Guide to Financial Aid, Funding Options, and GW's Alumni Network

Webinar Name: Guide to Financial Aid, Funding Options, and GW’s Alumni Network
Date: June 2, 2016
Panelists: Adam Schwenz, Assistant Director from the Office of Student Financial Assistance and Tony Harvin, Executive Director from Alumni Relations and Strategic Partnerships

During this webinar, our presenters deliver important information on the following topics:
- Financial Aid / Funding Options
- GW Alumni Network
- Audience Q&A

Tony Harvin Bio: Tony Harvin is the Executive Director, Alumni Relations and Strategic Partnerships at GW’s College of Professional Studies (CPS). He leads the effort to develop mutually supportive relationships between CPS and its alumni and foster professionally empowering connections among CPS alumni and their alumni communities.

Prior to his current role, Tony was the Assistant Dean for Marketing and Communications for CPS and GW Off-campus Programs where he lead a 12-member team and directed all digital and traditional marketing, communication and branding strategies for 30+ academic programs offered by five of GW’s 10 colleges and schools in Washington DC, Virginia and online.

Prior to joining GW, Tony spent more than 13 years in the media and entertainment industry as an international marketing, branding and business development executive with roles as Discovery Channel’s Director of International Program Sales, Motown Records’ Vice President of International, and senior international marketing positions with Arista, Capitol and Blue Note Records in New York and Los Angeles.

His professional career started as a software designer supporting research for the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Antonio earned a M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a B.S. in Computer Science, along with two years of study in Music Education, from The Catholic University of America.

Transcript

Kira: Hi everyone and welcome to the George Washington University’s Informational Webinar, as you are considering your next steps in obtaining your master’s degree in paralegal studies, or a graduate certificate in paralegal studies with GW. We hope today’s webinar topics will be helpful and relevant.
Joining us from GW today, our panelists will present insights on financial aid and funding options as well as the GW’s alumni network and what it means for you.
Before we begin let’s go over some housekeeping items. Please note our audience is currently in listen-only mode, to ensure a smoother line of communication. As this presentation is being recorded, please use the Q&A window to send over any questions you may have throughout the webinar, for our Q&A segment. If we’re not able to get through to all of your questions within the hour, we will be sure to get in touch with you after our event.
Also our enrollment advisor, will be happy to follow up with you at a later time on any program-related questions.
Now let’s introduce you to our presenters. We have with us Adam, the assistant director at GW’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. And Tony Harvin, the executive director of Alumni Relations, and Strategic Partnerships at GW’s College of Professional Studies. Also available with us today is Shiromi Praba, enrollment team lead of GW’s Master’s and Paralegal Studies Online Program. She will be joining Adam and Tony during the Q&A segment.
And our first speaker is going to be Adam. Welcome Adam.
Adam: Hi [Kira], how are you?
Kira: Good, thanks.
Adam: Oh, hello everybody. I’m just going to go over, I have a number of slides that I won’t read every little bit of every slide. There’s a lot of information on there. Hopefully it will be useful to you in the recording option to kind of read over and look at. But if you see something that you have a question on, please let Kira know.
I’ll go through it fairly quickly, but what I – our office mainly does at GW is administer all your financial aid, including your student loans. We mainly process student loans for you and collect the data of any scholarships or grants or assistantships or anything like that you might receive from an outside source in order that you are awarded only up to your cost of attendance and don’t exceed that amount.
So I’ll go into some of the details regarding student loans, the eligibility requirements for a student loan, how to apply at GW, what type of deadlines we have, what your cost of attendance is and what it consists of, disbursement, how that takes place at GW, other sources of funding that are available, not through my office, but in general, and loan adjustments and how they might occur to your loan.
On this slide we have available loan types, which is basically three types: I have the federal direct unsubsidized loan, the federal direct graduate plus loan, and the next slide is the federal – or, excuse me, the private alternative loan.
The difference between these three and they’re usually, and they actually regulatorily have to be awarded in this order: an unsubsidized loan first, plus loan second, and then if a student doesn’t qualify for these federal direct loans they can apply for a private alternative loan through a private lender.
