University may boost aid pool by $5 million

After receiving a record amount of financial aid appeals this year, a top University administrator will recommend an additional $5 million be added to the amount of financial aid allocated for the 2010-2011 school year.

In February, the Board of Trustees approved a $10 million increase to the amount of financial aid slated for distribution – amounting to $143 million. But Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said last week he will recommend an additional $5 million be added to that total at the board meeting May 14.

If approved, $148 million will be doled out to GW students, up from $133 million this year and $120 million in fiscal year 2008. GW’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

“At the end of the day, the whole thing has got to balance out and we’ve got to prove it, but we are assuming they will approve it,” Katz said of the recommendation.

Daniel Small, executive director of financial aid, said more than 950 students appealed for additional financial aid in light of circumstances that arose after original aid packages were sent for the 2009-2010 school year. The change marked a 26 percent increase from the previous year when 750 students appealed for more aid. Since the 2007-2008 academic year, appeals for aid have risen 72 percent, Small said.

The amount of appeals for the 2009-2010 school year hit an all-time high. The University started receiving appeals in the summer, and they continued throughout the fall semester, Small said.

“Families are still feeling the affects [sic] of the economy, so having a larger than expected aid allocation, we will be able to address some of the ‘special’ issues or circumstances that are brought to our attention,” Small said in an e-mail.

For some incoming freshmen in the class of 2014, the increase in financial aid allocation will be a deciding factor in their college choice.

“GW is an amazing school and is in a great location, but it has a high price tag that comes with it,” said Evan Kline, a student admitted to the class of 2014. “I think not just for me but also for many other students, the financial aid package is a major factor in the decision to attend GW.”

Kline said the increase in financial aid is good news for students like him, who are still waiting to receive their financial aid packets.

“I think that by increasing financial aid to students, they are increasing the diversity of students that are able to attend GW,” Kline said. “It will give more students the opportunity to experience GW.”

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