When it Comes to Doing Our Homework, You Can Count on GW

As one of the nation’s major research institutions and one of the largest private employers in the Washington, D.C. area, GW is concerned with numerous policy and legislative issues at the federal level. The Office of Government Relations concentrates on student financial aid, federal funding, and higher education reauthorization.

In addition, the Office participates in a variety of national forums and works with various higher education associations like the American Council on Education (ACE), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and the Consortium of DC Colleges and Universities to advocate for GW’s interests. 

Here are the primary areas of concern for the Office of Government Relations:

Containing the costs of a college education has, for good reason, become an issue of national concern. OGCR, on behalf of the university, advocates for increasing financial aid for students. According to the NAICU’s 2015-16 figures, GW’s total loan volume for student federal loan programs was more than $250 million. Thousands of GW students also benefit from a variety of federal need-based loans, including Pell Grants (1,564 awards for 2015-16) and Perkins Loans (2,753 awards). The university continues to work with the federal government to help ensure that qualified students, regardless of financial resources, can take full advantage of a GW education.

For the ninth consecutive year, GW’s Board of Trustees voted to limit increases in the overall cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room and board) for entering freshmen to under four percent. Plus, GW President Steven Knapp is a vocal leader on this issue within the higher ed community, having created both a university-wide Task Force on Access and Success and participated in several meetings on the issue, including a college affordability summit at the White House.

As the primary source for federal funding, the federal budget and appropriations process is of critical concern to every university in the country. Federal spending on major higher education programs was approximately $76 billion in 2013,with $33 billion being spent on student financial aid grants and $25 billion spent on federally funded research at colleges and universities.

In addition, the most recent National Science Foundation (NSF) R&D expenditure numbers report GW’s R&D expenditures for 2014 totaled nearly $228 million. Last but not least, GW also receives separate Title VI funding for its Institute on Middle Eastern Studies and foreign language scholarships. 

As the primary office for advocating for GW’s share of federal funding, OGCR continues to ensure that this crucial source of financial support will continue to help GW fulfill its mission of advancing new knowledge and educating future generations of citizen leaders.

To learn more about how federal funding affects GW’s educational mission, read this GW Today feature story.

President's Budget
House Appropriations Committee
Senate Appropriations Committee

Another key area of concern in Congress is the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Reauthorization of HEA will bring a whole host of issues on the table, from a full-scale reexamination of the entire federal financial aid system, including Pell Grants and all Federal Loan Programs, consolidating all federal loans and grants, streamlining FAFSA paperwork, increasing the amount of consumer information colleges provide to potential applicants, and devising new regulations on colleges and universities in several areas, including teacher preparation and college safety standards.

OGCR will continue to monitor the progress of HEA and help provide any necessary insight and expertise to ensure that its policies benefit both higher education in general and the entire GW community in particular.