Glossary of Financial Aid Terms
Book Advance – an advance payment of Title IV Funds to eligible students for the purpose of purchasing books and supplies required by the academic program. Book Advances will be posted to the student account (i.e. Students Ledger Card) no earlier than ten (10) days prior to the start of the Payment Period, and no later than seven (7) days after the Payment Period begins.
Cost of Attendance (COA) – the anticipated cost that a student may incur during an academic year to attend college. COA typically includes costs for tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, travel and reasonable personal costs. COA does not reflect the actual charges that a student will incur and is not the same as a tuition bill due to the College.
Dependent Student – Based on the FAFSA, a student is considered dependent if they are not one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, 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.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – an estimate of the family’s (student and/or parents) ability to contribute to postsecondary education expenses. It is a measure of the family’s financial strength which is derived from information submitted in the FAFSA. EFC is calculated by CPS (Central Processing System for FAFSA) according to a formula established by law based on financial and household information. The College uses EFC to determine Title IV Financial Aid eligibility and amount of any such award(s). EFC is not the amount of money that a family will pay, nor is it the amount of Title IV Financial Aid that the student will receive.
Federal Pell Grant – a Federal grant offered to undergraduate students who have not received a bachelor’s degree and demonstrate the greatest financial need. Federal Pell Grant is authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
Financial Aid – any source of financial funding to defer a student's Cost of Attendance (COA). Examples of Financial Aid may include, but are not limited to, Title IV Funds (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Parent PLUS), Scholarships, Third Party Payors, etc.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – an application completed by students (and parents) to apply for federal student aid.
Independent Student – based on the FAFSA, a student is considered independent if they meet one of the following criteria: at least 24 years old, married, 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.
Need-Based Federal Financial Aid Programs – Title IV Financial Aid programs for which eligibility is determined on the basis of an applicant's EFC. These programs include the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Direct Subsidized Loan programs.
Parent PLUS Loan – a Federal loan that parents of dependent undergraduate students can borrow to assist with their child’s college expenses. Loan repayment begins 60 days after final disbursement for that academic year, unless a deferment is requested.
Refund – a return of funding (Title IV, third-party, Veteran Affairs funding) back to the fund source that was paid on the account if the student has become ineligible to keep those funds, or makes the choice to return them to that fund source.
Refund of Tuition and Fees – pro-rated refund of tuition and fees issued back to a student by SOMI if a withdrawal takes place prior to the 60% point in a given semester.
Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) – a refund to the Department of Education that may occur when a student withdraws from all courses within a semester, or permanently withdraws from the College. The R2T4 calculation compares the amount of Title IV aid the recipient earned to the amount disbursed and determines whether funds must be returned, or if the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement.
Stipend – a credit balance (i.e., money left over) after financial aid has been applied to tuition, fees, and other school charges as applicable, that is issued back to the student.
Subsidized Direct Loan – a need-based Federal student loan in which interest is paid by the Federal government while a student is enrolled at least half time in college. Once a student graduates, drops below half-time enrollment, or leaves school, they have a six-month grace period before being required to start making monthly payments.
Title IV Credit Balance – occurs if Federal financial aid exceeds charges for tuition, fees, and other school charges within a semester.
Title IV Financial Aid – Federal financial aid authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Title IV Financial Aid programs that the College participates in include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and Parent PLUS).
Unsubsidized Direct Loan – a non-need based Federal student loan in which interest begins accruing as soon as the loan is disbursed, including while students are enrolled in school. Once a student graduates, drops below half-time enrollment, or leaves school, they have a six-month grace period before being required to start making monthly payments.
Verification – the process by which an applicant's FAFSA information is selected by CPS (Central Processing System for FAFSA) or the College to be verified as accurate (true and complete within certain parameters) or inaccurate.