Glossary of Terms

Award Letter

An offer from a college or career school that states the type and amount of financial aid the school is willing to provide if you accept admission and register to take classes at that school.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

The total amount it will cost you to go to school—usually stated as a yearly figure. COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (or a housing and food allowance); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses, including an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer; costs related to a disability; and reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs. For students attending less than half-time, the COA includes tuition and fees and an allowance for books, supplies, transportation, and dependent care expenses, and can also include room and board for up to three semesters or the equivalent at the institution. But no more than two of those semesters, or the equivalent, may be consecutive. Contact the financial aid administrator at the school you’re planning to attend if you have any unusual expenses that might affect your COA.

Deferment

A temporary postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest generally does not accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans, the subsidized portion of Direct Consolidation Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, the subsidized portion of FFEL Consolidation Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. All other federal student loans that are deferred will continue to accrue interest. Any unpaid interest that accrued during the deferment period may be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of the loan(s).

Dependency Status

The determination of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applicant as dependent or independent.

  • Dependent Student - A student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student. An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
  • Independent Student - An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Get additional information to determine your dependency status.

Direct PLUS Loan

A loan made by the U.S. Department of Education to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. The borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.

Enrollment Status

Reported by the school the student attended, indicates whether the student is (or was) full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, less than half-time, withdrawn, graduated, etc.

Entrance Counseling

A mandatory information session that takes place before you receive your first federal student loan that explains your responsibilities and rights as a student borrower.

Exit Counseling

A mandatory information session that takes place before you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment that explains your loan repayment responsibilities and when repayment begins.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

This is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA form, the application for federal student aid. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).

FAFSA4caster

An online tool that provides an early estimate of your federal student aid eligibility to help you financially plan for college.

Federal School Code

An identifier that the U.S. Department of Education assigns to each college or career school that participates in the federal student aid programs. In order to send your FAFSA information to a school, you must list the school's Federal School Code on your application. Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences school code is 030709.

Financial Need

The difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a school and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). While COA varies from school to school, your EFC does not change based on the school you attend.

Forbearance

A period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced. Your lender may grant you a forbearance if you are willing but unable to make loan payments due to certain types of financial hardships. During forbearance, principal payments are postponed but interest continues to accrue. Unpaid interest that accrues during the forbearance will be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of your loan(s), increasing the total amount you owe.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge all refer to the cancellation of a borrower's obligation to repay all or a portion of the remaining principal and interest owed on a student loan, but are generally used in different contexts.

"Loan cancellation" and "loan forgiveness" generally refer to the cancellation of a borrower's obligation to repay some or all of the remaining amount owed on a loan if the borrower works full-time for a specified period of time in certain occupations or for certain types of employers. "Loan cancellation" is usually used in reference to the various Perkins Loan Program cancellation benefits. "Loan forgiveness" is usually used in reference to the Direct Loan and FFEL Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program or the Direct Loan Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Borrowers are not required to pay income tax on loan amounts that are canceled or forgiven based on qualifying employment.

"Loan discharge" generally refers to the cancellation of a borrower's obligation to repay some or all of the remaining amount owed on a loan due to circumstances such as school closure, a school's false certification of a borrower's eligibility to receive a loan, a school's failure to pay a required loan refund, or the borrower's death, total and permanent disability, or bankruptcy. In some cases, a discharge may also entitle a borrower to receive a refund of payments previously made on a loan. Depending on the type of discharge, the amount of a loan that is discharged may be treated as taxable income.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form

Located at fafsa.gov, the FAFSA form is the FREE application used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study.

FSA ID

The FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms.

Grace Period

For certain types of federal student loans, a period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment when you are not required to make payments. You are responsible for paying the interest that accrues on unsubsidized loans during the grace period. If the interest is unpaid, it will be added to the principal balance of the loan (capitalized) when the repayment period begins.

Master Promissory Note

A binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. The MPN can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years). It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.  It’s important to read and save your MPN because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.

Need-based

Based on a student's financial need. Example: A need-based grant might be awarded based on a student's low income.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

A school’s standards for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by that institution. Check with your school to find out its standards.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program

The federal student loan program under which eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools. Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans are types of Direct Loans.

  • Subsidized Loan - A loan based on financial need for which the federal government generally pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status, and during certain periods of repayment under certain income-driven repayment plans.
  • Unsubsidized Loan - A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.

Verification

The process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. Your school has the authority to contact you for documentation that supports income and other information that you reported.