The main difference here is going to be that the unsubsidized loan has an annual limit, annual meaning academic year, so the academic year at GW begins in the fall semester and ends in the summer semester. So for that period you’d be eligible to borrow a federal direct unsubsidized loan up to $20,500, and for a graduate plus loan there is no artificial limit of dollar amount, but it is up to your cost of attendance, minus other aid received.
And the other difference that you’ll see here on the slide is that the interest rate is higher for the federal plus loan, and the origination fee is higher, and the loan is credit-based.
What this boils down to is that the direct unsubsidized loan is the loan you should be borrowing first, it’s the cheaper loan. And then for supplemental needs you would move from that loan to a plus loan in order to borrow additional funds that you many need.
This next slide describes the private alternative loan. Just like the plus loan it takes you up to the cost of attendance minus other assistance. The interest rates and origination fees vary by the lender that’s chosen, and it is a credit-based loan. So that can affect the interest rate that you’re rewarded and you can use things like a co-signer and so on.
You would probably only want to use one of these private alternative loans if you don’t qualify for the eligibility requirement for a federal loan. Or for instance in some cases I suppose it could be possible that you can find a private loan that may or may not beat the interest or fees associated with a federal direct loan.
Moving on to eligibility requirements for federal direct loans, you must be enrolled in a degree-granting or approved certificate program at least half time for the semester in which you’re applying for the loan. For the fall and spring, that is four and a half credits per semester, and three credits in the summer.
Meet all federal requirements, and this is what the FAFSA is used for when you apply, the free application for federal student aid. You do put income information on there, but because there’s no need based in awards awarded at GW for graduate students, we’re not really paying much attention to any of the income information, but what we are paying attention to is the federal checks that the department of education runs on the data when you submit that form. So these following things will be checked and if different slides come up we’ll just have to sort through those and clear those and then we’ll be able to go ahead and award federal aid.
You also have to maintain satisfactory academic progress for federal aid and certain private alternative loans. These three criteria consist of maintaining a 3.0 GPA in the semester, and in cumulative completing 67 percent of attempted course work within the semester of enrollment, incomplete grades do count against completion rate, even if a grade is subsequently earned. Finish the program in maximum allowable time frame, which is listed below for master’s and certificate candidates.
Eligibility requirements for private alternative loan vary from provider to provider, so different lenders will require maybe that you be enrolled half time, other lenders may not. You have to meet the lender’s bank credit criteria and most would require the borrower to be a US citizen or permanent resident, and if in case that is not the case, you would need probably a US citizen to co-sign the loan.
The application process is listed on this slide. Step one for any federal direct loan is to complete the FAFSA, The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You’d go to studentloans.gov, and sign the master promissory note for the unsubsidized loan, and complete an entrance counselling section at the studentloans.gov website.
The master promissory note’s a one-time promissory note. You’re basically promising to repay the loans made under this note for your time at the school. So you wouldn’t have to do that in the following year, and the same with the entrance counselling. It’s just informing you that this is a loan and kind of quizzing you on different information, and that’s a one-time form as well.
And then you submit a form to GW called the Graduate Loan Questionnaire. This document tells us what program you’re in. What loan period you are requesting to borrow funds for to fund, how many credits you plan to take and how much you’d like to borrow. And it’s this application, this loan questionnaire that we primarily use to complete your application and begin loan processing for you. But once all these things are completed we can begin processing.
If we need additional documentation, for instance to clear something like a flag for FAFSA eligibility requirements, you’ll be notified to submit that.
The application process for the direct graduate plus loan is almost the same. You’re going to do the FAFSA, you’re going to do a master promissory note for the plus loan. You will also be directed to complete the plus credit application process, and this will let you know immediately whether you’ve been approved or denied via credit, and if you need to work with the department of education to resolve an issue or add an endorser to your request. You sign the promissory note, you complete the entrance counselling, and you submit the loan questionnaire. The loan questionnaire can be done once for multiple loans, so in the case of a student maybe applying for all three types of loans, you could do all these steps and submit one loan questionnaire.
And once again, if additional information is required, you’ll receive that request from us.
