Scholarships Open Doors




The Centuries Initiative for Scholarships & Fellowships


Every year, thousands of talented and promising students come to the George Washington University with a desire to change the world. But not every future leader has the same opportunities.






With the launch of Open Doors: The Centuries Initiative for Scholarships & Fellowships, we begin our third century by strengthening the university’s focus on increasing access to a GW education. Financial support from generous donors will close the financial gap and create opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

Our priority is clear: Increasing access to a GW education and supporting our best and brightest—regardless of their background or financial circumstances—for years to come.

This is just the beginning. Join us. Let's Open Doors.

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Affordability is a critical factor in whether or not talented students come to GW. In fact, even after scholarships, federal grants, loans, work study jobs and family contributions, many GW undergraduate students still face an annual financial gap of $3,000-$6,000. 

This is why we must begin our third century charting a new course to increase access for GW students with the greatest need. The new initiative takes concrete steps that will directly impact hundreds of students and their families. Plus, it will also raise funds for:

  • Additional undergraduate scholarships
  • Fellowships for graduate students

GW is committed to investing in the next generation of leaders and problem solvers and helping these talented students realize their dreams. Building a diverse student body from all walks of life by increasing access to the power of higher education is our responsibility—for our students and for our nation’s future.




approximate number of incoming GW undergraduates each year who face a financial gap they struggle to meet


average amount of the financial gap


percentage of applicants to GW say that affordability and financial aid are major factors in their final college choice




growth in students who are eligible for Pell grants at GW, from 1,280 students in 2011-12 to 1,623 students in 2020-21


increase of the university's financial aid investment since 2011


”I think back to my high school self, unsure of a clear direction in life and think: ‘You finally made it.’ I then remember all of my mentors and the people who believed in me along the way. I remember the school and the donors who made it possible. And I am forever grateful.”

William Murphy
B.S. ’16



Opening Doors Together

GW students arrive on campus with big dreams for their future. With the help of scholarships and fellowships, they’re able to gain peace of mind while focusing their talents and brainpower on achieving their ambitious goals.


Wes Holloway, CCAS art student and advocate.



Wes Holloway, Class of 2023

Body images and the ways society responds to the human form is a theme that’s defined artist Wes Holloway’s work—and his life. In 2003, Wes suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

A recipient of the Morris Louis Art Student Assistant Fund and the Martha Von Hirsh Memorial Scholarship, Holloway is committed to pursuing his dreams of becoming a professional artist, while focusing his craft on deconstructing stereotypes of masculinity, sexuality and body ideals.

“Attending GW puts me in a place where…I am able to tie my artwork into the issues, with the hope that I will create meaningful change in viewpoints and policy,” he said. “Complex problems demand creative strategies. These scholarships have given me the ability to uplift my voice.”

“I can speak to people through art in ways that I can’t always do with words,” he said. “Art has helped open my eyes to what other people have lived through and the universality of what we all go through.”

Read more about Wes


Jordan Michel, GW Law, Jeanette Michael Memorial Endowed Law Scholarship recipient



Jordan Michel, Class of 2023

The GW Law student spent decades navigating the labyrinth of immigration law and now uses that understanding to help fight for civil and human rights.  

“I want to serve humanity, and I can see how it might seem weird to join the military in order to help people,” he said. “But people think the same thing about the law: it’s a field that can do a lot of harm, but it has the potential to do so much good. I think being in the military and being on that side of it will teach me some of the realities of humanitarian law in a way that will allow me to apply that knowledge to make real change.”  

"I applied to law school with a dream and a desire to effect change, but with no idea how I would afford it. [Donor funding] goes a long way in making law school possible for me.”

Read more at GW Today


Grace Seo, student at GW School of Media and Public Affairs.



Grace Seo, Class of 2023

Scholarship funding has allowed Grace Seo to devote more energy to her academics and the opportunity to connect with professors and the diverse community of GW.

”It’s really important to not only be involved in your academics and pursue what you want to do as a career, but also—because GW is so diverse—it’s so important to embrace your own culture and heritage,” she said. “Being a part of the Asian-American Student Association has allowed me to meet people who share the same types of problems and issues and perspectives.”

Read more at GW Today


Allison Cameron, GW alumna.



