Terms to Know for Financial Aid

Terms to Know!  Learn the Lingo.

You may come across some unfamiliar terms as you start looking into and applying for financial aid. Let this glossary help you make sense of it all.

Award Year: The award year begins in August and extends through July of the next year. Funding for the Federal Pell Grant and campus-based programs (ex. Federal Work Study and SEOG) is provided on the basis of the award year.

Campus-Based Programs: These programs are:  Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work Study. These two programs are administered directly by FSU using federal guidelines.

Central Processing System (CPS or Federal Processor): The CPS is the Department's processing facility for the FAFSA application.  

Cost of Attendance: The student's cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, books, room and board, miscellaneous personal expenses, and transportation allowance. The cost of attendance is determined by the school using student surveys and guidelines established by federal law and regulation. A student's cost of attendance is compared to the expected family contribution to determine their need for aid.

Default: Failure to repay a loan in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.

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

Difference Check:  A check that a student will receive if their financial aid exceeds their institutional charges. These funds can be used for books, transportation, and personal expenses.  If the student is not living in a residence hall, the funds can also be used for room and board.

Direct Costs:   Costs charged by the institution for which students will receive a billing notification.  These costs include tuition and fees, room and board if living in a residence hall and books if charged at the FSU bookstore.  

Direct Loan:  A federal student loan, made through the Federal Direct Loan Program, for 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.

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

Disbursement:  Payment of federal student aid funds to the student by the school. Students generally receive their federal student funds in two or more disbursements.

DOE:  Abbreviation for the U.S. Department of Education

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The EFC is determined by U.S. Department of Education using the information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is based on family income, assets, the number of family members in the household, and the number of members attending college. It does not represent the amount you owe the institution.  

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.

FIPS (Fairmont Installment Payment Services):  FSU's installment plan to assist students and parents in paying the remaining of their direct costs.  The payment plan is by semester (fall and spring) and consists of up to six equal monthly payments per semester.  Payments begin one month prior to the term beginning.    

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The federal aid application used to collect household and financial information from students that are used to determine the students need for campus based programs, need based programs, grants, and non-need based programs.

Grants:  Financial aid, often based on financial need, that does not need to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund).

Grace Period:  A period of time after borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment where they are not required to make payments on certain federal student loans. Some federal student loans will accrue interest during the grace period, and if the interest is unpaid, it will be added to the principal balance of the loan when the repayment period begins.

Half-time enrollment requirement for federal loans:  Undergraduate students are considered to be half-time as long as they are enrolled for at least 6 credit hours during any term for which they are requesting federal loans.  Graduate students are considered to be half-time as long as they are enrolled for at least 5 credit hours during any term for which they are requesting federal loans.  

Indirect Costs:  Costs for which are not directly billed by the institution and for which the student will not receive a billing notification.  Costs typically vary and range from personal expenses, transportation expenses, and books if not charged to the student's account.

Interest:  A loan expense charged for the use of borrowed money. Interest is paid by a borrower to a lender.  The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount of the loan.

Lender:  The organization that made the loan initially; the lender could be the borrower's school; a bank, credit union, or other lending institution; or the U.S. Department of Education.

Master Promissory Note (MPN): A legal document which a borrower must sign detailing the terms of a loan. By signing a note, the borrower promises to repay the loan, with interest, in specified installments. The promissory note includes information about the grace period, deferment or cancellation provisions, and the student's rights and responsibilities. Master promissory notes are signed electronically at studentloans.gov.  

Private Loan:  A nonfederal loan made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency, or school.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):  Measure of a student's success with their overall GPA and completion rate as defined by the SAP policy.  The complete policy can be found at: http://www.fairmontstate.edu/finaid/resources/satisfactory-academic-prog...

Scholarships:  Money awarded to students based on academic or other achievements to help pay for education expenses.  Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid.

Student Services Center:  FSU provides students with a one stop Student Services Center that enables students to check on financial aid, billing information, student records, disability services, work opportunities, veteran services,  and international programs. 

Subsidized Loan:  A loan based on financial need for which the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status.

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: A process whereby schools check the information the student reported on the financial aid application. Schools must verify information provided by students who are selected by the Federal Central Processing System. If your application is selected, you will receive notification requesting the completion of a verification form, parental tax transcripts (if necessary) and student transcripts from the previous year.  

Work-Study:  A federal student aid program that provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses.


Net Price Calculator

Net Price Calculator
Fairmont State is pleased to provide the student aid calculator to assist you in estimating your costs to attend FSU.  Results are based on 2022-2023 Estimated Cost of Attendance figures and student aid eligibility requirements which are subject to change.  These results should assist you in determining an estimate of your out-of-pocket expense to attend Fairmont State.

Office Hours

  • Monday-Friday:  8:00 am - 4:00 pm




Contact Info

Office of Financial Aid
Turley Student Services Center
Room 303
Phone: (800) 641-5678, Opt. 2
(304) 367-4141
Fax: (304) 367-4789

School Code:  003812