Federal Direct Stafford Loans

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan  ("Stafford") program is the most readily available of the federal loans for GW Law students.  Law students usually borrow the Stafford 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 begins to accrue at the time of each loan disbursement, and continues to accrue while you are enrolled at least half-time until you enter repayment.  As long as you remain enrolled half-time, you do not need to make payments on Stafford.

Stafford loans are charged 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: Annually fixed, currently 6.21% for loans disbursed from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015
  • Origination fee: adjusted annually, currently 1.073% , deducted proportionately from each disbursement.
  • Annual maximum: $20,500 per year.
  • Aggregate maximum: $138,500 graduate and undergraduate.
  • One lender: the Department of Education, for borrowing and repayment
  • No bank or guarantor involved
  • Servicer: an agent of the Department of Education; not sold to a third party.
  • At repayment, accrued interest is capitalized, i.e., becomes part of the principal amount borrowed
  • Standard repayment: ten years, unless payments are extended by loan consolidation or other repayment plan
  • Consolidation with Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Direct GradPLUS Loans, 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.
  • Federal loans qualify for deferments and forbearance options as well as death and disability provisions.


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 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.

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 aid 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 Federal loans


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