Returning J.D. Students

Financial Aid General Information 2014-2015

The Office of Admissions offers merit based scholarships and the Law Financial Aid Office (LFAO) offers GW Law need-based grants. Both of these programs are considered gift aid and do not need to be repaid by the student. The LFAO also participates in the Federal Direct Loan program and assists students in obtaining private educational loans, which do need to be repaid to a lender. It is the goal of the GW Law Financial Aid Office to provide you the information necessary to make good choices in financing your law school education It is important that you pay careful attention to all intranet postings and e-mail messages that you receive from GW Law, and be sure to let your financial aid counselor know of any changes in your email address.

If you apply for financial aid, you will be provided with an award package which will include any scholarships, grants, and federal student loans for which you may be eligible. You may also choose to borrow private student loans. Although most law students are likely to borrow a significant amount of student loans, it is our goal to help students minimize debt to the greatest extent possible.

The total amount of your financial aid package (scholarships, grants, and loans) cannot exceed the total cost of attendance (COA) as set by the GW Law Financial Aid Office. Additionally, merit scholarships and GW Law need-based grants combined may not exceed the cost of tuition and fees. The total cost of attendance changes each year and includes tuition costs, as well as average student living expenses. For more information, please review the Standard Cost of AttendancePlease note that tuition rates and total cost of attendance figures are subject to change at any time.

GW Law Need-Based Grants

All non-transfer JD candidates, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who demonstrate significant financial need may be considered for need-based grants. Grant award amounts may change each year based upon your financial need and availability of funds; renewal is not guaranteed. You must reapply for need-based grants each year. The annual amount of your need-based grant is determined based upon the information you (and your parents, if applicable) provide on the FAFSA.

As a threshold requirement, JD students must borrow the maximum Federal Direct Stafford Loan ($20,500) each year in order to be considered for a GW Law need-based grant. The only exception to this requirement is in the case of students who are ineligible to borrow Federal Direct Student Loans.

Important Notes

If you wish to be considered for a need-based grant for the 2014-2015 academic year, and you were born on or after January 1, 1986, your parents must complete the parental information section of the FAFSA.

All students who demonstrate need on their aid applications will be considered for GW Law need-based grants, unless they have been awarded a merit scholarship of $16,000 or more, are a transfer student, or are an international student.

To be considered for a need-based grant, you must submit:

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

Please note: Because you are a graduate student, the FAFSA instructions indicate that only your data (and your spouse's data if married) is required in order for you to apply for federal aid. However, GW Law uses the FAFSA to determine eligibility for need-based grants, so GW's instructions override those of FAFSA. We do not use parental data to determine need for federal loans.

2) The GW Law Financial Aid Request Form.  Our office has made this form electronic.  It is available on GWeb, on the Financial Aid Menu. Please contact the Law Office of Financial Aid if you have any questions. 

3) Each year as part of its 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 transcripts for tax year 2013, as well as a federal verification form. If you are applying for a GW Law need-based grant and you were born on or after January 1, 1986, your parents may be asked to provide copies of their federal tax transcripts for the tax year 2013. The GW Law Financial Aid Office will let you know by e-mail if your tax transcripts or any other documents are required. Please note that you can obtain your tax transcript online at  

Federal Direct Student Loans

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

1) The 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.  Our office has made this form electronic.  It is available on GWeb, on the Financial Aid Menu. Please contact the Law Office of Financial Aid if you have any questions.

Types of Federal Direct Student Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loan

All students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may borrow a Federal Direct Stafford Loan of up to $20,500 each year. The interest rate on the Federal Direct Stafford Loan is fixed at 6.21% for 2014-2015, and will be set on July 1, 2014. The Department of Education also assesses an up-front loan origination fee of 1.072% (this will increase to 1.073% on October 1, 2014). Unless an extended payment plan is chosen, the Federal Direct Stafford Loan must be repaid within 10 years. 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 2014-2015 rate is at 7.21%. Borrowers will be charged an up-front origination fee of 4.288% (this will change to 4.292% on October 1, 2014) of the principal amount of the loan, 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. A private educational loan may be obtained for amounts up to the COA less any other aid. The Law Financial Aid staff works with you and your lender to facilitate certification and disbursement of private loans. Private loans have stringent credit requirements and may not be consolidated with federal loans. It is the student's responsibility to choose a private loan product; the Law School does not make recommendations. Our commitment to providing ethical counseling is outlined in our code of conduct.

Please note: If you choose to obtain a private loan, you must complete the GW Law Financial Aid Request Form, indicating the lender name and loan amount. You must attach a copy of your private educational loan application and a signed Private Student Loan Counseling Checklist.

Student Loans for International Students

If you are not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you are not eligible for Federal Direct Stafford or Graduate PLUS Loans. You should explore private loans, which generally require creditworthy U.S. citizen co-signers. Please consult with a financial aid counselor for assistance.

Students must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward their law degree in order to receive federal and institutional aid. Please see the Law School Financial Aid Office's SAP policy for more information.

Tracking Your Progress
We encourage you to periodically check your financial aid file's status on GWeb to ensure that all items are complete.

