Applicant SAT scores rise despite drop in merit aid

The SAT scores of high school applicants to GW rose 10 points this year, despite the fact that less money is being allocated to attract “elite” applicants with merit scholarships.

University officials said in October that due to the worsening financial crisis the school would shift its admissions focus further away from using merit scholarships to draw “elite” students and more toward helping students already enrolled.

“The University’s objective in this economic climate is to stabilize enrollment and quality consistent with our Board of Trustees-approved goals,” Chernak wrote in an e-mail. “Our primary attention in the use of student aid dollars will be first to assist current students whose families may be unfortunately adversely affected by unforeseen economic circumstances.”

Decisions for early decision applicants, who agree to attend the University if accepted, were released in December or February. Regular decision applicants learn whether they have been accepted in late March or early April.

“Currently, our enrollments are strong across the board, and our applications for next fall are stable in every area,” University President Steven Knapp wrote in an e-mail to the GW community on Tuesday.

Dan Small, executive director of financial aid, said a large portion of the recently allocated $15 million increase in financial aid will go toward assisting existing students, a group that has seen a 15 percent increase in requests for more assistance.

Small said requests for aid among new applicants have also increased, but by a smaller percentage. Currently, roughly 60 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid, Small said.

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