Financial Aid Policies

Choose a policy from the dropdown below. 

Allowable Increases to the COA

Note: All requests for an increase to the COA must include the documentation mentioned for each category and a signed Loan Increase Form. All documentation and the Loan Increase Form must be presented to a financial aid counselor four weeks prior to the end of any semester, unless otherwise noted. Requests made after the last day of exams will be processed in the first week of the following semester (the student must be enrolled in at least half time credit hours in the next semester).

Federal Loan Origination Fees Policy

You may increase your COA to net the cost of attendance in student loans by requesting that federal loan origination fees be added to the COA. On the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan the origination fee is 4.264% (4.248% for loans originated on or after October 1, 2018) of the loan and on the Federal Direct Stafford Loan the amount is 1.066% (1.062% for loans originated on or after October 1, 2018) of the loan. Your request to increase your COA must be in the form of a completed Loan Increase Form, which is available to students in the Financial Aid Office documents on the Law Student Portal or in the GW Law Office of Financial Aid.

Requests must be submitted no later than April 17th for the current academic year.

Computer Purchase Policy

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 included a provision that allows an institution, on a case by case basis, to include in a student's "cost of attendance" the actual, documented cost of a personal computer. Allowing inclusion of the cost is not based on any particular program of study or program requirement. The following policies and procedures will be in effect for GW Law students:

  • The maximum allowance for purchase of a computer is $2,500, which can include the cost of a printer.
  • Requests for inclusion of costs for maintenance and / or repair of a computer will not be considered. However, the cost of a maintenance contract or extended warranty, purchased along with the computer, can be included.
  • The cost of software, printer cartridges, paper, monthly online service fees, etc. will be assumed to be covered by the books and supplies and miscellaneous allowances already included in the student’s COA.
  • Expenses for the cost of leasing a computer (as an option to purchasing) can be considered. The monthly lease amount for each academic year will be considered, up to a career maximum of $2,500.
  • In order to have the cost of the purchase of a computer added to the cost of attendance, the student must provide a written request to the GW Law Financial Aid Office, with a dated receipt/proof of purchase attached. Therefore, the computer must be purchased prior to the request for coverage.
  • The purchase must have occurred no earlier than 90 days prior to the request.
  • Inclusion of the cost of the computer (or an upgrade) will be allowed only once per program of study (example: once for undergraduate studies, once for graduate studies).
  • Scholarship funds are not available to cover the cost of a computer. Students may apply for federal or alternative educational loan funds. Students should consult with a financial aid counselor to find out about loan eligibility.
  • Requests must be submitted no later than April 15th for the current academic year.

Dependent Care Policy

An allowance for the costs expected for dependent care can be made for the periods that include, but are not limited to, class time, study time, field work, internships, and commuting time when the student is enrolled at least ½ time. The amount of this allowance will not exceed reasonable costs in the community for the type of care provided . A married student whose spouse is not employed is not eligible to increase his/her cost of attendance, except in the case of a spouse’s disability.

Students seeking to increase their cost of attendance for dependent care costs should submit a letter or invoice from their provider for each semester (copies will not be accepted). Dates and times of care must be included in the documentation along with cost. For students who have home care by an independent provider, a notarized contract should be furnished with dates, times and cost of the care.

Students concerned about child care choices in the DC area are advised to visit theGW Grad Life website.

Requests must be submitted no later than April 15th for the current academic year.

Medical Expenses Policy

Unreimbursed medical expenses, including prescriptions and medical insurance premiums that exceed the allowance for medical expenses, may be considered by a financial aid counselor for an increase to the cost of attendance and a subsequent increase to a student’s eligibility for Federal Graduate PLUS Loan funds. Students must submit paid receipts for services rendered to, premiums paid or prescripts purchased for, the student only.

Requests must be submitted no later than April 15th for the current academic year.

First Bar Exam Policy

An allowance may be given for the one-time direct costs of obtaining a first professional license. This allowance may only be provided one time per student per eligible academic program. Examples of allowable costs include fees charged to take the bar exam and costs of applying for and obtaining the license. Costs must be incurred during a period of enrollment, even if the exam is after that period.

Requests must be submitted no later than April 15th for the current academic year.

Each new loan increase will incur a loan origination fee, which you may have added to your requested increase amount.

In order to receive federal loans, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, not in default on any federal loan, and enrolled at least half-time in a degree program.

In order to maintain a GW Law merit scholarship, you must be making satisfactory academic progress and be enrolled for the course load upon which your award was originally based. You must be paying law tuition in each semester you receive the scholarship.

