The George Washington University announced Wednesday the GW District Scholars Award, a grant to expand college access to District of Columbia high school students and ensure that accepted D.C. students can attend GW regardless of their families’ financial circumstances.
The GW District Scholars Award—coupled with the existing D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant (D.C. TAG)—will provide students with the equivalent amount of funding to what he or she would receive through D.C. TAG if enrolled at a public university outside of the District.
When combined with a student’s remaining financial aid package of federal and other institutional funding, the GW District Scholars Award will enable the university to meet full demonstrated financial need for each qualifying D.C. student. It also will dramatically decrease the amount in private loans a student may need to finance his or her college education.
“The GW District Scholars Award is the latest expression of our commitment to the students and families of our great capital city,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “We want to ensure that District of Columbia students with the talent and ambition to benefit from a George Washington education will not be prevented from doing so by their financial circumstances.”
To qualify for the award, a D.C. high school student must be admitted to and enrolled at GW as a full-time, first-year undergraduate student and have an annual family income, as determined by GW, that does not exceed $75,000. Additionally, a student is required to apply and qualify for the $2,500 D.C. TAG funding each year he or she is enrolled.
Students who meet these criteria will automatically be awarded a $7,500 GW District Scholars Award.
The first round of GW District Scholars Award will be offered to students applying for undergraduate admission at GW beginning fall 2016. The deadline to apply for fall 2016 admission is Jan. 1, 2016. The application for 2016-17 D.C. TAG funding will open in February 2016.
The GW District Scholars Award does not require a separate application.
“We’re thrilled to have the support of President Steven Knapp and excited to have the George Washington University continue their support of our students from the District,” said District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Providing students in the District with a high-quality education is a critical priority, and this opportunity will be attractive for our academically-talented students who are striving to attend a top university to meet their educational goals.”
GW has had a long-standing commitment to D.C. students. For example, students attending the public magnet School Without Walls on the Foggy Bottom Campus can pursue associate degrees from GW while still in high school. Since 1989, the GW–Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship Program has awarded full-ride scholarships that cover tuition, room, board, books and fees to up to 10 students a year. GW also participates in D.C. College Application Week, which is part of a national effort to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students who pursue a postsecondary education.
“D.C. Public Schools works to ensure all of our students are prepared for college and career. This new initiative at GW is a great opportunity for DC students to get a wonderful, affordable college education, right here in Washington, D.C.,” said Kaya Henderson, chancellor of D.C. Public Schools.
The GW District Scholars Award is the latest step toward improving access to college education for students from all backgrounds. In October, the university announced a partnership with The Posse Foundation, a nationwide college access and youth leadership development program that offers full-tuition leadership scholarships to select Atlanta-area public high school graduates. In September, GW joined with the nonprofit organization Say Yes to Education to provide full-tuition scholarships for public high school students from participating chapters in New York and North Carolina whose annual family income is at or below $75,000.
In July, the university announced it would no longer require most undergraduate applicants to submit SAT or ACT test scores in response to recommendations from the university’s Task Force on Access and Success. The task force was formed in January 2014 after Dr. Knapp participated in a White House summit on college opportunity.
GW’s other college-access programming includes the Gil and Jacki Cisneros Institute, which offers a pre-college program to high school juniors who are committed to leadership and service within the Hispanic community and The Native American Political Leadership Program INSPIRE, offering a full scholarship precollege program to Native American, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian high school students.
Finally, as part of the university’s Making History campaign, GW has set a goal to raise at least $200 million to continue its institutional priority to ensure that qualified students, regardless of financial resources, can take full advantage of a GW education