Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Federal Direct Stafford Loan terms at a glance:

  • Fixed interest rate of 6.21%. Interest accrues beginning with each disbursement of the loan.
  • An origination fee of 1.072% (after October 1, 2014, the origination fee will be 1.073%) is charged on Stafford, and is included in the academic year cost of education budget.
  • Annual maximum is $20,500 per year. 
  • Aggregate maximum of $138,500 graduate and undergraduate  Federal Stafford Loans
  • Payable after graduation over a ten-year period, unless payments are extended by loan consolidation or other repayment plan. 
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans may be consolidated with Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans into one loan, repayable over a longer period of time.
  • If you reduce your enrollment status, withdraw, or take a leave of absence from the Law School, you may enter repayment sooner and have to begin loan repayment.


In order to receive a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, you must be:

  • A citizen or permanent resident of the United States
  • Enrolled at least half-time (6 credits per semester for J.D., 5 credits per semester for LL.M. students) in a degree program for each semester for which loans are received
  • Not delinquent or in default on any educational loans borrowed prior to attendance at the Law School

Students must be making 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.

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

Need Analysis Required for the Federal Stafford Loan

You will undergo a government designed need analysis to determine your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Since you will be a graduate student, no parental data is used for federal loan eligibility, only your and your spouse’s data (if married).

Applying for Federal Direct Stafford Loans

1. File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using GW Law’s code: E00196. This form may be filed after January 1. Only you and your spouse (if applicable) need to file this form (unless you are applying for need-based grants, in which case your parental data is required if you were born on/after January 1, 1985).

2. Complete the Law School Financial Aid Request Form.

3. The federal FAFSA processor will send you a SAR (Student Aid Report). Check the instructions upon receipt and promptly resolve any problems noted on the form. The SAR will inform you if your FAFSA was selected for verification. If selected, you may need to send additional documentation to the Law Financial Aid Office, whom you should contact for assistance.

4. All Stafford borrowers must complete, or have on file, a valid Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).

5. If you are borrowing a Stafford at GW for the first time, you must complete an entrance interview.

6. Once you graduate, withdraw, or drop to less than half-time enrollment, federal loan exit counseling is required by completion online.

When to Apply for Federal Direct Stafford Loans

Once you receive your notice of financial aid eligibility from the Law School, you will be directed to view your award offers online on the GWeb site, with instructions for access.

When you accept any loan(s) on GWeb, you will be able to link directly to the government website for loan applications.

You should complete entrance counseling all loan types you will obtain and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

You may review whether or not you have already completed the required counseling and MPNs on the Student Loans website under the headings "My Loan Documents" and "View Previously Completed Counseling."

When and How do Federal Direct Stafford Funds Arrive?

Federal Direct Stafford Loans are issued in two equal disbursements, divided between the fall and spring semesters of the academic year, and arriving at the beginning of each semester. Students applying for the Federal Direct Stafford loan for one semester only (e.g., in the case of graduating after fall semester) may receive their funds in one disbursement at the beginning of the semester.

Electronic Funds

Loan funds are deposited directly into your GW Student Account from COD, the Common Origination and Disbursement system. Federal regulations mandate that electronically transmitted loan funds not used within three days of disbursement be returned by the school to the lender. If you are not registered, or are registered but not for the appropriate number of credits, or are missing some document required for admission or certification, your loan may be delayed in paying into your GW Student Account.


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, you may check your student account on GWeb, or contact your Law Financial Aid counselor 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 awards you have accepted exceed the amount owed on the GW Student Account semester 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.  

Loan funds are not available prior to the first day of classes in any semester.

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

The Law School Financial Aid Office is required by regulation 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 enrollment in all classes, on or after the first day of the semester. The return of Title IV funds is 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. The Law School Financial Aid Office will also pro-rate or revoke institutional aid depending on the timing of a change in your enrollment status. Contact your financial aid counselor for more details.

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