In order to receive a GW Law need-based grant, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, not in default on any federal loan, and enrolled for the number of credits upon which your award was originally based (per the GW Law Financial Aid Request Form you completed). You must borrow the full amount of the Federal Direct Stafford Loan. You cannot be a transfer student, a merit scholarship recipient whose award is $16,000 or more, an international student, or enrolled in another division of the University.

For information more specific to any situation you may have, please contact the Law Financial Aid Office.

You must be enrolled at least half-time to receive GW Law need-based grants, federal loans, and some commercial loans. For JD candidates, half-time in any given semester is a course load of at least six credits (full-time is 12). In the summer, half-time enrollment is a course load of at least three credits (full-time is six).

For LLM candidates, half-time in any given semester is a course load of at least 5 credits (full-time is 9). In the summer, half-time enrollment is a course load of at least three credits (full-time is 5).

If you are the recipient of a GW Law merit scholarship, any change in your enrollment may affect your award. Contact the Dean of Admissions for guidance.

If you receive a GW Law need-based grant or federal or commercial loans, changes in enrollment may affect your award. Contact the Law Financial Aid Office for details.

Availability of Student Consumer Information

On all web pages, web information (that is, information that is not also available on the web pages in PDF format) is available in paper format upon request. Requests should be made to: Attn: Darshani Don, Law Financial Aid Office, 700 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20052 or via e-mail at: [email protected].

Student Loan Code of Conduct

The George Washington University Law School Financial Aid Office adheres to a financial aid code of conduct agreed upon between schools in the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Attorney General. The text of this agreement follows.

Code of Conduct for Relationships between Universities in the District of Columbia and Educational Loan Providers

The undersigned universities, in cooperation with the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, voluntarily adopt this Code of Conduct ("Code") regarding appropriate educational lending practices at their institutions. This Code has been amended to conform with the provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1094 et seq. ("HEOA").

The complete policy on Student Loan Code of Conduct can be found here.

National Student Loan Data System

All borrowers are advised that information regarding all federal student loans is reported to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Such information is accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system.

Students are advised that they can always look up their federal student loan history on the database of the NSLDS.

US Department of Education Publications

Institutions are required to provide information published by the US Department of Education to students at any time that information regarding loan availability is provided. These publications include information about rights and responsibilities of students as borrowers of federal student loans, during enrollment and in repayment period.

Publications

Visit the main website for the Direct Loan program for more information.

For a comprehensive list of disclosures required of the George Washington University by the Higher Education Act please click here.

Financial Eligibility for Grants

In determining financial need for law school need-based grants, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is used in the formula COA - $20,500 Stafford loan – GW merit scholarship (must be less than $16,000) – any other outside aid you receive – EFC = unmet need, a portion of which is met by GW Law funds. The EFC we use is not the FAFSA EFC, but is calculated by the Law Financial Aid Office using the financial data you submit on your FAFSA and CSS Profile forms.

Due to heavy demand on limited funding, the Law school considers your and your parents’ financial strength when determining the EFC. In order to be considered for a need-based grant, eligible JDs must complete the FAFSA and the CSS Profile forms, and your parents, regardless of your age or marital status, must file the CSS Profile form with you. There are no exceptions to this rule other than for orphans or wards of the court; documentation is mandatory.

Impact of Drug Conviction on Title IV Eligibility

Please be advised that under federal law, a recipient of Title IV financial aid who is convicted for possession and/or sale of illegal drugs while enrolled as a student at GW Law will be ineligible for further Title IV funds for a fixed period of time, as indicated below.

  Possession of Illegal Drugs Sale of Illegal Drugs
1st Offense 1 Year from Date of Conviction 2 Years from Date of Conviction
2nd Offense 2 Years from Date of Conviction Indefinite Period
3rd Offense or Higher Indefinite Period Indefinite Period

* If convicted of both possession and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when the student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. The student will lose eligibility again upon a subsequent drug conviction.

For complete information, please see the Federal Student Aid Student Eligibility Handbook (page 1-15 and 1-16) or contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID

You may also view the George Washington University Policy on the impact of drug conviction on Title IV eligibility.

You are required to notify Law Financial Aid of any outside resources you receive for or during the academic year. Federal financial aid regulations require that we record your outside funding as a financial resource and add it to the total financial aid package we have offered you. If your total aid from all sources (including the outside funds) exceeds your COA, Law Financial Aid must reduce your total aid to avoid exceeding the budget limit.

Any funds received by Law Financial Aid will be applied to your GW student account; if a credit balance results, any eligible refund will be issued at that time.

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 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 Financial Aid office will also pro-rate or revoke institutional aid depending on the timing of a change in your enrollment status.

The George Washington University’s Return of Title IV Funds Policy can be found online here.