2014-2015 Cost of Attendance, JD Program* 

Nine-Month Academic Year Costs     

Full-Time JD (minimum 12 credit hours per semester)       

Part-Time JD (20 credit hours during academic year)

Books and Supplies



Personal Expenses



Room and Board



Transportation Allowance



Tuition and fees^






*The Cost of Attendance (COA) may be increased for the following allowances: loan origination fees, a one-time computer purchase, medical expenses exceeding the COA allowance, and dependent care costs.  Please see the section for the Standard Cost of Attendance for more information about obtaining an increase to your COA and an increase in your Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan eligibility.

Health Insurance is NOT an item on the 2014-2015 COA.

^Full-time JD students (taking 12 credits or more per semester) pay a flat tuition rate. Part-time JD students pay tuition at a rate of $1,830 per credit.

For planning purposes, you should estimate an annual increase in tuition of at least 5%.

Required Course Load

JD students must be enrolled for at least 6 credit hours (half-time) in each semester for which they are requesting aid. Enrollment changes may result in financial aid changes. Please refer to enrollment chart below:




Fall/Spring semesters    

12 or more credits    

6-11 credits

Summer semester

5 or more credits

3-4 credits

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

From GWeb, you will be able to link directly to the government website for Federal Direct Student Loan applications. If you previously completed the Federal Direct Stafford and Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Notes (MPN) and student loan entrance counseling for enrollment at GW Law, you do not need to do these again. You may review whether or not you have completed the required counseling and MPNs on the Federal Direct Student Loans website under the headings "My Loan Documents" and "View Previously Completed Counseling," where date/time stamps of each appear if already completed. You must complete the PLUS Request process if you have accepted a Graduate PLUS loan on GWeb.

Notification of Funds

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

Student Account e-Refund of Excess Funds

Financial aid award funds are disbursed to your GW Law student account at the beginning of each semester. If the total of the awards you have accepted exceeds the amount owed on the GW Student Account e-Bill system per semester, 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 account, register online via the GWeb/Student Records & Registration/Student Accounts menu/Student Account eBill menu.

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

The GW Law Financial Aid Office is required by federal loanregulation to calculate a Refund of Fees and 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 at least half-time enrollment in all classes, on or after the first day of the semester. The Return of Title IV Funds determines the amount of unearned aid you received at the beginning of the semester that must be returned to the federal aid programs. Any aid received in excess of the earned amount is considered unearned. The earned portion is calculated on a daily basis using calendar days from the first day of instruction to the last day of exams. The GW Law Financial Aid Office will also pro-rate or revoke institutional aid depending on the timing of a change in your enrollment status. Contact a financial aid counselor for more details.

Financial Aid Application Deadline: June 30

Applications will be considered in order by date of completion, and decisions will be subject to the availability of funds. We cannot guarantee timely loan disbursements in the fall semester for students who submit financial aid applications after June 30.

Note to Graduating Students 

You may increase your cost of attendance and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan eligibility for the cost of your first state bar exam (this may include the cost of the MPRE and postage; it does not include the cost of a bar prep course). As this is a reimbursement program, you must submit receipts for payment of fees.  For a bar preparatory course, you may borrow a private bar loan. Creditworthy applicants may apply for a bar loan from participating lenders. Please check with a financial aid counselor for more details. Financial Aid Counselors are prohibited from recommending any private loan lender by our code of conduct.

Note to Joint Degree Candidates
You must be taking law school courses in order to be eligible for GW Law School need-based financial aid. The Law School Financial Aid Office will continue to process your loans, based on the tuition of the other GW division in which you are enrolled. However, if you register for at least one credit at the Law School in a given semester, but take all your remaining credits for that semester within another division of GW, you will be charged the Law School tuition rate. Joint degree students are responsible for payment of all additional fees that may be charged by other schools at GW.

Financial Aid for Attendance at Another Law School

You may request federal or private loans for approved periods of at least half-time attendance at another law school. You may not receive GW Law institutional aid (merit scholarships or need-based grants) for this purpose. We urge you to talk with a financial aid counselor, who can help guide you through the process from application to disbursement. To apply:

  • Provide the GW Law Financial Aid Office with your signed approval form from the Dean of Students to take courses at another law school, the "host school".
  • Provide contact information for the appropriate financial aid staff member at the host school. A GW Law Financial Aid Counselor will submit a consortium agreement to the "host" school, requesting that they: a) not process any loans for you, b) monitor your enrollment, and c) provide the GW Law Financial Aid Office with their cost of attendance for your intended enrollment period.
  • Submit the FAFSA and the GW Financial Aid Request Form as usual. The GW Law Financial Aid Office will determine your eligibility for loans based on the costs provided by the host school, notify you of the aid package, and certify the loans your accept on GWeb.
  • Register with the GW Law School Records Office for "continuing enrollment" status (a $35 fee per semester). This allows GW to deposit loan funds into your GW student account.

When your loan is disbursed to GW, the funds will pay into your GW student account, paying off any outstanding prior charges. Once a credit for the loans appears on your GW student account, request a refund by submitting an online request form to the Student Accounts Office on GWeb. If you are already signed up for GW direct deposit, Student Accounts will deposit your credit balance into your designated bank account. You are responsible for paying your host school's tuition.

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 2014 "Summer Addendum" will be available on the Financial Aid page of the intranet portal in early April. Please work with a financial aid counselor to apply for summer funds. Please note that federal regulations regarding satisfactory academic progress (SAP) affect fall, spring and summer disbursements of Federal Direct Loans.  See the SAP policy for more information.


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