The private alternative loan differs in that FAFSA is not required, if it’s the only thing you’re applying for. You complete the application and promissory note with the lender, mostly likely online. And you will submit the graduate loan questionnaire and just indicate how much you’re borrowing in the private alternative loan and we’ll receive a certification request from the lender directly and process that and forward it back to the lender for you.
We have priority deadlines, you’ll notice here fall semester, May 1st has already past. What a priority deadline is, is when we have all those documents submitted and complete before our priority deadline we guarantee that your loan will be disbursed to your account by the first day of the semester. That is not to say that if you become complete today for the Fall semester that you won’t have funds for the first day, but it’s a possibility that they may not be there if, you know, for instance we get your application completed at the end of July, that may not be – that may not happen.
But there is no hard and fast deadline, other than the end of the semester that you are applying for. So if you’re applying for a fall semester only loan, it’s your last semester and you are not attending school after that semester, we must originate your loan by the last day of that loan period, something like a December 20th date or something. If we receive your application after that we are physically unable to originate a loan through the department of education for that period, so that would be kind of the end-all deadline for a federal loan for a student, it would be the end of the last semester that you plan to attend GW for.
Your cost of attendance, I’ll go through this a little bit faster. It’s the budget constructed to approximate the expense which a student will incur that are directly related to enrollment. So these are the costs that you’re going to assume, including tuition, books and supplies, tuition and fees, distance education on campus expense, and loan origination fees when applicable.
So this is ticketed items that you’ll receive a bill for and it’s non-ticketed items, so books and supplies is included for $100 for credit hour of enrollment. That’s not something that you’re going to pay us on a bill, but it is something that is included for you to receive financial aid for because you will have to buy your own books.
Distance education on campus expense of $2500 per semester is there in case the student is required to spend any time on campus from a remote location and they have to fund that somehow, this amount is in every semester for a student automatically as cost of attendance and you can receive financial aid for it, even if that requirement’s not needed. So it’s a kind of like a padding there for the student to have a little bit of an extra refund money in case they do have some of those requirements.
This is just an example in how it affects your loan eligibility for a nine-month and 12-month budget. The books and supplies there, the math is correct, the tuition is for your program, the fees, the distance education expenses, so two months would be 2500 times to – or two semesters for the nine-month period fall and spring, brings you to 5,000 three semesters for the 12-month loan period brings you to 7500. What your total cost of attendance is on the next line, and then for the nine-month budget, if you borrowed the maximum for an unsubsidized loan you would receive the 18360 in total loan eligibility.
For the 12-month, if you borrowed up to the maximum in the unsubsidized loan you’d receive 20,500, and then you could borrow supplementally in the plus loan or the private alternative loan to bring you to your total loan eligibility.
Disbursements of a loan happen automatically. They apply directly to your student account. Private loans also, most 99 percent will deposit via electronic funds transfer. They’re only applied to your account after all disbursement requirements are met. So that would mean master promissory notes, entrance counselling, and that also that you’re registered for the minimum number of credits you indicated on that loan questionnaire when you applied.
So we’re using that loan questionnaire to construct what your cost of attendance would be, and the loan is tied to that enrollment level. So if you’re not registered for the six credits that you said you would be, and you’re only at, say, five, the loan will not roll onto your account, and what you would do in that case is you would submit a graduate change form so that we can reassess your loan eligibility. In that case we would just reduce your cost of attendance, reduce your loan if necessary and then allow the funds to pay.
Loan disbursement happens in equal disbursements across all semesters. So for that means a $20,500 loan applied to a fall and spring semester would disburse half and half so 10,250 would pay for fall, 10,250 would pay for spring. This is also described on a loan questionnaire which is about a six or seven page document. The first three or four or five pages are instructions on how to complete it, and a lot of what I’m saying here is also available on that document and also on our website.
Loan funds are first used to pay your semester bill at GW, so any amount owed when that loan applies, will clear that balance, and then any excess can be refunded to you to help you cover those non-billing educational expenses. The way that that refund is handled is you can link a bank account to your student account at GW would be a TouchNet system and then any refund that’s available within two days is then auto-deposited into your bank account.
