best to make tuition management as predictable as possible.