Hundreds call for more financial aid

Hundreds of parents and students are calling the University’s newly created financial aid call center to voice concerns about financing a GW education in the worsening recession.

The call center was created by the financial aid and student account offices last month as a pilot program to answer questions from people concerned about paying for GW or looking to boost their aid package. The University’s cost of attendance is one of the highest in the nation, but roughly 60 percent of students receive some form of financial aid.

“The call center is what we call a pilot program or a soft-sell program. We are still working out all the kinks so it is not official yet,” said Dan Small, director of financial assistance. “We are still evaluating the best way to go about this but the response overall has been positive.”

At the Board of Trustees meeting on Friday, Small reported that the center has been “very active.” He also reported that the University has received more than 500 appeals for additional financial aid since October.

Allan From, chairman of the Board Committee on Student Affairs, said that the financial aid center has been “very efficient, answering 200 calls per day.”

“Many folks are calling in very anxious. Last year, many people that could once afford GW lost valuable assets or lost their jobs due to the economy,” From said at the meeting. “This has affected all income brackets.”

Small said that the University was able to meet the needs of 85 percent of the 500 appeals, while the other 15 percent did not provide the adequate information needed or did not follow up with their requests.

Earlier this year, the financial aid office sent a “proactive letter in the fall because of the concern with the current economy,” Small said. Almost 98 percent of calls received since the letter was sent have been answered within 24 hours, he said.

Small said the GW community will be notified when the University decides to permanently establish the call center.

The Board of Trustees approved a $15 million increase in financial aid funding at their meeting in the Elliott School of International Affairs building on Friday. From reported that 65 percent of financial aid will be provided to returning students and 35 to 40 percent is allocated to new students.

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