For the first time since the U.S. officially pulled out of the recession in 2009, the number of students who appealed their financial aid packages did not shrink.
Associate Vice President of Financial Assistance Dan Small said GW is still feeling the aftermath of the financial downturn, with between 10 and 15 percent of students asking for more aid this year. Before the recession, Small said about 8 percent of students appealed.
Last year, about 250 students appealed for financial aid – a figure Small said was consistent with this year’s. He said he could not provide the number of students who had appealed so far.
He said this year the University is noticing an “aftershock” of the recession for students whose parents were employed by small businesses that weathered the recession but have been increasingly losing ground.
When a student’s financial situation changes because of layoffs, pay cuts or other unanticipated challenges, the University meets the appeals about 80 percent of the time. Small said the emergency aid packages can include grants, loans and Federal Work Study funds.
Small said appeals have dropped off dramatically since the start of the recession, with more than 1,000 students requesting more aid each year. About 64 percent of students receive financial aid, he said.
“They’re stretching, and we’re stretching, and hopefully we’re bridging that gap,” Small said.
The University sets aside money each year for financial aid appeals before doling out grants and loans.
This year, GW’s undergraduate funding pool totaled about $163.4 million, a 3 percent increase from the previous year and a more than 15 percent increase from the funding pool in 2009 – when GW saw the most appeals.