Terms and Definitions

 

Award Notification - a means of notifying financial aid applicants of the assistance being offered.  The award notification usually provides information on the types and amounts of aid offered, as well as specific program information, student responsibilities, and the conditions which govern the award.  Generally provides students with the opportunity to accept or decline the aid offered.

Cost of Attendance (COA) - in addition to tuition and fees, the cost of attendance includes room and board (on-campus or off-campus), books/supplies, transportation, personal expenses and miscellaneous expenses.

Disbursement - the process by which financial aid funds are made available to students for use in meeting educational and related living expenses. Funds are applied directly to the student's university account at the MSU Business Office.

Eligible Program - a course of study that requires a certain minimum number of hours of instruction that leads to a degree or certificate at a school participating in one or more federal student financial aid programs.  To receive student aid, a student must be enrolled in an eligible program of study. 

Enrollment Status - the number of credit hours being attempted by a student. Normally, students must be enrolled at least half-time to apply for loans.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - the amount a student and his/her family are expected to contribute toward the student's cost of attendance. This Federal calculation is based on family earnings, assets, number of students in college and household size.

Financial Aid Package - the total amount of financial aid (federal and nonfederal) received by a student.

Financial Need - the difference between the student's cost of attendance (COA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - the official document used by every college and university to determine eligibility for Federal Student Aid.

Graduate Student - a student working toward a master's degree.

Grants - financial aid that does not require repayment and is awarded to students based on financial need.

Overpayment - any amount paid to a student which is in excess of the amount he/she was entitled or eligible to receive.

Packaging - the process of combining various types of student aid (grants, loans, and employment) to attempt to meet a student's need.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) -  Federal and state regulations require that an institution develop standards to measure a student's academic progress towards a degree. A student must maintain satisfactory academic progress, as outlined by MSU's SAP policy, in order to remain eligible for financial aid.

Student Aid Report (SAR) - the federal "output" document printed by the FAFSA processor and mailed to the student. The SAR contains the family's financial information reported by the student on the FAFSA. The student's eligibility for aid is indicated by the EFC printed on the front page of the SAR.

Subsidized Loans - need-based loans in which the Federal Government pays the interest until the student enters repayment.

Undergraduate - a student who has not yet received a bachelor's degree.

Unmet Need - the difference between a student's cost of attendance (COA) and the student's total available resources, including financial aid.

Unsubsidized Loans - non-need based loans in which the student is responsible for paying the interest that accrues on the loans from the date of disbursement until the loan is paid in full, regardless of the student's enrollment status.

Verification - a procedure whereby the school confirms information the student reported on the FAFSA, usually by requesting a verification worksheet, copy of the tax returns and W2's filed by the student/spouse and/or parent(s).