Emergency Funding

GW recognizes that there are times during which a student will need emergency support ...

 ...whether for personal expenses, textbooks or additional Colonial Cash for meals. The University offers a number of funds, in the form of loans and grants, to help address emergencies that arise.

Where to Apply

For personal expenses

University Student Emergency Loan Fund (USELF) is available to any student who is registered at least half time and who is not covered under another emergency loan program, such as Nursing, Allied Health, Public Health and Health Services, Law, or the Medical School. Full time employees are NOT eligible.

Maximum $600 per semester. The USELF Loan Fund is open the first day of classes of a term until the last business day of exams for that term. 

Application is made in person at Colonial Central, ground floor – Marvin Center. Funds are disbursed via direct deposit or paper check. 

Repayment:  Funds are charged to the applicant’s student account and will increase the balance owed to the University. Any balance owed to Student Accounts in excess of $1000 may result in a hold placed on the student’s records. Interest of 12% simple annual is charged on student account balances.


Nursing, Allied Health, Public Health and Health Services, Law, and Medical School emergency loan funds are handled through the Dean’s Office of each school. The amount and repayment terms of the loan are determined at the time of application. Repayment cannot exceed 90 days. 

Funds are disbursed via direct deposit. For repayment, funds are charged to the applicant’s student account and will increase the balance owed to the University. Any balance owed to Student Accounts in excess of $1000 may result in a hold placed on the student’s records. Interest of 12% simple annual is charged on outstanding balances.  

  • Nursing:  Application is made in person at Innovation Hall Room 201J.
  • Allied Health Programs:  Application is made in person at 2100 Pennsylvania Ave. Room 360.
  • Milken Institute School of Public Health: Application is made in person at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, Dean’s Office, 2nd floor.
  • Law School:  Application is made in person at the Financial Aid Office, 700 20th Street, N.W., ground floor.
  • School of Medicine and Health Sciences:  Application is made in person at the Financial Aid Office, Ross Hall, Room 106.

For students who have a hold for tuition charges over $1000 up to $2000

The University has three emergency loan funds which can be used to reduce a student’s account balance by up to $1000. This will enable a student to have a hold lifted so that he or she may register for the next semester.  They are:

Jessie B. Martin Emergency Loan Fund
Peter and Doris Firsht Student Loan Fund
Barney Plotnick, MD, Student Loan Fund

Application is made in person at Colonial Central, ground floor – Marvin Center. Once the student completes the application, the monies are applied directly to the student accounts bill. This does not reduce the debt that the student owes to the University, but redistributes it, giving the student the ability to register.

For repayment, funds are charged to the applicant’s student account once the student has registered for the desired semester or after 30 days, whichever comes first. Charging the funds back increases the balance to the original amount owed. This loan fund does give the student some extra time to come up with the funds to pay the student account balance down to zero.

For expenses other than tuition

The Ron W. Howard Student Assistance Fund is a managed through the Division of Student Affairs (DSA). It can provide grants to students who are faced with an emergency which is not related to tuition payments. The student must demonstrate a commitment to being a good GW citizen, either through membership in clubs/organizations, participation in campus life or in taking a leadership role on campus. Financial aid recipients must have unmet financial need. Application is made through the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Funding is limited.

For Colonial Cash

The Abrahms Family Fund is a grant designed to provide Colonial Cash on an emergency basis to full-time undergraduate students who have expended their allotment of food money for the semester. A student may request funding to increase or add Colonial Cash. This fund may only be used once in a student’s career at GW. Award amounts are based on the student’s remaining calculated unmet need (if the student has financial aid) and the number of weeks remaining in the semester. The award cannot exceed $1000.00. Funding is limited. Application is made through the Office of Student Financial Assistance.