Glossary of terms

  • Academic year: The time during which an educational institution holds classes.
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): You or your family's wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus certain deductions from income as reported on a federal income tax return. Commonly referred to as AGI.
  • Assets: Assets, when referenced in the FAFSA, refer to income, checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, trusts, material goods, and investment or vacation real estate. Does not include your primary residence or retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401Ks, under FAFSA assets.
  • Award year: The period of time between fall term and the end of the following summer session.
  • Accrued interest: Interest that accumulates on the unpaid balance of your loan.
  • Borrower: Person responsible for repaying a loan who has agreed to the terms and signed a promissory note.
  • Budget: A financial plan that helps you track your money, make informed spending decisions and plan for your financial goals.
  • Campus-based programs: Collective term that refers to the Federal Work-Study program and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG).
  • Capitalizing interest: Adding unpaid, accumulated interest to the loan principal, increasing the total loan cost.
  • Central processing system (CPS): The system that receives your need-analysis data. The CPS calculates your official expected family contribution (EFC).
  • Consolidation: The process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan.
  • Cost of attendance (COA): Your anticipated expenses to attend college, which includes tuition; fees; housing; food; transportation; books and supplies; personal expenses; and other costs depending on individual circumstances.
  • Credit Bureau: An organization that tracks and reports your credit, including your history of paying bills, and calculates your ability to repay future loans. For example, if you default on a student loan, it is reported to a credit bureau, and other lenders may be less likely to extend credit to you in the future.
  • Custodial parent: When parents are divorced or separated, the parent with the student lived with the most time in the past year is considered the custodial parent and the parent who fills out the FAFSA.
  • Default: Failure to repay a loan according to the terms of the promissory note. For a loan repayable in monthly installments, a loan is in default after 270 days of no payment.
  • Deferment: Also known as “In School Deferment,” it is the temporary postponement of loan payments for a limited period of time. Deferments, allowed for specific borrower activities, extend the loan repayment period by the length of the deferment period. Requires half-time enrollment to be eligible.
  • Delinquency: This occurs when loan payments are late or missed, as specified in the terms of the promissory note and the selected repayment plan.
  • Dependent student: Meets any one of the criteria as defined by the federal government: born before the date listed on that specific year’s FAFSA; not married; has undergraduate status; does not have legal dependents other than a spouse; is not an orphan or ward of the court (or was not a ward of the court until age 18); and is not a veteran. Dependent students must report their parents' income on their financial aid applications.
  • Direct costs: All charges assessed by, and paid to, the University, including tuition and fees. This may include books charged through the S&T Bookstore, room and board for those students living on campus, and other fees charged to students.
  • Direct Loans: A federal loan program established by the Student Loan Reform Act of 1993 that provides loans directly to students from the federal government at a variable interest rate. You pay an origination fee on the gross amount borrowed. Loans may be either need or non-need based.
  • Direct Loan Servicing Center: The U.S. Department of Education's agent contracted to collect Direct Loans and handle deferments, repayment options and consolidations. Call them toll-free at 1-800-848-0979.
  • Disbursement: The release of financial aid funds to individual student accounts. Funds are disbursed when the student's financial aid file is complete, registration is verified, and all other requirements have been met.
  • Disbursement date: Date federal student aid funds were credited to a student's account at a school or paid to the student or borrower directly, as reported by the school.
  • Discharge: The release of borrowers from obligations to repay their Direct Loans when they have met certain conditions, such as total and permanent disability.
  • Disclosure statement: A statement of the actual cost and terms of the loan, including interest rate and additional finance charges.
  • Enrollment status: Academic workload (or course load), as defined by the institution, in which a student is enrolled for a defined academic period. Reported by the school the student attended and indicates whether the student is (or was) full-time, three-quarters time, half-time, less than half-time, withdrawn, graduated, etc.
  • Entrance counseling: Counseling session that borrowers must complete before receiving their first loan disbursements. See our loan repayment page.
  • Exit counseling: Counseling session that borrowers must complete any time they graduate from a program or drop below half-time enrollment status. See Loan Counseling. 
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC): An eligibility index that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. The EFC is calculated according to a formula specified in law and is based upon the information provided by the student and their family on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • FAFSA: See definition for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid".
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan: Loan funds provided to graduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. This federal loan program allows graduate students with no adverse credit history to apply for a loan amount up to their Cost of Attendance each year, less any other financial aid received. 
  • Federal Direct Plus Loan Program (PLUS): Loan funds provided to the parents of dependent undergraduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. This federal loan program allows parents with no adverse credit history to apply for a loan amount up to the Cost of Attendance each year, less any financial aid received by the dependent student. Repayment of principal and interest begins immediately once the loan is fully disbursed with some options to delay payment available.
