Task force to tackle ‘access and success’ for low-income students

President Stephen Knapp
University President Steven Knapp launched a task force Monday to zero in on affordability. Hatchet File Photo
A team of top administrators will develop a strategy to help low-income students attend and find success at GW, the University announced Monday.

University President Steven Knapp unveiled the task force, which includes officials in admissions, financial aid and multicultural student services, one week after he and more than 100 other leaders publicly threw their support behind President Barack Obama’s college affordability campaign.

Knapp announced that the University would hold workshops at surrounding schools and libraries to give tips on how to fill out college applications, bring local high school students on campus for visits and partner with more community colleges. But experts say these and other efforts across the country will have little impact on education inequality.

Terri Harris Reed, the University’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion, will chair the task force that will bring together three deans, Senior Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Laurie Koehler, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman and Associate Vice President for Financial Assistance Dan Small.

“I remain as committed to making GW accessible to students from all backgrounds as I was on my first day on campus. But there is more that we can and must do not only to open our doors but to ensure the success of our students once they arrive,” Knapp said in a statement.

Two students, an undergraduate and graduate, and an alumnus will also work on the task force.

Under Knapp, the University has made some progress in opening up its doors to low-income students. Fourteen percent of students are eligible for low-income Pell Grants – up from 9 percent five years ago. The University’s financial aid pool has also expanded under Knapp.

But GW has rarely publicly stated affordability goals. The University also took heat last fall when a Hatchet report found that applicants who could pay full tuition sometimes got admissions priority over needy students, even though administrators touted GW as need-blind.

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