Information for New J.D. Students

Financial Aid General Information 2014-2015

It is the goal of the GW Law Financial Aid Office to provide you with information to make good choices in financing your law school education. Unlike many law schools offering only merit scholarships, GW Law has a merit scholarship program as well as need-based grants for U.S. non-transfer students who demonstrate significant financial need. GW Law participates in the Federal Direct loan programs; the Law Financial Aid Office will assist you in obtaining these or private student loans. We make our best effort to help you meet your financial goals in attending GW Law while minimizing your debt load.

The total amount of your financial aid package (GW or external merit scholarships, need-based grants, loans) cannot exceed the total Cost of Attendance (COA) as set by the GW Law Financial Aid Office. This total COA changes each year and includes the tuition cost, and average student living expenses. Please note that tuition rates and total COA figures are subject to change at any time. 

Current 2014-2015 Academic Year Cost of Attendance, First-Year J.D. program

Nine-Month Academic Year Costs

Full-Time J.D.

Part-Time J.D.

Books and Supplies



Personal Expenses



Room and Board



Transportation Allowance



Tuition and fees






*Students may increase their COA for the following allowances:

  • Loan fees in order to net the COA in federal student loans
  • Computer Purchase
  • Medical Expenses not covered by insurance. Note that starting in the 2014-2015 academic year, medical insurance will be removed from COA, per federal regulations.  
  • Dependent Care

Full-time J.D. students (taking 12 credits or more per semester) pay a flat tuition rate. Part-time J.D. students currently pay tuition at a rate of $1,830. For planning purposes, you should expect an annual increase in tuition of about 3-5%.

Required Course Load

J.D. students must be enrolled for at least 6 credit hours (part-time) in each semester for which they are requesting aid. Enrollment changes may result in financial aid changes.




Fall/Spring semesters

12 or more credits

6-11 credits

Summer semester

5 or more credits

3-4 credits

GW Law Need-Based Grants

All U.S. non-transfer J.D. admission applicants who demonstrate significant financial need will be considered for need-based grants. You must reapply for need-based grants each year. Grant award amounts may change each year based upon your financial need and availability of funds; renewal is not guaranteed. The annual amount of your need-based grant is determined based upon the information you and your parents provide on the FAFSA and the NeedAccess application.

As a threshold requirement, J.D. students are required to borrow the maximum Federal Direct Stafford Loan ($20,500) each year in order to be considered for a GW Law need-based grant. Students who do not obtain the Federal Direct Stafford Loan will have their need-based grant revoked. The only exception to this requirement is in the case of students who are ineligible to borrow Federal Direct Student Loans.

In order to match data from your Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to your admission record, it is necessary that the social security number listed on your FAFSA match the social security number on your LSAC application. Students who did not include their social security number on their LSAC application should either make a change to their application online or submit a copy of their social security card to the GW Law Financial Aid Office. 

If you are the recipient of a GW Law merit scholarship under $16,000 you may still be considered for a GW Law need-based grant. Your merit scholarship, need-based grant, and any outside resources dedicated to tuition and fees may not exceed the cost of tuition and fees. If the combined funds exceed the cost of tuition and fees, your award will be decreased first by need-based grant funds, and then by merit scholarship funds.

If you wish to be considered for a need-based grant, submit the following:

1) The 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1, 2014, with as accurate information as possible. The Law School's FAFSA code is E00196.

  • Because you are going to be a graduate student, the FAFSA instructions indicate that only your data (and your spouse's data if married) is required on the form in order for you to apply for federal aid. However, GW Law uses the FAFSA to determine eligibility for its need-based grants, so GW's instructions override those of FAFSA. If you wish to be considered for a GW Law need-based grant, both parents must complete the FAFSA.

2) The NeedAccess Application. Please look for "The George Washington Law School" on the 2014-2015 application. The cost of the application is $28 for a new user (unlimited schools) and $15 for a continuing user.

3) The GW Law Financial Aid Request Form. Admitted students may obtain this form on the admitted student portal and it should be submitted by March 15 for priority consideration.

