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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials direct about $4.5 million for emergency student grants

File Photo by Gabrielle Rhoads | Staff Photographer
Provost Brian Blake said he is considering raising the minimum GPA to qualify for merit-based financial aid from a 2.0 to about a 2.7.

Officials will accept roughly $13.7 million allocated to GW under the federal stimulus package passed late last year, directing nearly $5 million toward student aid.

Provost Brian Blake and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz said in an email to the University community Monday that officials will direct about $4.5 million toward emergency aid for students, the minimum amount required by the law. Officials will also direct about $9.2 million to offset the costs of GW’s COVID-19 testing apparatus, they said.

“As we manage the many impacts of the pandemic, we remain committed to safety, the care of our community and fulfilling our core academic mission,” Blake and Diaz said. “These priorities have driven, and will continue to drive, every decision we make.”

Blake and Diaz said the 5,735 undergraduate, graduate and professional students with an expected family contribution of $5,711 or less based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid this academic year are eligible to receive a one-time grant of roughly $794. Undergraduates with that expected family contribution or less qualify to receive Pell Grants.

Officials will contact eligible students this week with information about how to accept the grant, which can be used to cover emergency expenses that arose as a result of the pandemic, according to the email.

“We will begin the process of distributing these grants immediately,” Blake and Diaz said. “Consistent with the federal legislation, we will prioritize aid for those students with exceptional need.”

The federal stimulus package allocated about $21.2 billion to colleges and universities based on their relative shares of Pell Grant recipients and enrollment. The law stipulated that GW must direct at least $4.56 million for student emergency aid, according to Department of Education data.

Officials opted in May to direct all of the $9.1 million allocated to GW under the CARES Act toward student aid.

Officials will use the remaining funds to offset the costs of GW’s COVID-19 testing apparatus. GW has faced a $180 million budget gap this fiscal year, which has led to layoffs and temporary freezes on hirings, capital projects and retirement contributions.

GW has conducted more than 68,000 COVID-19 tests as of Thursday, according to GW’s testing dashboard. Students, staff and faculty accessing campus are required to be tested weekly, and students living off campus can get tested voluntarily.

“Given our foremost priority of safety, the University will use this funding to help offset the significant costs associated with implementing and continually strengthening our public health capabilities, such as our in-house COVID-19 testing,” Blake and Diaz said. “These capabilities are especially critical as we prepare for fall, when we will be back in person to the fullest extent possible.”

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