Contact your financial aid counselor for more details.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is specific to maintaining eligibility for federal financial assistance and does not replace academic and departmental policies pertaining to academic and/or degree progression. Federal regulations and University institutional policy require a specified level of academic achievement and the completion of a set number of credits within a given time frame. Students must meet the minimum standards below at the time Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated.

Credit Hour Completion Rate

The credit hour completion rate refers to the pace at which students must progress through their GW academic program to ensure that students completes their academic program within the maximum time frame per federal regulation. At the end of each term, the GW Law Financial Aid Office will evaluate a student’s academic progress in accordance with the following regulatory formula:

Pace = total hours completed ÷ total hours attempted

This means that courses the student drops after the drop/add period has ended will be considered as attempted credit hours. For all students, attempted hours is defined as all courses in which they are enrolled after the drop/add period has ended for the term and for which academic credit will be earned. This means that courses from which students withdraw after the drop/add period has ended will be considered attempted hours. All attempted hours will be counted regardless of whether financial aid was received.

The following course designations are included in attempted hours:

  • Withdrawals
  • Incompletes
  • No grades
  • Courses taken as credit/no credit
  • Repeated coursework
  • Failing grades
  • Failing grades in pass/fail courses
  • Remedial or ESL coursework
  • Transfer credits, including credits from domestic and international study abroad programs
  • Test credits

The Grade-Point Average

Academic achievement is computed in terms of the grade-point average, obtained by dividing the number of quality points by the number of credit hours for which the student has registered, both based on his or her record in this University.

The grade-point average is computed as follows: A+, 4.33; A, 4.0; A-, 3.66; B+, 3.33; B, 3.0; B-, 2.66; C+, 2.33; C, 2.0; C-, 1.66; D+, 1.3; D, 1.0; D-, .7; F, 0, for each credit hour for which the student has registered as a degree-seeking student. Although credit value for a course in which a grade of F is earned appears on the transcript for the purpose of calculating the grade-point average, no academic credit is awarded. In the case of a student who is allowed to repeat a course, the first grade received remains on the student’s record and is included in the grade-point average. Courses marked AU, CR, I, IPG, P, NP, R, W, or Z are not considered in determining the average, except courses marked with an I, which will be considered when a final grade is recorded. With the exception of Consortium courses, grades in courses taken at other institutions are not considered in computing the grade-point average.

  JD Full- & Part-time U.S. LLM & 2nd Int'l LLM Int'l LLM Part-time LLM SJD
Minimum Semester and Cumulative GPA 1.67 2.67 2.00 2.67 2.67
Completion Rate/Pace 67% 67% 67% 67% 67%
Attain Degree Within 126 attempted hours 36 attempted hours 36 attempted hours 36 attempted hours 42 attempted hours

Satisfactory Academic Progress is checked at the end of each term. Students who fail to meet the minimum GPA and/or pace requirements will be sent a warning letter. These students will be allowed one warning semester to restore satisfactory standing. Financial aid will be processed for one semester only. Further review will be required at the end of the warning semester. Students that have reached the Maximum Time Frame to complete a program cannot receive a warning semester but can appeal to the SAP committee.

After receiving aid for one warning semester, students who meet the same standards outlined above for the warning semester in each subsequent semester will be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress for purposes of receiving federal student aid, provided that they do not exceed the specified Maximum Time Frame for degree completion. Students who fail to earn the minimum requirements during the warning semester will be considered as not making satisfactory academic progress and federal financial assistance will be terminated or suspended until the student regains minimum satisfactory academic progress standards.

Appeals

You may appeal the denial of financial aid by writing to the GW Law Financial Aid Office SAP Appeals Committee. Appeals are considered in cases where there has been a death of a relative, injury or illness of the student or other special circumstance. Our committee may consult with deans, professors, or physicians (as appropriate) to determine if a Financial Aid Probationary semester should be approved. The appeal must include:

1. A completed SAP Appeal form that has been reviewed by an academic advisor or dean.

2. A letter of explanation as to why you failed to make SAP along with supporting documentation that substantiates your circumstances. Documentation should be from unrelated adults such as professors, academic advisors, clergy members, doctors, or mental health professionals as appropriate.

3. A description of how you plan to rectify your situation in order to meet the requirements at the end of the Financial Aid Probation (one semester).

Reinstatement of Aid Eligibility

Students who fail to make SAP can regain their financial aid eligibility for future semesters by meeting SAP requirements. Students placed on Financial Aid Probation due to a successful appeal must meet all SAP requirements after that one probationary semester in order to re-establish eligibility for future semesters. Reinstatement is based on the availability of funds. Financial Aid, once lost, cannot be reinstated retroactively for previous semesters.