4) As part of its annual monitoring and auditing of federal student loan programs, the U.S. Department of Education selects FAFSAs at random for a process known as verification. If your FAFSA is selected, you may be asked to provide GW Law Financial Aid with a copy of your (and spouse's data, if married) federal tax transcript and/or W2s for tax year 2013, as well as a federal verification form. The GW Law Financial Aid Office will let you know by e-mail if your tax documents are required. If you are selected for verification of your FAFSA data, you may use the IRA data retrieval tool to meet the requirement.

Federal Direct Student Loans

To have your eligibility determined for Federal Direct Loans, you must submit:

1) The 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with your (and your spouse's, if married) information. If you are seeking only Federal Direct Student Loans and do not wish to be considered for a need-based grant, your parents do not need to provide any information.

2) The GW Law Financial Aid Request Form on the admitted student portal. It should be submitted by March 15 for priority consideration.

Types of Federal Direct Student Loans:

Federal Direct Stafford Loan
All students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may borrow up to $20,500 each year in the Federal Direct Stafford Loan, regardless of credit-worthiness. The interest rate on Federal Direct Stafford Loans, based on the 10-Year Treasury Bill rate, adjusted annually on July 1. The rate for the 2014-2015 academic year is 6.21%, and borrowers will be charged an up-front origination fee of 1.072% of the principal amount of the loan (after October 1, 2014, the origination fee will be 1.073%), deducted proportionately from each semester disbursement. Unless an extended payment plan is chosen, the Federal Direct Stafford Loan must be repaid within 10 years of graduation or dropping to less than half-time enrollment. The aggregate maximum you can borrow through Federal Direct Stafford Loans is $138,500.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
All students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who do not have “adverse credit” may borrow the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan in an amount up to the total COA less all other financial aid. The interest rate on Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans is variable, based on the 10-Year Treasury Bill rate, adjusted annually on July 1. The current rate is at 6.41%. The rate for the 2014-2015 academic year is 7.21%. Borrowers will be charged an up-front origination fee of 4.288% of the principal amount of the loan (after October 1, 2014, the origination fee will be 4.292%), deducted proportionately from each semester disbursement. Unless an extended payment plan is chosen, the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan must be repaid within 10 years of graduation or dropping to less than half-time enrollment. There is no aggregate maximum amount for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS. All PLUS loans require a credit decision. You must complete the PLUS Request process at You and/or your endorser’s credit report will be pulled by the Department of Education, or its contractors, and a hard hit on your/your endorser’s credit report will result. Credit decisions are good for 90 days.

Private Loans

Although the Law School does not package financial aid with private loans, students might prefer to borrow private loans through any lender of their choice. The Law Financial Aid staff works with you and your lender to facilitate certification and disbursement of any private loans you wish to borrow. Private loans may not be consolidated with federal loans, and have stringent credit requirements. Private loans may not exceed the Cost of Attendance. It is the student's responsibility to choose a private loan product; the Law School does not recommend any particular lender.

Loans for International Students
Students who neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents are not eligible for Federal Direct Stafford, Graduate PLUS Loans or GW Law need-based grants. International students may borrow private loans, which generally require creditworthy U.S. citizen co-signers. International students should consult with the GW Law Financial Aid Office for assistance.

Financial Aid Award Packages

Your application for financial aid will be complete upon submission of:

1) A completed FAFSA and, for those selected for verification, all additional required documentation

2) The NeedAccess application if you are interested in consideration for  GW Law need-based grant

3) The GW Law Financial Aid Application

It is our goal to provide you with a financial aid award notice (reviewable on the GWeb self-service system) in a timely manner. Please note that we will base your initial financial aid award on the information that we have at the time we make the award. If any supplemental information received causes changes (e.g., amended FAFSA/NeedAccess-data, federal tax transcripts, or other documents required in the verification process, etc.), we retain the right to modify your financial aid award.