There are other sources of funding included but not limited to tuition awards, grants, scholarships, employee benefit and tuition reimbursement. These types of awards are not awarded by my office, but we are notified of these awards when you do receive them from the GW sources that you would receive them and they would get added to your financial aid award, and take up some of that cost of attendance space. So it may reduce your loan eligibility should you get these, but you definitely want to receive some of these sources before you increase a loan or anything like that. So that’s a good thing.
If you do receive sources from an external source from GW you will indicate that on your loan questionnaire and we would use that in the original processing of your loan.
So these are – this just describes other sources of funding and loan adjustments. I – right here the first bullet is what I just described, how we would make an adjustment if you receive an outside source, and also if you drop credits after your loan proceeds have disbursed here, how you would receive – you would complete a change form to let us know.
We do run repots and things like that to make sure that we’re making adjustments on the fly, but we would also like to receive the information from you as soon as you know you are adjusting your enrollment level.
And this is our contact information. Our mailing address, phone, fax, email. You would most likely use the email document submission website to send in your information. Our website has all the information that I talked about. And you would use our phone or email address with any general questions that you have, and you would receive a very good answer and if you’re not able to receive the answer, or you have a question that needs additional information you would be escalated to someone like myself or my team to be able to go in-depth and contact you back and figure out what your question would be and what the right answer for that is.
I think that’s about all I had today. I look forward to some of your questions in the Q&A section.
Kira: Perfect, thank you Adam for the wonderful insights on financial aid and funding options.
Adam: You’re welcome.
Kira: So for our next section – thank you – we have Tony Harvin, who’s going to be giving us insights on GW’s extensive alumni network and so, go over you know, after you graduate, what the benefits are going to be, and you’re able to leverage from that network. So it’s really wonderful insights as well.

And throughout the webinar, if you have any question for Tony or Adam, please feel free to send them over to me via the Q&A window, and to activate that window you can find the menu at the bottom of your screen. Just make sure it’s lit, and you can being sending over those questions, and we’ll have them answered during our Q&A segment.
I’d like to introduce you to Tony Harvin. He is the executive director, alumni relations and certificate partnerships at GW’s College of Professional Studies, or CPS. He leads the effort to develop mutually supportive relationships between CPS and its alumni, and foster professionally empowering connections among CPS alumni and their alumni communities.
Prior to his current role, Tony was the assistant dean for marketing and communications for CPS and GW off campus programs where he led a 12-member team and directed all digital and traditional marketing, communication and branding strategies for 30-plus academic programs offered by five of GW’s 10 colleges and schools in Washington, DC, Virginia, and online. Prior to joining GW Tony spent more than 13 years in the media and entertainment industry as an international marketing branding and business development executive. And he earned his MBA from UCLA Henderson School of Management and a BS in computer science, along with two years of studies in music education from the Catholic University of America.
Welcome Tony.
Tony: Thank you Kira. Well it sounds like I’ve been all over the map. So it’s been an interesting career path for me. So thank you Kira, and welcome everyone and thank you for your interest in the GW Paralegal Studies program.
First off, let me show you – I thought we had our mission here, but I – basically our – my role is … is try to empower our alumni and act as a voice to the college. Actually try to get resources from the university and the college to support our efforts in – there we go – in supporting our efforts for the alumni.
Also – I also try to support our alumni and build stronger networks among our alumni. So it’s pretty simple and it’s pretty straightforward, but in all honesty, there’s a lot of power behind an engaged alumni network. And so in the next few slides I’ll discuss some of the things we do to strengthen our network and give you kind of a snapshot profile of the Paralegal Studies Alumni Network.
So here we go. So how many paralegal studies alumni are there? Currently there are 546 alumni. Last month on May 13th, 62 students graduated from the program, so they’ll go through the process of being officially vetted by the registrar’s office, so they would be classified as alumni in September. So by September the total number of alumni would grow to 608.
And here is a geographic snapshot of where our alumni are located. So assuming by September when we have a total of 608 alumni they will be located across 44 states and the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands, four foreign countries including Italy, China, Japan, and believe it or not, Guam. I guess that’s the power of the internet. We have an alum in Guam. And overseas military bases.
And here is now is a list of the 44 US states where our alumni are located. I suspect it might expand a bit with the 62 additional alumni joining us in September. So it’s pretty broad. Definitely a national profile that we have in our program. But really, really international with our international markets.
