Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

  • Use this handy glossary to learn more about the financial aid terms you may come across.

    Academic Pace

    One of the three criteria used by the IUP Financial Aid Office to measure students’ satisfactory academic progress for federal student aid purposes. You can find your Academic Pace by dividing your cumulative overall passed credits by your cumulative number of overall attempted credits. To meet minimum requirements, your pace must be 67 percent or higher.

    Bursar’s Office

    At IUP, this is the office that generates student charges and then emails the bills to students’ university email accounts. Payments are made to this office. Students can also set up payment plans in this office.

    Cost of Attendance

    The cost of attending college for one academic year. The cost of attendance contains both direct costs (tuition, fees, room, and board—if living on/off campus) and indirect costs (books and supplies, personal allowance, and travel). Commuter students don’t get room and board allowances in the cost of attendance. Financial aid cannot exceed the student’s cost of attendance.

    Disbursement

    The payment of your financial aid toward your bill. It will not happen until after the drop/add period is over for the semester/term. At IUP, the drop/add period lasts for the first few days of each semester.

    Expected Family Contribution - EFC

    This is calculated by the US Department of Education from the information provided on the annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid (the FAFSA). The EFC represents what the Department of Education expects the family to contribute to the student’s cost of education. (This number may not be the amount your family is planning or able to pay. However, it is the number we must use to determine a student’s aid eligibility.) For federal aid purposes, your cost of attendance at a college, minus your EFC, equals your financial need.

    Entrance Counseling

    Electronic online loan counseling for first-time borrowers. Borrowers must complete this requirement before the school can disburse a student’s loan to their university account.

    Exit Counseling

    Electronic online loan counseling for students who have graduated or stopped their enrollment at IUP. This also allows you to update your personal contact information.

    FAFSA

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the free application students are required to complete each year, after October 1, to receive consideration for any federal grant, loan, or student employment funding in the upcoming year. You may apply online and should use the IRS DRT (data retrieval tool), if available, for accuracy and time savings.

    Financial Aid Offer Letter

    A list of the types and amounts of financial aid that you are eligible to receive for the academic year through a university.

    FSEOG

    Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. This ranges in amount, but all recipients must demonstrate eligibility for the federal Pell Grant and must have unmet financial need. Preference is given to students with no Expected Family Contributions.

    CGPA

    Cumulative Grade Point Average. It’s one of three criteria used by the IUP Office of Financial Aid to measure students’ satisfactory academic progress for federal student aid purposes. The US Department of Education requires schools to establish minimum cumulative GPA requirements that students must meet in order to continue to qualify for federal grants and loans. At IUP, undergraduate students must maintain at least a 2.0 CGPA, and graduate students must maintain at least a 3.0 CGPA.

    Loan Origination

    The process in which the Office of Financial Aid prepares and sends a student’s loan information to the US Department of Education to secure funds in the student’s name. For your Loan Origination to work, you must have an active, valid Master Promissory Note on file with the US Department of Education and have completed the Entrance Counseling.

    Maximum Timeframe

    One of the three criteria used by the IUP Office of Financial Aid to measure students’ satisfactory academic progress for federal student aid purposes. US Department of Education regulations require schools to implement procedures to ensure that students do not exceed a specific number of attempted credits, based on the length of their academic program. Example: A maximum of 180 attempted credits to earn a 120-credit degree. To calculate, take the number of credits required for a particular degree or program and multiply it by 150 percent to get the maximum attempted credits allowed to earn that degree.

    Memo

    Process in which financial aid appears as a credit against the student’s bill, prior to disbursement. This is not always active.

    Master Promissory Note (MPN)

    This must be on file with the US Department of Education before your direct loan can be disbursed to your account. Students complete their MPN online. The MPN is open-ended and will remain active for up to 10 years, meaning you don’t have to complete a new MPN every year.

    Need-Based Financial Aid

    Any federal, state, institutional, or private source of funding that requires a student to show unmet financial need. Financial need is calculated by subtracting the student’s EFC and all previously awarded aid funding from the student’s Cost of Attendance. Some need-based financial aid awards may also have additional (non-need-related) requirements.

    Package/Packaging

    The process in which the IUP Office of Financial Aid offers a student financial aid. Aid packages are visible in the Finance Section of MyIUP.

    Pell Grant

    Federal need-based grant. The application is the annual FAFSA.

    PA State Grant

    The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). It offers a need-based grant. Pennsylvania residents must complete the annual FAFSA application by May 1. They may also need to complete other forms, such as the PHEAA Supplemental Information form, in order to qualify for these funds.

    Satisfactory Academic Progress

    The US Department of Education requires schools to implement procedures to ensure that students receiving federal grants and/or loans are making progress toward earning their degree or certificate. Three criteria are evaluated each year: Cumulative Grade Point Average, Academic Pace, and Maximum Timeframe. Evaluations are typically completed in late May, after spring grades are posted. Students who fail to meet one or more of the criteria are notified by mail and email in early June.

    Sub/Unsub Loans

    Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Student loans. These are federal loans based on a student’s FAFSA data, Expected Family Contribution, and academic grade level. Students with unmet financial need qualify for the Subsidized Direct Loan. Interest does not accumulate during enrollment on this loan. Students without any financial need still qualify for the Unsubsidized Direct Loan. Interest is assessed on a quarterly basis during enrollment. Students must complete an annual FAFSA application, a one-time-only Direct Loan Master Promissory Note, and Entrance Loan Counseling to receive these funds.

    Verification

    The US Department of Education selects approximately 30 percent of IUP students for this federally mandated process. IUP is required to confirm the accuracy of the data provided on the student’s annual FAFSA application. Selected students must submit a verification worksheet and other documents, such as federal income tax return transcripts, W-2 statements, and proof of high school graduation, before federal grants and loans can be disbursed.