Allison Cameron, Class of 2022

Allison Cameron knew even as a high school student that she wanted to go to medical school, which would probably entail considerable out-of-pocket expenses.

She chose GW in part because its urban campus and large, diverse student population would offer an exciting new context in which to explore and expand her interests.

”I was always of the mindset that I want to do that thing I’m passionate about, regardless of whether it would be word for word everything they want on a med school application,” she said. “I would rather do things that I really love while I have the time in college.”

Many of those things were made possible by aid, including staying on campus one summer to research the effect of pesticides on honeybee memory, a paper she’s now working on getting published, after years as an undergraduate researcher in the biology department’s honeybee lab.

”There’s so many things I know I wouldn’t have been able to do if not for financial aid,” Cameron said. “I took the EMT class at GW, and being able to take that as part of my course load was super helpful. That’s given me so many opportunities, and now it’s my job.”

Read more at GW Today


Read more stories of student success

Tell us Your Scholarship Story




Open Doors Clears the Path to Success

The lessons learned and opportunities gained at GW set our graduates up for exciting, impactful careers and fulfilling lives...all of which would not be possible without crucial help along the way. 


Smiling student



Theiline Gborkorquellie, M.D. ’13

Cecile and Seymour Alpert, M.D., Scholarship, Daniel J. Stone Health Services Scholarship and others

The daughter of Liberian immigrants, Theiline Gborkorquellie was born just a year after her parents arrived in Syracuse, N.Y. Her mother, a nurse, died when Dr. Gborkorquellie was only 11. The trauma of the event, along with the values of service and care that her mother had instilled in and modeled for her, set her on the path toward a medical career.

Dr. Gborkorquellie came to GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) in part because of the institution’s strong record of community engagement. At GW, she received the Cecile and Seymour Alpert, M.D., Scholarship and others to support her education. Today, Dr. Gborkorquellie is a pediatrician at Children’s National at THEARC, an all-in-one pediatric health center and community-partnered satellite arm of the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., where she works toward trauma-informed care in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and helping primary care pediatricians in community health centers improve the mental health care. In addition to her practice and her advocacy, Dr. Gborkorquellie is an assistant professor at SMHS.






William Murphy, B.S. ’16

Nelson and Michele Carbonell Engineering Endowed Scholarship

William Murphy wasn’t always sure he’d go to college at all. But a cancer research position he secured in high school changed those aspirations. He was drawn to GW to pursue both engineering and cancer research, and he got in with significant scholarships—including one from an endowed fund established by GW Board of Trustees Chair Emeritus Nelson A. Carbonell Jr., B.S. ’85 that closed his need gap.

At GW, Mr. Murphy was able to join Dr. Keidar’s lab as an undergraduate cancer researcher. He established relationships with faculty mentors, and his scholarships also gave him the flexibility to balance a rigorous academic schedule with a healthy social life. After GW, Mr. Murphy found his “dream job” as a lead engineer at BioMarker Strategies, a start-up biotechnology company working on cancer diagnostics and matching cancer patients with the right therapeutic care.




Moshe Pasternak

Moshe Pasternak, B.A. ’17

Power and Promise Fund

Moshe Pasternak grew up in a New Jersey town with many advantages, including access to highly-ranked public schools. But the Pasternaks, like many American families, were hard hit by the financial crash in 2008—hard enough, in fact, that the bank foreclosed on their home.

Jasmine Vicencio

Jasmine Vicencio, B.S. ’16, M.P.H. ‘20

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship 

Jasmine Vicencio had no idea she should expect a surprise when she walked into then-GW President Steven Knapp’s office for what she had been told was a final admissions interview in March 2011.

Avonda Fogan

Avonda Fogan, B.A. ’16

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg Scholarship 

Avonda Fogan has never been one to follow a narrow path. And her selection as an SJT scholar in 2012 meant she had the opportunity to go in any direction she wanted to explore.









“This is just the beginning of our work to ensure that GW opens the doors of opportunity for the most talented students around the world. We are making scholarships and fellowships a major fundraising priority to ensure every future leader has the same opportunity.”

Grace Speights, LAW JD ‘82
Chair, GW Board of Trustees

GW Today Story