  • Federal Direct Subsidized student loan: Loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. Undergraduate students with financial need can qualify for a subsidized loan. The government pays the interest on the loan while the student remains enrolled at least half time and during certain periods when the government allows deferment of repayment. There are annual limits on the amounts that may be borrowed, which vary by the student's academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized student loan: Loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. Undergraduate students and graduate students regardless of their need, qualify for an unsubsidized loan, provided they have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Interest accrual begins immediately, and the student can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or upon entering repayment. There are annual limits on the amounts that may be borrowed, which vary by the student's academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.
  • Federal Pell Grant: A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. A federal grant provided by the federal government to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have an Expected Family Contribution below a certain threshold established by the federal government. The Pell Grant award amount is prorated based on Enrollment Status.
  • Federal Student Aid: Financial aid from the federal government to help pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school. Grants, loans and work-study are types of federal student aid. The FAFSA must be completed to apply for this aid.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): A federal grant awarded by the institution to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients.
  • Federal Work-Study: A federal program offered and administered by the institution that provides opportunity for part-time employment to students with financial need to help pay their educational expenses. Funds are paid out through a paycheck, as earned.
  • Financial aid: Financial assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, employment opportunities, and education loans from federal, state, University and private sources.
  • Financial Aid Award Letter: A letter to you from Missouri S&T that lists the types and amounts of aid offered.
  • Financial Aid Office: The office at a college or university responsible for making financial aid award decisions and communicating with and assisting students and families.
  • 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: An arrangement to postpone or reduce a borrower's monthly payment amount for a limited and specified period, or to extend the repayment period. The borrower is charged interest during a forbearance. A forbearance is usually granted at the discretion of the lender to borrowers ineligible for a deferment.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The federal form that must be completed annually for a student to be considered for all federal financial aid funds. The FAFSA consists of numerous questions regarding the student's finances, as well as those of his/her family; these are entered into a formula that determines the EFC (Estimated Family Contribution).
  • 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.
  • Full-time student: An undergraduate student taking a minimum of 12 credits per term or a graduate student taking a minimum of 9 credits per term.
  • Gift Aid: Funds awarded to the student that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain criteria, such as a service requirement that is specified as a condition of the gift aid or not completing the period for which the aid was awarded. Gift aid can include awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, awards, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based upon many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic, musical, and/or theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups, and/or career aspirations.
  • Grace period: The time period between the time borrowers leave school or drop below half-time study and the time they must begin repaying their loans, usually six months, depending on the type of loan.
  • Grants: Educational funds (Gift Aid) that do not require repayment from present or future earnings. The Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required to be eligible for state and federal grants. To be eligible for grants, complete the FAFSA by the annual February 1st deadline.
  • Half-time student: An undergraduate student taking at least 6 credit hours per term or a graduate student taking at least 5 credit hours per term during the academic year.
  • In-state tuition: The tuition charged by institutions to those students who meet the state’s or institution’s residency requirements.
  • Income: Amount of money received from any or all of the following: wages; interest; dividends; sales; rental of property or services; business or farm profits; certain welfare programs; disability; inheritance; gambling or contest winnings; retirement benefits; and other types of taxable and nontaxable income.
  • Independent Student: A student who meets any of the following criteria:
    • Born before January 1 of the year indicated on that particular FAFSA
    • A graduate or professional student
    • Married
    • Has children or legal dependents
    • On active duty or considered a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
    • An orphan or ward of the court
    • Considered an Emancipated Minor (by court decision)
    • Under Legal Guardianship (by court decision)
    • Homeless or at risk of being homeless
    Independent students report only their own income and assets (and those of a spouse) when applying for financial aid. Parents of independent students are not eligible for Direct PLUS Loans.
  • Indirect costs: Estimated expenses in the cost of attendance that are NOT paid directly to the institution (i.e.-student living off campus)
  • Interest rate: The cost of borrowing money. Student loan interest rates are generally lower than standard loan rates. This rate may be fixed or variable.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG): A federal grant to qualifying students with a parent or guardian who died as a result of U.S. military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. If a student is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, he or she cannot receive an IASG.
  • Legal dependent (for dependency determination): A child or other person (other than a spouse) who lives with and receives more than half of his or her support from the student and will continue to receive that support during the school year.
  • Legal guardian: A court-appointed individual whose guardianship responsibilities include using personal financial resources to support the person in his or her charge.
  • Lender: An entity offering loans to students; it can be a private company or bank, the government (Direct Loans) or an educational institution.
  • Less than half-time student: An undergraduate taking less than 6 credit hours per term or graduate student taking less than 5 credits per term. Students enrolled less than half-time are ineligible for financial aid under most circumstances.
  • Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU): The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds a student has received over his or her cumulative enrollment. Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant is limited by federal law and is limited to the equivalent to six years of funding for full-time study. Once this limit is reached a student is no longer eligible for Federal Pell Grant funds.
  • Loan: A form of financial aid that must be repaid. May have varying fees, interest rates, repayment terms, and/or borrower protections.
  • Loan Counseling: Counseling sessions that borrowers must complete before receiving their first loan disbursements (entrance counseling) and again before leaving school (exit counseling). Counseling ensures students know their rights and responsibilities when borrowing a loan at the time they borrow and before they enter repayment.
  • Loan Servicer: A company that collects payments, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a federal student loan on behalf of a lender. If you're unsure of who your federal student loan servicer is, you can look it up in "My Federal Student Aid."
  • Master Promissory Note (MPN): A legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education (Direct Loans). Additional Promissory Notes may be required for private loans.
  • Merit-based aid: Assistance that is awarded because of a student's achievements or talent in a particular area, such as academics or athletics.
  • National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS): NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education’s database for federal student financial aid where you can find out about the aid you’ve received. If you’ve only just applied for aid, you won’t find any information on NSLDS yet. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, and U.S. Department of Education programs. You can access NSLDS at nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/
  • Need: The difference between Missouri S&T cost of attendance and a student's (and family's) ability to pay. Ability to pay is represented by the EFC.
  • Net Price Calculator: A tool that allows current and prospective students, families and other consumers to estimate the net price of attending a particular college or career school. See the net price calculator for freshmen or the net price calculator for transfer students.
  • Origination fee: A fee charged by the federal government and deducted from the loan proceeds before disbursement to help reduce the cost of supporting low-interest loans. Currently assessed on Direct Loans.
  • Out-of-Pocket Cost: The difference between the cost of attendance and just the grants and scholarships and other gift aid in the need-based financial aid package. It reflects the bottom line cost to the family, the amount the family will need to pay out of current and future resources, such as savings, income and loans.
  • Out-of-state tuition: The tuition charged by institutions to those students who do not meet the institution’s or state’s residency requirements.
  • Overaward: A situation in which the student's financial aid exceeds the calculated financial need or Cost of Attendance. Federal and state student aid programs do not allow overawards.
  • Prepayment: Any amount paid on a loan by the borrower before it is required to be paid under the terms of the promissory note. There is no penalty for prepaying principal or interest on Direct Loans.
  • Principal: Amount a person borrows (which may increase as a result of capitalized interest) and the amount on which interest is paid.
  • Repayment schedule: A statement provided by the lender or servicer of a loan to the borrower that lists the amount borrowed, the amount of monthly payments and the date payments are due.
  • Room and Board: An allowance for the cost of housing and food while attending college. Room and Board average costs are usually based on the average cost for a student living on-campus even if the student lives off-campus.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): The academic standard, as determined by Missouri S&T, in compliance with federal regulations that a student must meet to continue receiving financial aid. See our policies and procedures for more information.
  • Scholarships: A form of financial aid (Gift Aid) that does not have to be repaid. Scholarships are often restricted to students in specific courses of study or with academic, athletic or artistic talent. Schools, non-profit organizations and private entities award scholarships.
  • Selective Service Registration: Males (and students who were born male) ages 18 to 25 must register for the military draft in order to qualify for federal financial aid.
  • Servicer: See Loan Servicer
  • Student Aid Report (SAR): The notification to the student of the results of processing the FAFSA.
  • Taxable Income: Income earned from wages, salaries, and tips, as well as interest income, dividend income, business or farm profits, and rental or property income.
  • Three-quarters-time student: An undergraduate student taking 9-11 credits per term or a graduate student taking 6-8 credits per term.
  • Unmet Need: Schools can’t always provide each student with the difference between their ability to pay and the cost of attending the institution. When schools award less financial aid than the student needs, the gap is called “unmet need.” (cost of attendance minus EFC, less any need-based aid received (gift aid, FWS or loans)
  • Variable interest: Rate of interest on a loan that is tied to a stated index and changes at intervals specified in the promissory note.
  • Verification: A federally mandated process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by selected applicants on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To complete the verification process, the student, their parent(s), or spouse, if applicable, are required to provide certain documents to the school for review. If the documentation the student provides the institution doesn't match what was reported on the FAFSA, verification can result in changes to the student's financial aid eligibility, and/or financial aid offers.
  • Veteran: see Policies and Procedures for definition of Veteran for Financial Aid Purposes
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program: Full name of the Direct Loan Program. The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program comprises three loan programs: Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans (collectively referred to as Direct Loans), Direct Plus Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.