Starting Our New Century with a Focus on Access
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 and 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.
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 financial needs. 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 overcome the financial obstacles to 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 GW undergraduates each year who face a financial gap they cannot 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.”
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.
”As a Political Communication major, GW is the only university that allows me to get such hands-on experience relating to my field. Being in Washington, D.C. has enabled me to pursue internships in communications and political consultancy while being on the Executive Board of the GW Pakistani Student Association–and I owe it all to my scholarship. I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am. Receiving this scholarship has alleviated so much stress and allows me to give my complete attention to my courses and work in the nation’s capital.”
“With the pandemic, my family didn't know if we were going to be able to afford the cost of tuition this year, and scholarships made it possible for me to continue my education at GW. I appreciate donors’ kindness so much and look forward to paying it forward one day.”
”Attending law school in Washington, D.C. enables me to continue working in the federal government while I complete my degree. GW Law’s unparalleled location has allowed me to take courses with a wide range of professors who work as federal judges, civil servants, and in other high-level positions across all three branches of government. The scholarship I received has significantly impacted my decision to attend GW Law and contributed to my ability to pursue a career in public service. Without the thoughtful support of donors like you, this path simply wouldn't be possible, and I am very grateful for it.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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