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: Financial Aid : Financial Aid Glossary

Financial Aid Glossary

Award Letter
This document is issued through your SWORDS account by the Office of Financial Aid. It lists all the amounts, sources, and types of aid in your financial aid package. For more information about viewing and receiving your awards please visit the SWORDS instructions.
This is when your HOPE eligibility is evaluated. For current HOPE recipients, checkpoints occur every 30, 60, 90 credit hours attempted and every spring semester. For students wishing to be evaluated for HOPE, they may request to do so after attempting 30, 60, or 90 credit hours, but not every spring. For more information regarding HOPE, please review the HOPE information.
Consortium Agreement
These agreements explain terms, conditions, and responsibilities of transient students either attending Middle Georgia State as a transient student or an Middle Georgia State student attending another institution. Please note that consortium agreements do not serve as payment and your host school may demand payment prior to the Middle Georgia State disbursement. Click here for more information for Transient students.
Cost of Attendance
Often referred to as COA, the cost to attend school, including tuition and fees, books, supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal and miscellaneous expenses. The COA is determined by MGA and SGA (Student Government Association) using federal guidelines. The COA is NOT a bill; it is an estimate of potential expenses.
The status of a loan when payment is 270 days (9 months) late. If this happens the lender can declare the entire amount owed, including interest, as immediately due and payable. Defaults are reported to credit bureaus and can stay on your credit record for seven years. If you have defaulted on a federal student loan, you may not be eligible to receive any additional federal financial aid.
The option to postpone repayment for a period of time, under certain conditions, with permission from the lender. If you are an eligible half-time student, your loans are automatically deferred.
Direct Loan/Federal Direct Loan Program
Fixed rate education loans that are provided for undergraduate and graduate students attending college in an eligible program at least half time. These loans may be deferred while the student is attending school at least half time and they adhere to annual and aggregate loan limits set forth by the Department of Education. For more information, please review our Loans information page.
When financial aid funds are applied to your account. This is reflected on your SWORDS account.
Education Loans
Money borrowed by a student or parent from a lender from the Federal government to fund post-secondary education; these require repayment with interest. For more information, please read our Loans information page.
EFC - Expected Family Contribution
Amount considered reasonable for your family to contribute to your education expenses according to the FAFSA calculations which are determined by the Federal Department of Education.
Entrance Counseling
Online counseling that assists you in understanding your repayment rights and responsibilities, options for repayment, and debt management skills when applying for a Direct loan. Completing Entrance Counseling is a federal requirement. This may be completed at
Exit Counseling
Online counseling that reminds you of your repayment rights and responsibilities, options for repayment, and debt management skills when graduating or dropping below a half-time status. Completing Exit Counseling is a federal requirement. This may be completed at
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid
An online form completed by students and parents or legal guardians to apply for federal aid, along with some state programs. Visit the FAFSA website at
Federal Financial Aid
Money offered by the federal government to assist eligible students in funding their post-secondary education. Federal Financial Aid includes some scholarships, grants, and all Direct loans.
A fixed sum charged to your account for services offered. For more information regarding Tuition & Fees, please visit Bursar.
Financial Need
The difference between the student's Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
A period of time when you're allowed to postpone or temporarily reduce the amount of your loan payment due to temporary financial hardship. For more information, contact your lender.
Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. To obtain or read more information, visit
Grace Period
A feature of Federal Loans that gives you six months after you leave school or drop below half-time status before you must start making monthly payments on your loan. If you choose to let the interest on your Unsubsidized loan accrue, the interest and principal payments will begin at the end of your grace period.
Money available to eligible students based upon financial need, past academic performance, service to the community or special areas of study. Grants do not require repayment.
For all undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, limited-graduate, and provisionally-admitted graduate students, half-time is at least six credit hours. For all regularly-admitted graduate students, half-time is at least three credit hours.
HOPE - Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally
Program that is paid for by the Georgia Lottery for Education that offers Scholarships, Grants, and GED vouchers. HOPE eligibility is based on academic merit and is evaluated at specified checkpoints. For more information, please review All About HOPE.
The fee that is charged on an annual basis in exchange for lending the money. The interest rate, usually expressed as a percentage of the loan amount, may stay the same for the term of the loan (fixed rate) or it may change periodically (variable rate).
MPN - Master Promissory Note
The legal document you sign when you enter into an agreement with a lender for a Direct, Parent PLUS, or Graduate PLUS Loan. This document explains the terms and conditions of your loan and it is good for 10 years from the date you sign it. This means you may not have to sign a new application or MPN for additional loans from the same lender. You will, however, have the chance to review, reduce, or decline the loan amount on subsequent loans. To complete a MPN for a Direct, Parent PLUS, or Graduate PLUS loan, visit
Origination Fee
The fee charged by the federal government and deducted from loan proceeds prior to disbursement.
Pell Grant
This is a federal grant for students who have a low EFC and are undergraduate students. This grant pays a certain percentage based on your EFC and the number of credit hours you are enrolled.
The original amount borrowed or the amount outstanding at any time on the loan. Interest is charged on this amount.
SAP - Standard of Academic Progress
The standards of academic progress required by the Higher Education Act in order to receive federal student financial aid. These standards are determined and published by the school. The SAP appeal is found on our documents page.
SAR - Student Aid Report
Document you will receive after your FAFSA is processed. Please be sure to review this document to see if corrections need to be made to your FAFSA. Your SAR will contain your EFC.
Money for college that does not have to be repaid. The money can come from many sources including the government, community groups, schools and corporations. Awards can be based on hobbies, artistic or athletic talent, academic merit, and majors. Visit our Scholarship information page for more details.
Service Cancelable Loan
Student loans which will not have to be repaid if certain conditions are met that are agreed upon when applying for the loan. Visit our Loans information page for more details.
Special Circumstances
If your financial situation has changed dramatically since the previous fiscal year, you may complete a special circumstances application and submit supporting documentation (listed on application) to have your income reconsidered based on unemployment, change of employment status, medical reasons, loss of non-taxed income, or separation or divorce. The Special Circumstances application can be found on our forms page.
The government pays the interest on the Direct loan for you while you are in school at least half time and during your grace period.
A student taking courses at an institution other than the home institution. Permission must be granted before registration. See your academic advisor and financial aid counselor for details.
The amount charged to your account for instruction per course up to 15 credit hours. For more information regarding Tuition & Fees, please visit the Bursar.
Interest accrues on your Direct loan while you are in school. You have the option to pay on this interest while you are in school, but are not required to do so.
The process to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA is accurate. You will need to submit documentation that supports income and other information that you reported on your FAFSA.
Verification of Attendance
The process by which your instructor verifies whether or not you have been in attendance for the courses you have requested financial aid. This normally occurs during the first two weeks of the class period. Financial aid will not disburse for courses in which you are not verified in attendance.
Work Study Programs
Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. For more information, please visit our Student Employment information page.

  LAST MODIFIED: 7/6/2015