Okay, and one thing that we’re experiencing that a growing number of our incoming students are distance students. So we want to make sure that when we tailor programming towards our alumni that we make sure that distance alumni are incorporated, and that your needs are met.
So the next slide here – so the voice of our alumni is through the Paralegal Alumni Association. The Paralegal Alumni Association was launched in 2012, and its mission in a simple way is to support alumni of the Paralegal Studies program, specifically through networking with employers, providing continuing education opportunities, and strengthening the connections among alumni.
And here are our current – we call it the PAA, Paralegal Alumni Association. Our PAA board members. There’s Angela Masciulli. She graduated in 2014, and lives in Washington, DC. Amy Cushman, she just recently graduated. She’s vice chair, she also lives in Washington, DC. Lynette Bealer graduated in 2014, a marketing and events chair. She resides in San Diego, California. And Trina Brown graduated in 2014. She’s our ethics and education chair and resides in Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas.
Now I specifically where they reside to illustrate that two of the board members live outside of the Washington, DC metro area. And three of them actually took the online program. So this opportunity’s available to anyone, any graduate of the program. We’re becoming less and less DC focussed. With your feedback and input and our alumni feedback and input we can make sure that we can more accurately, let’s say, provide the services to our distance students and distance alumni need. So there’s opportunity for you to get involved no matter where you reside.
And now I’d like to just talk about some of examples of the programming that the Paralegal Alumni Association either hosts or cohosts. These images were taken from different events that took place over the last couple of years. And some of the examples of events is that there’s an annual commencement celebration receptions, which is held in May, which is the day before our graduation ceremony at the College of Professional Studies.
A number of our distance students – some of them have never been do DC, so this is an opportunity for them to come to DC, meet face-to-face their fellow students, their fellow classmates, and actually meet current alumni of the program. So that happens every May.
The Paralegal Alumni Association gets involved with co-promoting career panels, along with the Paralegal Student Association.
A year or two ago we had a paralegal speed networking event, and most recently we’ve been – we’ve had an event every March, which is more of a career – a continuing education opportunity. And we branded it and we call it GW Paralegal Tech Talk. Last year’s event in 2015 was a broad stroke view of legal technology and what’s being expected of paralegals. The changing dynamic in the paralegal world.
But this year’s event, which was also held in March, March 2016, the focus was e-discovery. And we found that we had – with the content that we had a full day’s worth of programming. Presentations from the e-discovery event were video recorded and shared with our distance students and alumni. So I made sure I reached out to our distance alumni just to find out, like, what of these presentations would be of interest to them. So we made sure that we video recorded them and made it available to them.
The Alumni Association also has a periodic newsletter, and is engaged with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and I highly recommend getting involved with LinkedIn because it’s beyond just your current students and alumni. There’s also other paralegals in the field. So there’s more than 1300 people participating in our LinkedIn group, and I tell you that’s a great, great resource of finding people who maybe have graduated from your undergraduate university or maybe finding people who might even work in either partner firm that you might be working with.
So there are many channels of connection that the Paralegal Association is involved with.
And I just want to talk just a little bit further about the Paralegal Tech Talk. As I mentioned it’s a series that started last year in 2015. It is focussed on legal technology with this year’s session solely centered on e-discovery. The idea and the majority of the content came from alumni of the program.
And two of them actually are advanced certified paralegals, which their only score, depending on the area of expertise, there’s less than a hundred of advanced certified paralegals in the country depending on your area of expertise. So two of them were alumni of our program actually were presenters at our Paralegal Tech Talk in March.
As I mentioned before, I surveyed our alumni and based on their feedback we video recorded two of the presentations and posted them on YouTube. So if you go to YouTube and you search GW Paralegal Tech Talk you’ll find videos from this March’s presentation or session, and then one video from last year’s as well.
So as the number of distance students and alumni grow, we will continue to develop programming that is relevant and tailored to meet the needs of our face-to-face and our distance students and our alumni. So that brings us to the end of my presentation, but before I close I would like to leave you with this thought.
