Officials to prioritize Pell Grant recipients in grant applications under federal stimulus bill

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Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz said GW will use the federal aid to provide grants for students and offset institutional costs related to the pandemic.

Officials will distribute more than $12 million to students experiencing financial hardship next month using federal funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan.

Interim Provost Christopher Bracey and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz said in an email to the University community Thursday that all students who have enrolled at GW since the start of the pandemic are eligible to apply for the grants, which will total roughly $12.5 million, and officials will use the remaining $12.4 million in federal funds to offset institutional costs related to the pandemic. Eligible students, who will be contacted via email, can apply through Nov. 5 for the aid and officials will distribute the grants the following week.

“In order to distribute this federal funding, the George Washington University will utilize an application and certification form to identify students who experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic and who may have exceptional financial need,” the email states.

President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion package into law in March, which provided about $25 million to GW through a third influx of funds to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

Officials said they will prioritize grants for Pell Grant recipients, who were made automatically eligible for grants under the two previous funding rounds, when considering the applications.

The email states all students who were enrolled in GW when the coronavirus emergency was declared in March of last year are eligible to apply, including recent graduates and students who have unenrolled. Officials said they will email the more than 48,000 current and former students to notify them that they are eligible to apply.

The three federal stimulus bills have allocated a total of more than $47 million to GW since the beginning of the pandemic. The CARES Act allocated more than $9 million to GW in March 2020, and a second round of funding passed in December gave the University about $13.7 million.

In the first round of federal stimulus funding, officials opted to use all of the allocation for student aid, but they chose to split the second round of stimulus money between student aid and institutional costs related to GW’s COVID-19 testing apparatus.

“As we manage the many impacts of the pandemic, we remain committed to safety, the care of our community and fulfilling our core academic mission,” Diaz and Bracey said in the announcement. “These priorities have driven, and will continue to drive, every decision we make.”

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