Federal Direct Student Loans
Through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program, students may apply for a maximum of $20,500 annually (the aggregate lifetime maximum allowed in combined undergraduate and graduate Stafford loans is $138,500). Under current federal regulations, graduate students are only eligible for unsubsidized Stafford loans. The interest rate on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan for graduate students is currently fixed at 4.30% for the 2021-2022 academic year. Under current federal regulations from the US Department of Education, all Federal Direct Stafford loans are assessed a 1.057% origination fee, which is subtracted from each loan prior to disbursement. This fee will be adjusted on October 1, 2021 by the US Department of Education in accordance with federal budget sequestration formulas. Repayment of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan begins six months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled or drops below half-time attendance. Payment of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan may be deferred during the in-school deferment period and for six months after graduation or cessation of half-time enrollment. Repayment of the Stafford Loan is completed over a 10-year period, unless the borrower chooses to extend payments through a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan or other payment plan options with the Federal Loan Servicer after graduation.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan that can cover up to the annual costs of attendance, less other financial aid received. The interest rate is fixed at 5.30% for the 2021-2022 year. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan has no aggregate (lifetime) limit. Under current federal regulations from the US Department of Education, all Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are assessed a 4.228% origination fee, which is subtracted from each loan prior to disbursement. This fee will be adjusted on October 1, 2021 by the US Department of Education in accordance with federal budget sequestration formulas. Credit approval for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is subject to a formula unique to the US Department of Education and is not based precisely on a consumer-based credit score. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan has the same repayment, forbearance, and cancellation provisions as the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. Repayment on the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is made over a 10-year period, unless the borrower chooses to extend payments through a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan or other payment plan options with the Federal Loan Servicer after graduation. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan may be consolidated with other federal education loans offered through the US Department of Education.
All federal guaranteed student loans are subject to the laws and regulations of the US Department of Education, including but not limited to regulations regarding attendance, satisfactory academic progress, and disbursement of funds. Students interested in the laws and regulations surrounding Federal Student Aid should review the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) and Section 668 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 668).
Private Education Loans
Students also may apply for private education student loans. These loans, which may be referred to as private, alternative, supplemental, commercial, or credit-based student loans, are not guaranteed by the US Department of Education, nor are they eligible for any type of consolidation or federal repayment program. Private education loan application requirements and repayment plans vary among lenders, but applicant credit scores and credit histories are usually involved. Therefore, the Law School Financial Aid Office recommends that applicants interested in applying for private, commercial student loans check their credit report well in advance of applying for these loans. Students should thoroughly investigate the terms offered by the various private lenders and select the loan that best meets their needs.
Applying for Loans
A. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford, Federal Direct GradPlus
Two documents are required for the law school to determine your eligibility for federal student loans.
- 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”). GW Law’s FAFSA Title IV school code is E00196.*
Complete it now online at www.fafsa.gov. FAFSA’s processing results, the “Student Aid Report”, or SAR, are sent to you and to up to a maximum of ten schools you choose. When you receive your SAR, review it carefully for alerts or any problems concerning your data, citizenship, selective service registration, prior borrowing limits exceeded, missing signatures, etc. You must resolve any errors/issues before any school can determine your federal loan eligibility.
Note that the University loads new FAFSA records once weekly, usually on Friday mornings. We are not able to pull down FAFSA data for a student individually from the US Department of Education.
*If you have already completed and submitted your FAFSA without including GW Law School’s code, add it to your school code list on the FAFSA website. This will generate a file to be sent to GW Law. However, if you used up your ten schools and did not include GW Law, wait until you can verify that one of your first ten schools received your FAFSA, and then replace that school’s code with ours.
2. GW Law Student Financial Aid Request Form 2021-2022. Fill it out and return it, by fax, email, or regular mail, to the Law Financial Aid Office.
In order for Federal Student Loans to disburse (i.e., pay out), other documents are required after accepting loans in your GW Law aid package and paying your admissions deposits. Go to www.studentloans.gov, and log in with your FSA-ID. Click on the tab for "Graduate/Professional Students." In this menu, you will complete Loan Entrance Counseling, and Loan Agreements (MPNs) for each loan - Unsubsidized and GradPLUS - that you wish to take out. The MPNs are valid for ten years, regardless of the school you attend. Entrance counseling is a school-specific requirement.
Note that even at this stage, you are not bound to borrow loans, even if you accepted them as part of your aid package. You have a 14-day right to cancellation after the funds disburse. For more details, please contact the GW Law Financial Aid Office.
B. Applying for Private Student Loans
For most lenders, you will submit these forms directly to the Law School Financial Aid Office:
- A copy of your private student loan application and promissory note
- The GW Law Private Student Loan Checklist
- The GW Law Financial Aid Request Form
Additionally, you will need to provide the lender with the Private Loan Self-Certification Form.
The George Washington University Law School
700 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052