Earning a degree is a great accomplishment on so many different levels. But I encourage you to get the most out of your hard-earned degree by enrolling in a program that gives you access to an alumni network that is growing, that is truly international in scope and is becoming more connected and engaged every day.
So I thank you, thank you for your time, and with that I would like to turn it back over to Kira.
Kira: Thank you so much, Tony. And our audience, I hope the presentation presented by Tony and Adam have been very beneficial to you, as you are researching and considering your master’s in paralegal studies with GW.
So again, on hand we have Shiromi, the team lead enrollment advisor who’s also here to take questions regarding, you know, either the program itself, application requirements, or if you have a question regarding funding, or the alumni network, we have our panellists here ready to answer your question.
So we do have the first question, and this is for Adam.
Adam, how is tuition paid without taking a loan? Do we sign a promissory note? Do we pay monthly payments? Is it by semester? Etcetera. Can you give us the options?
Adam: Yeah, absolutely. It would happen through our student accounts office. So there’s an accounting office and a financial aid office, and we’re not the same. So the student accounts office can be reached at 202-994-7350, or via email at sao@gwu.edu, and they would be able to do various things, such as accept a credit card payment, cash payment, transfer and also set up a payment plan with a student. So you just contact them and enquire with them what arrangement works best for you.
Kira: Perfect, thank you so much Adam. And then the next question’s for Tony, so we have a growing alumni network, and you know, like you mentioned it is…based. Can you provide us some examples of what our graduates can benefit from this network, and you know, just some success stories of how people are able to leverage from their connection with the GW alumni network?
Tony: Sure, sure. One example I can give is actually incorporated within the program. So as you’re a student, there’s a practicum that requires you to intern or work with a firm before you graduate, and what our program director has done, Toni Marsh, is we’ve set up with alumni this paralegal practicum advisor network, which is alumni situated across the country who can provide guidance and maybe give some marketplace feedback for current students who are interested, someone maybe residing in Cincinnati. They need to find a firm preferably in Ohio. So we can reach out to our alumni and see who can actually provide entry for that.
So that’s one example, tangible example of while you’re in the program how you can benefit from the alumni network.
When you graduate, through LinkedIn there’s just so many opportunities of asking questions directly to fellow alumni. I should say, case in point, I’ve actually put together our – the chair of our Paralegal Alumni Association to speak with a writer from another program, because it seems like they’re both looking at entrepreneurial ventures that are well aligned.
So I – you have a competitive advantage, I feel, that when you reach out to someone who’s already a professional in the field, and you see that you’ve graduated from the same university, from the same program, they already know what skill set that you’ve earned, you’ve developed I should say, and they’re more willing probably to speak with you, and then act as kind of an advocate for you within their firm where they’re working. So that’s just a couple of examples off the top of my head.
Kira: Perfect. Thank you Tony. And how about something like career center services are available to alumni. Would you tell us a little bit about that? Okay.
Tony: Sure. There’s within the College of Professional Studies, and actually every college and school at GW, there’s a career services department. Basically that’s available to you as a student, and as an alum for life.
What they can do, what they can provide, it’s not a job placement service, that’s not my office, but it’s actually the office right next to me, but what services they provide is they provide resume review, cover letter review, they provide job search strategy, and sometimes I’ll provide, if there’s been an alum or a current student who is looking to maybe relocate in another marketplace, I can reach out to alumni in that marketplace to give them a sense of what they concern expect to find in the paralegal profession.
So I do alumni relations, but we do have a career services office that holistically provides services based on career.
Kira: Right, yeah, it’s very common when I speak to graduates of the program that they experience, you know, networking opportunities with their classmates and actually to maintain these relationships well into their careers. And it’s just like something that’s really touched their – not only professional, but also personal lives.
Tony: That’s true.
Kira: Yeah. Exactly.
Tony: Well here’s a thing that – it’s almost like – I’m a little surprised at this, that despite the program at the College of Professional Studies, you know, people have and developed strong relationships with their fellow classmates, but in the case of the Paralegal Studies Program, I’m trying to have you think beyond your cohort. You’re stepping into an alumni network of 600 people. Not just 20 or 30 in your cohort, 600. And you can reach out to them.
