Some GW parents just can’t seem to pass up a good deal. About 150 families are taking advantage of a program to send a child to GW for half price.
Emphasizing the importance of family, GW gives the tuition break to any sibling of an undergraduate student who gets in.
“If I am a student, I want my family to be welcomed with open arms and open pockets,” said Christian Louis, a senior counselor in the Financial Aid Office.
The Family Grant Program is the main reason many students cite for coming to GW, and the siblings say it makes it easy to maintain their relationships.
“Finances are a huge factor in choosing your college, so getting half off is a big bonus,” Junior Marie Aspillera said. “I sincerely doubt that my younger brother would’ve come here this year if it weren’t for the family grant program.”
Junior Dave Lunin said the program was a main factor in his choice when he and his twin brother, Scott, decided to come to GW.
“Most other universities that I spoke with didn’t directly offer this type of program.” Lunin said. “They said they incorporated our situation into their financial aid equations, but no one had a specific program like GW’s.”
According to admissions offices at other area universities, GW offers the most generous family discount. Catholic University awards $2,000 for a sibling. Georgetown University factors it into student financial packages but does not give a specific amount. Howard, American and George Mason universities do not offer family grants.
Louis said the University awards about $1.8 million in family grants each year. The grant is only offered to full-time undergraduate students, and they must maintain a 2.0 grade point average to keep it.
Junior Jessica Stolow said although she and her twin sister, Molly, did not base their decision to come on financial need, having the sibling grant was an extra perk.
“We both wanted to come to GW anyway because we both just liked the school, but having the extra tuition discount is a great benefit,” Stolow said.
Students said they enjoy having their siblings at college with them.
“Having my sister here has been really good,” Stolow said. “We are able to stay close and be together but at the same time don’t necessarily have to be on top of each other.”
Freshman Ala Khansari also said he did not base his decision to attend GW on the grant but appreciates the money.
Junior Ali Khansari, Ala’s older brother, said that he has enjoyed having his brother at GW.
“I’m glad that my brother goes here,” Khansari said. “The first few weeks, it was a little strange to have him here; now it’s a lot better. We share many of the same friends and spend most of our time together.”
Ala Khansari said the program does come with drawbacks.
“Most of the time it’s cool to go to the same school as him,” Khansari said. “But, I don’t really like that he watches what I do and pushes me around at times.”
Sophomore Sara Karamloo has had a similar experience with her older brother, Reza, who is a junior.
“I spend a lot of time with my brother,” Karamloo said. “We have a good time together, but it does get frustrating because he and his roommates are constantly watching out for me.”
Reza Karamloo said he uses his academic experiences at GW to help his sister.
“I give her help and advice on which classes to take and which professors I think she would like,” Karamloo said.
Karamloo said it was strange at first to have his sister at the same school but he has adjusted to it.
Stolow agreed going to college with a sibling is strange at first.
“There was definitely a period of adjustment in deciding where we fit in to each other’s lives here, but it was just like the normal adjustment than any college student goes through, except with a sibling.”