Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans

If you are a U.S. citizen/permanent resident and do not have "adverse credit," you may borrow the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan to supplement the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan in an amount up to the total COA less all other financial aid.

Most GW Law students borrow a GradPLUS Loan for the full fall/spring academic year, with the first half of the loan disbursed at the start of the fall semester, and the second half disbursed at the beginning of the spring semester.  Each semester disbursement is electronically deposited into your GW student account, paying down your tuition and other outstanding charges first.

Interest accrues at the time of each disbursement of the loan, and continues while you are enrolled at least half-time until you enter repayment.  As long as you remain enrolled at least half-time, you do not need to make payments on GradPLUS.

GradPLUS has a loan "origination" fee which is a percentage of the total loan amount.  This  fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.  This means that the amount of loan money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow.  You are responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received. 

Quick Facts

  • Interest rate: fixed annually, currently 7.21% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015
  • Origination fee: adjusted annually, currently 4.292%,  deducted proportionately from each disbursement.
  • Annual maximum: GradPLUS is COA less all other aid.
  • Aggregate maximum: none
  • At repayment, accrued interest is capitalized, i.e., becomes part of the principal amount borrowed
  • One lender (the Department of Education) for borrowing and repayment
  • Serviced by a Department of Education agent, not sold to a third party.
  • Federal loans qualify for deferments and forbearance options as well as death and disability provisions.
  • No bank or guarantor involved
  • Standard repayment: ten years, unless payments are extended by loan consolidation or other repayment plan
  • Consolidation with Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans: Yes, repayable over a longer time period, depending upon amount borrowed
  • Early repayment penalty: None
  • If you reduce your enrollment status, withdraw, or take a leave of absence from the Law School, you may enter repayment sooner.


In order to receive a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, you must be:

  • A citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
  • Enrolled at least half-time (6 credits per semester for JD, 5 credits per semester for LLM students) in a degree program for each semester for which loans are received;
  • Neither delinquent nor in default on any educational loans borrowed prior to attendance at the law school;
  • Credit-worthy, as determined by the Department of Education.

All GradPLUS loans require a credit decision.  It is not your credit score, but your recent credit history, which is scrutinized.  You must complete the PLUS Request process at www.studentloans.gov.  You and/or your endorser's credit report will be pulled by the Department of Education.  As credit decisions are only valid for 90 days, if you apply during the academic year for additional GradPLUS, you will need to reapply for credit.

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

If you are in default or in a late payment status on any of your student loans, your eligibility for federal loans will be jeopardized.  If you have defaulted on student loans, contact your lender/guarantee agency immediately to inquire about their policy for reinstatement of your Title IV federal loan eligibility.

How to Apply for a GradPLUS Loan 


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