So that, I think, is one of the competitive advantages we offer, this Paralegal Studies Program. It’s an award-winning program, but it probably has one of the most – I think one of the most dynamic and engaged alumni networks of any paralegal program in the country, I would say.
Kira: Absolutely. And this question is for Shiromi, for people who are interested in applying into the program, can you go over the application requirements for us, Shiromi?
Shiromi: Sure, thanks Kira. Welcome everyone. So for the application there’s an online application. We do encourage applicants to schedule a time with me to fill out the online application together. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and the application fee is non-refundable. It’s $75, which can be paid with a credit card.
We need transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. And for the application process you can submit unofficial transcript and then once you receive your acceptance then you must submit the official transcripts. Again from all colleges and universities attended.
We need two professional or academic recommendations, and they are to be done online. So when we fill out the online application there’s a section for recommendation where you’ll be required to add in their names and the email address. Once you do that, the recommenders will receive instructions on how to complete the online recommendation.
We also need your current resume. You can email that to me or you can upload your resume online, and also a statement of purpose. Again, the statement of purpose can be uploaded on line or you can email that to me.
Once I receive all these documents and new application files, I’ll go ahead and submit the file to the review committee and it takes about two to three weeks for them to make a decision on your file.
Kira: Perfect. Thank you so much Shiromi.
Tony: Kira, this is Tony. Can I mention one other thing about career services?
Kira: Absolutely.
Tony: Over time, our career services team has developed a strong relationship with law firms around the country that we also have what we call GWork. It’s a central resource that’s supported by GW. What it does, it allows employers to actually post jobs on a dedicated website called GWork that’s available only to students and alumni. So it’s up to the firm if they make it available to the general public, but at least there’s an online resource where employers who choose to come to GW they can actually post those jobs and make them available just to GW students and alumni.
Kira: Right, and something else I often hear from our students as well as alumni is how hands-on and in-touch our program director Toni Marsh is and how she really cares about the success of her students and that if they ever need anything they can always give her a call directly and she’s at the other line picking up the phone to assist them. So that’s, you know, that’s something that our students are really touched by.
But can you, like, I know Toni’s not here with our webinar for this session.
Tony: Yes.
Kira: But you work very closely with Toni.
Tony: Yes.
Kira: Can you provide some examples of how, like, say if someone is, you know, graduating from the program and is looking to advance their profession, would Tony or you know, because they do garner really good relationship with the faculty. Do they provide recommendation letters or anything like that? Can you provide some perspective about that?
Tony: Sure. I believe they do. I know that on occasion they have. But … let’s see. The program is run by Toni Marsh, Ethel Badawi is assistant program director, and a number of adjuncts are also part of the whole faculty team. So they’re very hands-on, and they make all decisions of who gets enrolled in the program. And the reason why they – I say that they’re very hands-on is because they find that their strength in those who go through the program, that they’re having access to alumni while students are in the program.
And it was part of their curriculum development of coming up with this practicum advisor network, where while you’re a student they want you to – for credit – that they somehow get you engaged with the firm before you even graduate, by providing services somehow. And that might provide entre to working with that firm afterwards. And a couple of our students have done that. They’ve leveraged that into full time jobs with firms.
Toni Marsh also, when she’s asked to speak at other universities around the country, and the last year we’ve set up this process where she’ll send me an email, Toni, I’m going to be in Minneapolis. What alumni do we have in town? And what even student? So I will reach out to them and I’ll give her their information and then she sets up a lunch or a dinner or maybe just meet for drinks. And I see that that’s going to be a process that will be more utilized as we go forward.
Kira: That’s wonderful. Thank you. And then question for Adam. So for someone who is interested in the program, but doesn’t want to take out loans, can you provide some options? Like scholarships or anything. I’m not sure if scholarships are available for the online students, but can you give some alternative options for someone who doesn’t want to take out loans?
Adam: Not so much, my office basically deals with the loan options available and administering those. Any type of outside scholarship or assistantship would either come from the program itself, if there’s anything like that available, or an outside company. So I would advise going to the FAFSA website and looking at – they have a section there for outside scholarships, different application processes that you go through when you apply directly with companies, and things like that in order to secure something like that. And then once you – if you do procure something like that, just letting us know on your loan questionnaire.
