Financial Aid Glossary

Alternative Loan

A private student loan that is administered through a private bank. These loans are taken out in the student’s name and can be used in addition to the Federal Stafford and Perkins loans. Maximum annual eligibility is the Cost of Attendance – Total Financial Aid Package.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Your total cost of attending a school for one academic year, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, living expenses and transportation.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The amount you and your family are expected to be able to contribute towards the cost of attendance. The federal government sets the formula that determines your contribution.

Federal Work Study (FWS)

A federally funded program that provides job opportunities to FMU students who have financial need. Eligibility is determined according to the results of the FAFSA and availability of funds.


Charges applied to your bill aside from tuition, room and board. They include your student orientation fee, instructional technology fee, health and counseling fee, student activity fee, and any fees associated with your labs or classes.

Financial Aid Package

The total combination of scholarships, grants, work study, and loans awarded.

Financial Need

The difference between the cost of attendance at FMU and the amount you and your family could reasonably be expected to contribute to these expenses (family contribution).

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

You must fill out the FAFSA form to determine your family’s expected contribution and eligibility for need-based financial assistance. FAFSA form is available online at FMU’s federal school code on the FAFSA is 001486.


A non-repayable award made to a student on the basis of financial eligibility.

Loan Entrance Counseling

Online federal Stafford loan counseling session required of first-time Stafford loan borrowers. Explains responsibilities and basic information related to borrowing a Stafford loan.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A written promise to pay back a specified sum of money. The MPN can be completed online; it must be completed in order to obtain a federal Stafford loan. By signing the MPN, the individual is agreeing to repay the money borrowed, as well as abide by all the terms associated with it. These terms and borrower rights are outlined in the MPN and should be kept with personal records.

Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loan)

A Federal Plus Loan may be borrowed by a parent of a dependent undergraduate student. These loans have a fixed interest rate and repayment begins usually sixty days after the loan is fully disbursed. Maximum annual eligibility is Cost of Attendance (COA) – Total Financial Aid Package. Loan period can be based on a semester or an academic year.


Four-digit personal identification number (PIN) that serves as the online signature. Both the student and at least one parent should register for a PIN at


A gift awarded on the basis of a student’s academic accomplishments.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

The results of the FAFSA that are sent to you. You should check the accuracy of reported data and make corrections if necessary.

Subsidized Stafford Loan

Awarded to a student on the basis of financial need. The federal government pays the interest on the loan during periods of at least half-time enrollment and the grace period. Effective July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2014 the federal government will no longer subsidize the 6 month grace period.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Stafford Loan not based on financial need. The borrower is responsible for accrued interest throughout the life of the loan.


Verification is a review process in which the Financial Aid Office determines the accuracy of the information provided on the student’s financial aid application (FAFSA). Schools are required to collect a signed tax return transcript for the student and parents (who filed a tax return) as well as a completed Verification Worksheet.

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