Message from the Provost and Chief Financial Officer to GW Students

Provost Blake and CFO Diaz announced that $9.1 million in federal CARES Act funds will be available to eligible students.

May 27, 2020

Dear GW Community,

On behalf of President LeBlanc and the GW leadership, we write today to share some positive news for our students, many of whom have faced significant financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university has been allocated approximately $9.1 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), which includes a requirement that at least half of this funding be distributed directly to students as emergency aid for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during the pandemic. While universities may use the other half of the funding for institutional purposes, we will distribute all $9.1 million directly to students.

The U.S. Department of Education determined the amount of funding allocated to GW based on total student enrollment and the percentage of enrolled students during the spring 2020 semester who are recipients of the federal government’s Pell Grant financial aid award. In that spirit, we will distribute direct grants to more than 4,600 students at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels who have demonstrated the highest levels of financial need based on their completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file for the current academic year (2019-20). 

Undergraduate students who have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,600 or less based on their FAFSA, which qualifies them for Pell Grants, and graduate and professional students whose EFC is $5,600 or less, will be eligible to receive a one-time monetary grant of $1,868. Students eligible for this funding will be contacted directly via email this week with detailed instructions. For more information, visit

Separately, students with an EFC of $5,601 or more based on their completed 2019-20 FAFSA who were enrolled in spring 2020 will have the opportunity to apply to receive a one-time grant of $500 for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations during the pandemic. These students must apply for this funding. The application will be available beginning June 8 at 9 a.m. EST at We anticipate that we will be able to provide these grants to approximately 900 students, and funding will be disbursed as applications are received until funds are exhausted.

While we are grateful for these federal funds to support students in need, we also recognize that there are many more students who incurred unanticipated expenses during this past semester. The GW Cares Student Assistance Fund—which is not related to the federal act and was launched by GW in March through donations from the Student Association, alumni, faculty, staff and other community members—has granted monetary awards to more than 1,000 students to offset a short-term financial need. We continue to encourage donations to this fund, knowing that need remains in our community. 

Finally, we recognize that some of our students and families may be facing longer-term financial challenges. Students who have had a recent significant change in their family's financial circumstances are encouraged to submit updated information so that we may help you plan for the upcoming academic year. More detailed guidance is available online for undergraduate and graduate students. Professional students enrolled in GW Law and School of Medicine and Health Sciences should contact their respective financial aid offices.

In times of crisis, it is more important than ever that we look out for one another. The decision by President LeBlanc and the GW leadership to make the federal CARES Act funds available in full to our students was made based on our priority of caring for our community. We remain proud of all of our students for your determination and perseverance in weathering this difficult period and continuing your academic journey at GW. 


M. Brian Blake
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Mark Diaz
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer