Beyond the Classroom Newsletter Logo
Beyond the Classroom is a quarterly faculy newsletter from Enrollment and Student Success. 
GW Skyline
 September 2020

Inside this edition

  • A Message from the New VP for Enrollment and Student Success 
  • ESS and Financial Aid Virtual Forum
  • Online Resources
Dear GW Faculty,

I was excited to start my new journey at GW in August.  Given the pandemic, it has been a very unique learning and orientation experience. Everyone has gone out of their way to help me navigate the university from my home office. I have greatly appreciated all of the support and outreach.

This academic year will be unlike any other, and I know that you are also facing new challenges as we support our students in this virtual environment. Given the shift to remote learning for the fall semester, much of my attention over the past few weeks has been focused on monitoring the impact of the changes on our enrollments.

The pandemic has created a wide variety of obstacles for all of our students. A significant number of our international students were unable to travel and could not participate in classes.  Many GW students had family circumstances or learning preferences that made the virtual course environment problematic.  The changes motivated a portion of our students to defer their admission or to take a leave of absence until next year.

The impact these factors have had on the overall enrollment is not surprising and mirrors the trends experienced at other universities with restricted campus access and primarily online classes. As a result, GW’s total fall enrollment is down compared to previous years. Although there are declines among both new and returning students, we have also seen enrollment growth in some of the health care, professional, and graduate programs. Additionally, our new first-year and transfer undergraduates make up one of the more diverse and academically talented classes in recent years. We will continue to monitor the enrollments and plan to share more detailed reports once Institutional Research releases the final fall census data in October.

Over the next few weeks, my plan is to focus on three key activities: connecting, learning, and innovating.   

I will continue to spend part of each day connecting with our students, staff, and faculty. I have had many introductory meetings already, but I am eager to continue these discussions and to learn more about GW and our community. I am also reaching out to the Student Association and other student groups to identify and address emerging issues. Through the various meetings, a review of our technologies, and the use of new micro-trend engagement teams, I hope to identify ways we can further improve student success throughout the academic year. Additionally, I will establish a set of enrollment management shared services and a rapid-response operation to better address emerging conditions and increase communications about new student programs.

I hope you find this quarterly newsletter helpful in understanding the efforts of the teams that comprise the Enrollment & Student Success division.  Please feel free to reach out to me directly. I am eager to hear your ideas for strengthening our collective efforts to create a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all members of the GW community.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

All the best,

Jay Goff                                            
Vice Provost, Enrollment & Student Success
ESS and Financial Aid Virtual Forum
Explaining Financial Aid & Fall Repackaging
In late July the University announced the decision to transition to remote coursework this fall.  In addition, the University announced there would be a 10% tuition reduction for Foggy Bottom undergraduate students who do not live on campus.  As a result of these changes, federal guidelines required that we maintain compliance in our financial aid awarding process and revise packages to reflect the changes associated with an adjustment in cost of attendance. Consequently, over 4,700 financial aid packages were adjusted based on this change in cost of attendance.

Additionally, changes in housing requirements impacted students' cost of attendance. Some students have been granted permission to live on campus (and thus did not receive the 10% tuition reduction), some students had off-campus leases (and could receive financial aid awards that reflected an off-campus housing allowance), and most students had their aid reflected for an “at home” allowance.

The change to financial aid packages caused confusion, stress, and anger from students who did not understand why their assistance was changing.  We understand the feelings many expressed and have taken steps to clarify these changes and  address individual student concerns.  Many students and their families thought that their out of pocket costs  increased dramatically. In fact, many students saw lower direct costs after the repackaging.
In August, Enrollment and Student Success, in partnership with the Student Association, hosted two virtual forums to address financial aid questions and concerns. You can find the video recording here
Accessibility and Financial Support Initiatives
  • Emergency Funding - The University offers a number of funds, in the form of loans and grants, to help address emergencies that arise.  Click here for additional information. 
  • Academic Materials Grant - The Office for Student Success will award one-time textbook grants for Pell-eligible students this year.  A limited reserve of funding has been put aside for emergency grants for academic supplies for students in need this academic year.  Students may email success@gwu.edu for additional information.
  • GW Federal Work Study - Did you know  that students engaged in Federal Work Study (FWS)  are more likely to retain and graduate?  FWS first-year students at GW (2018 cohort) retained at 96.2% compared to 92% overall. Six-year graduation rates have averaged 3% higher for FWS students, compared to the overall rate.  We also know that one of the primary reasons students leave GW is due to lack of connection.  Hiring a FWS student in your department is an inexpensive way to make a big difference.  Here’s what students tell us.
  • CARES ACT HEERF - Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds totaling $9.1 million were distributed to 5,990 eligible undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Spring 2020.  
  • Internet Access - GW has acquired a limited number of personal hotspot devices available on loan at no cost to students who may not have access to reliable internet service.  Contact students@gwu.edu for additional information.  
GW Campus

Faculty Feedback


Academic progress remains a priority in helping students graduate on time.  Students who are made aware of their performance early in the semester can make adjustments to their habits, and are therefore more likely to succeed.  We recommend incorporating graded work in the first few weeks of the semester (ideally before the add/drop period ends) in order to allow students to gauge their progress, in time to make final course decisions.  The Office for Student Success enables input from faculty to submit feedback throughout the semester for students of concern, providing targeted intervention to students whose grades  indicate they need additional support.  Benefits of reporting mid-term grades through Faculty Feedback include a better ability to connect students with resources to make changes in the middle of the semester, as well as fewer deficient final grades.  More information about this process and how to submit feedback will be released in the coming weeks from your school.
Academic and Wellness Virtual Resources
Academic
Health and Wellness
  • Medical Services are currently being offered remotely by telemedicine. Clinicians are available for phone call consultations Mondays through Friday 8:30am-5:00pm by calling 202-994-5300. After-hours nurse advice line is available all other times.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)  is available by phone 24/7. CAPS  provides phone consultations, virtual workshops, self-help resources.  CAPS will resume its traditional fall workshops, mental health discussion series, We Talks, and group programming in Fall 2020 virtually.
The George Washington University
Important Dates
September 15-October 15: LatinX Heritage Celebration
September 25: Last day to ADD or DROP full semester courses via RTF-EZ

Sunday, September 27: Last day to DROP a course on BanWeb
October 2: Deadline to apply to participate in Alternative Breaks
October 20: Virtual Media, Journalism, & Public Affairs Networking Career Fair. Registration Opens September 28
October 29: Virtual Consortium Career Fair. Registration opens September 28
November 13: Virtual Government & Non-Profit Career Fair. Registration opens October 12

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