Notification of Awards

We will notify you via e-mail when your award is ready for your review on GWeb. Once you view awards on GWeb, you will be able to accept, decline, or accept a reduced award.

From GWeb, you will be able to link directly to the government website for loan applications. You must sign a separate Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each of the loans you wish to borrow, one for Federal Direct Stafford and/or another for Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans. You will also be able to complete the required federal direct loan entrance counseling on the same website. Entrance counseling is school-specific, so you will need to complete it for GW, even if you have done counseling online in the past. You may review whether or not you have active MPNs on the Student Loans website under the headings "My Loan Documents" and Completed MPNs where date/time stamps of each will appear if already completed.

If you wish to obtain a Graduate PLUS loan you must complete the PLUS Request process at  This is your request to the Department of Education to complete a credit check.  You may designate that the request reflect the maximum loan eligibility (Cost of Attendance, plus any allowable increases to the Cost of Attendance- See 2014-2015 Standard Cost of Attendance) or a set amount that you choose by selecting a button on the form.  Note: every time your credit is pulled it results in a hard hit to your credit report.  Credit decisions are valid for 90 days.

When and How do Funds Arrive?

Federal Direct loans are usually applied for the full academic year and divided in two equal portions at the start of each semester.

You must, out of your own funds, pay for moving expenses, housing and utility deposits, and other expenses not covered with educational loans. In addition, you should arrive in Washington, DC with at least enough funding to cover living expenses through the middle of September.

Our office can process, for immediate living expenses, small short-term emergency loans for students whose loan proceeds have not arrived on campus by Labor Day and whose loan applications were submitted to us by the beginning of August and were approved for credit. However, we cannot process emergency loans until Tuesday September 2, 2014 (the day after Labor Day). In addition to funds for housing and utility deposits, we advise you to bring at least one nice suit for interviews (funds for interview attire are not specifically included in the financial aid budget).

Notification of Funds

You will be notified by e-mail of the arrival of loan funds for each semester. If you do not receive notification when you expect it, check your account on GWeb, or contact your Financial Aid counselor to check your status.

Student Account e-Refund of Excess Funds

Financial aid award funds are disbursed to your GW student account at the beginning of each semester. If the awards you have accepted exceed the amount due for the semester per the GW Student Account e-Bill system, you will receive a refund to assist with your external educational expenses, such as books, housing, meals, etc. To set up your direct deposit e-refund, register online through Student Account eBill.

Return and Refund Policies of Title IV Funds and Institutional Aid (including merit scholarships and GW Law need-based grants)

By federal regulation, the GW Law School Financial Aid Office is required to calculate a Return of Title IV Funds amount for all financial aid recipients who withdraw, are dismissed, or who take a Leave of Absence during a semester. The policy applies to financial aid recipients who discontinue enrollment in all classes, on or after the first day of the semester. The earned portion of federal loan aid is calculated on a daily basis counting calendar days starting with the first day of semester classes. Any aid received in excess of the earned amount is considered unearned. Title IV funds are returned to the federal programs in the amount of unearned federal loan aid you received at the beginning of the semester.

Depending on the timing of your change in enrollment status, the GW Law School Financial Aid Office will also pro-rate or revoke institutional aid. Contact your financial aid counselor for more details.

Note to Joint Degree Candidates

You must be taking law school courses in order to be eligible for GW Law institutional need-based financial aid. The GW Law Financial Aid Office will continue to process your loans, even when you are enrolled exclusively at another division of the University, based on that division's graduate school tuition rate. However, for any semester in which you register for a course load that includes at least one law class within a mix of classes in another GW division, you will be charged the higher Law School tuition rate. Joint degree students are responsible for payment of all additional fees that may be charged by other schools at GW.

Summer Courses

Costs associated with taking a half-time or more course load in summer may be met with private loans or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans. The Request for Summer Financial Aid form will be made available for you to apply in April 2015. Please work with your financial aid counselor to apply for summer funds.

Feel free to contact the staff at any time with questions about budgeting, borrowing and making plans for the repayment of student loans.

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