Kira: Okay. Perfect. Thanks Adam.
And then this question goes back to Tony. So you mentioned the practicum. How would this work for someone who is currently employed?
Tony: That’s a good question. That’s a good question. That I don’t have the answer for. That’s a good question, yeah. That hasn’t been asked before.
Kira: Shiromi? Yeah, I wonder if Shiromi, if you want to chime in or we can certainly connect with a program director and get back with you, but Shiromi do you want to give it a stab?
Shiromi: Yes. So if you’re already working in the legal field, or if you’re a paralegal you can use your current employment to complete the practicum.
Kira: Okay. Okay, that’s perfect. Thank you so much. So I hope that was helpful for the person who posed the question. So we – I also want to mention, you know, we have entry points year round, so it’s very convenient for you, and if you’re looking to apply for the upcoming start date we are currently accepting applications for Fall 1, which is August 29th, and your enrollment advisor’s contact is, they have provided – they’re on your screen, and the telephone number is 1-888-989-769 ext. 3251, and as we are sort of approaching our hour as well, I do have some survey that I would like to provide to our audience, and please take a few moments to respond to our survey, and yeah, we – we’ll have some final questions before we wrap up today’s events.
Thank you so much everyone.
So the first question, if you’re able to see on your screen is what your current involvement is in the field of paralegal. Are you currently a paralegal professional, or are you interested in becoming a paralegal?
So we’re seeing that so far the majority of our audience today is currently in paralegal, and that’s probably why you’re looking at your master’s, to obtain your advanced degree and excel in the field. That’s great to see.
And the next question is how long have you been considering your master’s degree in paralegal studies?
You see a few options there. Please take a moment to select, and we’ll move on to the next one.
So it looks like it’s equally distributed by our audience. And when are you planning on going back to school? Is it in the near future? You know, within the year, a year from now? Etcetera.
Perfect. And our webinar event. I hope the information has been helpful. Thank you. So looks like 100 percent of our audience acknowledges that this presentation has been very helpful, so I’m very glad. So we will continue to have more topical webinars throughout the year, and I really hope that you’re able to join our panellists as they present different relevant topics to you.
And there’s also an area for you to provide your feedback, open ended. So we will be tabulating that as well. And yeah, so, this – I – I do have one final question as well. And this is for Shiromi.
Can you share with us you know, as you’re working with applicants in the program and the majority of applicants are people who are currently working full time, you know, they’re – they have a family life, a busy family life as well, and it’s, you know, a very common situation. What kind of advice do you have for people who want to balance, you know, everything that’s going on and also managing their master’s degree studies as well and, you know, the kind of hours and commitment that they need to put in place, and how they’re able to cope.
Shiromi: Sure. So this online master’s degree, the courses area available 24/7, so you can lot in any time. You set your own schedule. The program is designed for working professionals. So to accommodate your work schedule, family life, it is designed in a way that you can log in any time. The morning, afternoon, evening at night, it is up to you. As long as you commit 15 to 20 hours per week you’ll be successful in the program.
You will be assigned a student services advisor who will work with you until you complete the program. You get 24/7 tech support. You can contact your professors and facilitators. You will have access to the online law library LexisNexis and Westlaw. So you get all kinds of support.
And I’m there to assist you as well.
Kira: Wonderful, thank you so much Shiromi. And once again, thank you Adam, the assistant director from office of financial assistance. And of course Tony, our executive director from alumni relations and certificate partnerships of the College of Professional Studies at GW. And Shiromi who you just heard from, the enrollment team lead who looks after assisting applicants into our master’s and paralegal studies online.
Thank you so much to our audience for, you know, taking the time out from your midday to join us today. And have a wonderful rest of the day. I hope you join us, you know, join our extensive alumni network that’s ever-growing each year. And we look forward to having you join our family of GW graduates and yeah, so if you have any questions, this webinar is going to be available on our website, so you’ll be able to get in touch with Shiromi if you have any question about the program, as well Adam and Tony, their contact information are provided on the slides as well, and we look forward to having you join us for our other presentations that will be coming up the rest of the year as well.
Thank you everyone and enjoy the rest of your day.

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