Federal Student Loan Programs

The University participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Under the Direct Loan Program, loans are made by the U.S. Department of Education. Direct Loans for graduate and professional students are all unsubsidized (which means they accrue interest while you are in school). 

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based, and will be offered to any U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen who completes a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and has no prior federal student loan default or other disqualifying circumstance.  Interest is charged on the loan, beginning the day that the loan is disbursed.  Students are charged a 1.057 percent loan fee (for loans before 10/1/24), deducted prior to the loan being disbursed.  Students borrowing Unsubsidized Direct Loans may defer payment of principal and interest while enrolled at least half-time and for a six-month grace period following a withdrawal, leave of absence or graduation. 

Students may borrow an annual maximum of $20,500 in Unsubsidized Direct Loans. The interest rate updates annually. For 2024-2025, it is 8.08 percent. The maximum aggregate that a student may borrow during their educational career is $138,500. Students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are not eligible to borrow under the Direct Loan program, but may be eligible for alternative private loans.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loans

The Federal Graduate PLUS Program is available to law students enrolled in school at least half-time. Law students must be U.S. citizens or registered permanent residents to apply for the PLUS. Eligibility for the PLUS is not based on demonstrated financial need.  The Grad PLUS loan is credit-based, and every application for the PLUS loan will result in a credit history inquiry.  An adverse credit history may result in a denial of the loan. 

Eligible law students may borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial assistance. The Grad PLUS loan interest rate updates annually. For 2024-2025, it is 9.08 percent. Students are charged a 4.228 percent loan fee (for loans before 10/1/24), deducted prior to the loan being disbursed. Repayment begins within 60 days after the full disbursement of the loan, but students may request deferment of payments while enrolled in school at least half-time, and can usually match the Grad Plus grace period to the Stafford grace period.

Law students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and have exhausted their Direct Unsubsidized Loan annual eligibility in order to qualify for a Graduate PLUS loan.

Master Promissory Note

All borrowers are required to complete Master Promissory Notes (MPNs) the first time they borrow as a University of Virginia Law student. An MPN does not show loan amounts because it can serve as the student’s promissory note for future years. The amount of the loans will be included in the student’s financial aid award notification on the Student Information System (SIS.)  There are separate MPNs for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Grad PLUS loan, and students borrowing from both programs should make certain that they have signed both promissory notes. 

Students will receive a Loan Disclosure Statement for each new loan borrowed. The disclosure statements provide information about the types and amounts of loans borrowed, the loan period and the anticipated disbursement dates. Students should maintain these statements for their records.

Students initially accept, decline or reduce loan amounts for the academic year (not by term) in the Student Information System (SIS). Once a loan is accepted in SIS, contact the Law School Financial Aid Office if you need to make changes to your award. Note that increases are subject to annual and aggregate maximums. If you have borrowed more than you need, excess funds may be returned to UVA within 120 days of disbursement. The loan fee and accrued interest will be reduced or eliminated in proportion to the amount of the disbursement returned.

Disbursement Procedure

The financial aid award indicates the total loan amount of the Direct Loan the student is awarded. The net amount disbursed will be the gross amount of the loan less fees, as indicated above.

The Direct Loan is normally payable in two disbursements, one-half of the total in each semester. Loan funds cannot be credited to the student’s account until approved by the Department of Education and the student has enrolled in sufficient credit hours.

Students will receive an email once their loan has been disbursed to their University Student Account.  The disbursement will first pay outstanding tuition, fees, room and board due to the University of Virginia for the current semester, and the remaining funds will be released to the student by check to their local address or via direct deposit to their personal bank account.

In the case of an overaward, one or both of the loan disbursements may be reduced or canceled. Similarly, if tuition charges are reduced because of a change in enrollment or additional departmental or non-university awards, one or both of the loan disbursements may need to be adjusted or canceled.

If a student fails to enroll in sufficient credit hours, their loan will be canceled, typically within 30 days of the start of classes.

Entrance Counseling

All first-time borrowers of federal loans must be informed of their borrower rights and responsibilities before their first loan disbursement can be credited to their University account. Complete Loan Entrance Counseling Information.

Exit Counseling

It is the student’s responsibility to complete exit counseling before leaving the University or in the event that he or she drops below half-time enrollment (minimum six credit hours). Student loan history can be found at the Federal Student Aid web site. Use your Federal Student Aid ID to access the data. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Law School Financial Aid Office in the event that they withdraw from the University or enroll less than half-time (minimum six credit hours) to obtain exit counseling information.