We understand that the financial aid process can be somewhat intimidating. To help out, we’ve created a financial aid glossary to help families understand the lingo.
- Cost of Attendance (COA): a budget given to each student representing the maximum amount of financial aid we can give. This budget includes: tuition, fees, and additional living expenses (housing, gas, food, etc.). This number does not represent the total direct charges from the school; rather it gives a maximum amount a student can receive in financial aid – going above and beyond total charges to help with the cost of living.
- Disbursement of funds: The release of loan funds to the school for delivery to the borrower. The payment is first credited to the student’s account for payment of tuition, fees, room and board and other school charges. If a credit remains, the student will receive the remaining balance in the form of a check.
- Electronic Student Aid Report (e-SAR): Report that summarizes the information included in the FAFSA. The e-SAR will also indicate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). You should recieve your e-SAR about 2-4 weeks after you file your FAFSA online. Review your e-SAR and correct any errors on part 2 of the e-SAR. Keep a copy for your records.
- Entrance Loan Counseling: A federally required program designed to provide detailed loan information critical for the loan borrower to understand. Borrower must complete this step before funds are sent.
- Exit Loan Counseling: A federally required program designed to provide detailed loan information and budget guidance for the loan borrower once the borrower has left school and repayment is about to start.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC): the amount of money that the family is expected to be able to contribute to the student’s education, as determined by the Federal Methodology need analysis formula approved by Congress. The EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the student’s dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income and assets. The school will use this number to determine a student’s need for financial aid (grants, scholarships, loans, etc.)
- Federal Default Fee: A small percentage of the loan is paid to a guarantee agency to insure the loan against default. The default fee is usually 1% of the loan amount.
- Federal Work Study (FWS): Program providing undergraduate students with part time employment during the school year. The federal government pays a portion of the student’s salary, allowing departments and businesses to stretch limited payroll dollars. Eligibility for FWS is based on need. Money earned from a FWS job is not counted as income for the subsequent year’s need analysis process.
- Financial Aid Package: The complete collection of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study employment from all sources (federal, state, institutional and private) offered to a student to enable them to attend WJU.
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Form used to apply for Pell Grants and all other need based aid. As the name suggests, no fee is charged to file a FAFSA.
- Grace Period: A short term period (usually 6 months) after graduation during which the borrower is not required to begin repaying his or her student loans. The grace period will also kick in if the borrower leaves school for a reason other than graduation or drops below half time enrollment.
- Grant: A type of financial aid based on the financial need that the student does not have to repay.
- Independent Student: An independent student must be at least one of the following: at least 24 years old as of January 1 of the academic year, married, a graduate or professional student, have a legal dependent other than a spouse, a veteran of the US Armed Forces, an orphan or ward of the court (or was a ward of the court until the age of 18), an emancipated minor or living in a legal guardianship, or homeless. A parent refusing to provide support for their child’s education is not sufficient for the child to be declared independent.
- Master Promissory Note (MPN): The binding legal document that must be signed by the student borrower before loan funds are disbursed by the lender. The promissory note states the terms and conditions of the loan, including repayment schedule, interest rate, deferment policy and cancellations. The student should keep this document until the loan has been repaid.
Need: the difference between the COA and the EFC is the student’s financial need. Put another way, it is the gap between the student’s budget and the family’s resources. The financial aid package is based on the amount of family need.
Financial Need = Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Offer Letter: An official document sent to the student that lists all of the financial aid awarded. This letter provides the breakdown of your financial aid package according to amount, source and type of aid. The offer letter will include the terms and conditions for the financial aid. The student is required to sign a copy of the letter, indiciating whether you accept or decline each source of aid, and return it to the Financial Aid Office.
- Origination Fee: Mandatory fee for the cost of administering the loan. The origination fee is charged as the loan is disbursed, and are typically run 4% for PLUS loans and 1% for Federal Stafford Loans.
- Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): Federal loans available to parents of dependent undergraduate students to help finance the child’s education. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of their children’s education, less the amount of any other financial aid received. PLUS loan may be used to pay the EFC. There is a minimal credit check required for the PLUS loan, so a good credit history is required. If your application for a PLUS loan is turned down, your child may be eligible to borrow additional money under the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program.
- Professional Judgment: For need based federal aid programs, the finanacial aid administrator has the authority to adjust the EFC, adjust the COA, or change the dependency status (with documentation) when extenuating circumstances exist. For example, if a parent becomes unemployed, disabled or deceased, the FAA can decide to use estimated income information for the award year instead of the acutal income figures from the base year.
- Scholarship: A form of financial aid given to undergraduate students to help pay for their education. Scholarships are a form of gift aid and do not have to be repaid. Many scholarships are restricted to students in specific courses of study or with academic, athletic or artistic talent.
- Stafford Loans: Federal loans that come in two forms, subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are based on need; unsubsidized loans are not. The interest on the subsidized Stafford Loan is paid by the federal government while the student is in school and during the 6 month grace period.
- Verification: A review process in which the Financial Aid Office determines the accuracy of the information provided on the student’s financial aid applicaiton. During the verification process the student and parent will be required to submit documentation for the amounts listed (or not listed) on the financial aid application. Such documentation may include signed copies of the most recent Federal income tax returns for you, your spouse (if applicable) and your parents, proof of citzenship, proof of registration with Selective Service, copies of Social Security benefit statements, W2s, and 1099 forms, among other things. Financial aid applications are randomly selected by the Federal processor for verification, with most schools verifying about 1/3 of all applications. If there is an asterisk next to the EFC figure on your Electronic Student Aid Report (e-SAR), your file has been selected for verification. If any discrepancies are uncovered during verification, the Financial Aid Office may require additional information to clear up the discrepancies. Such discrepancies will cause your final financial aid package to be delayed.