Key Financial Aid Terms
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Key Financial Aid Terms

Academic year—At Mount Mary, the academic year consists of two semesters—fall and spring. A summer session is available at Mount Mary, but financial aid for the summer session is handled differently than for the fall and spring semesters.

Aid year/award year—The time period in which you can use the financial aid awarded.

Alternative loan—An education loan program offered by a private lender (such as a bank or credit union) to supplement federal and state loan programs. These loans often are credit-based.

Award letter—The official letter or notice you receive from Mount Mary each year that informs you of the total amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.

Cost of attendance—The total cost of attending a university for an entire academic year.

Credit-based—Some loans are credit-based. Credit-based means that the loan decision will be based on your credit score and credit history.

Delinquent—If you fail to make loan repayments on time, you may be considered delinquent and late fees may be charged.

Dependent—If you are single and dependent on your parents for financial support, you are considered a dependent for financial aid purposes.

Disbursement—The amount of federal student loan money that Mount Mary pays out by applying the funds to your university bill or by paying the borrower directly. Mount Mary’s financial aid disbursement is in September (for fall semester) and February (for spring semester) each year.

Entrance/exit counseling—These are counseling sessions you are required to complete before receiving your first loan disbursement and before leaving school.

Expected family contribution (EFC)—The amount of money you and your family are expected to contribute to your education, calculated based on the information provided on the FAFSA. This number is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

FAFSA—The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form you must fill out and submit annually to determine your financial need.

FAFSA code—Each university has a code you need to fill in so your FAFSA will be sent to the school. Mount Mary’s FAFSA code is: 003869 .

Federal student aid PIN—The personal identification number you will need to use to file the FAFSA and access your financial aid information on federal websites.

Fees—Fees are an additional cost each semester to help cover the cost of student activities, laboratory equipment, computer equipment, classroom technology and other items not covered in tuition.

Financial aid—Financial aid encompasses grants, loans, scholarships and work-study provided to students to help make a college education affordable.

Financial aid counselor—A Mount Mary staff member who works in the Financial Aid Office and helps students understand the process of applying for financial aid and understand financial aid award packages.

Financial aid early estimator—A free service Mount Mary provides in December each year to prospective students who intend to enroll as a full-time undergraduate student the following year. By filling out a form, you can receive an early estimate of financial aid and scholarships you may qualify to receive.

Financial aid package—The information sent to you by Mount Mary that explains the types and total amounts of financial aid offered to help you pay for college.

Financial need—The difference between cost of attendance and expected family contribution.

Full-time enrollment—At Mount Mary, full-time enrollment status means you are enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester if you are an undergraduate and at least 6 credits per semester if you are a graduate student.

Grace period—The period of time when you are not required to make loan payments. This period typically is between after you leave school, graduate or drop below half-time enrollment status and the day before the repayment period begins.

Graduate assistantship—An on-campus, part-time job for graduate students. Graduate students are paid for their work by receiving a stipend, an hourly wage or tuition reduction.

Grants—Money offered by Mount Mary, the state, federal government or other organizations to meet a student’s need—reward, merit or both—that does not need to be repaid.

Half-time enrollment—At Mount Mary, half-time enrollment status means an undergraduate student is enrolled in 6 credits each semester or graduate student is enrolled in 3 credits each semester. Half-time enrollment status is the minimum credit hours you need to enroll in in order to be eligible for a federal student loan.

Independent—If you are over age 24, are married or have children/dependents, you are considered independent for financial aid purposes.

Interest rate—The percentage charged when you borrow money.

Institutional aid—Financial aid provided by Mount Mary.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool—A secure online, timesaving tool to transfer your tax return information directly onto electronic IBR/Pay As You Earn/ICR Request. 

Lender—The financial institution from which you borrow money.

Loan—Financial assistance that you must repay with interest over time once you leave school or graduate.

Loan consolidation—A loan program that allows you to combine various education loans into one new loan. It may extend the repayment period and allow a single monthly payment, making repayment easier for some borrowers.

Loan default—Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to; this usually involves missing several payments. Your lender is required to report the default to at least one national credit bureau.

Loan deferment—This allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your federal loans. Depending on the type of loan, interest may or may not continue to be accrued.

Loan forbearance—This allows you to temporarily stop making payments or reduce your federal student loans’ monthly payment. Interest will continue to accrue on your loans. The lender must authorize this temporary payment stoppage.

MyFinancialAid—A tab on MyMountMary that lets you see your financial aid award information, accept or decline your financial aid award, and more while you are a student at Mount Mary.

Net Price Calculator—A tool that all universities are required to have on their website to calculate an estimate of the true cost of attendance. Mount Mary’s Net Price Calculators provide information on financial aid and scholarship awards you may qualify for and how it affects the amount you will pay to attend Mount Mary.

Origination fee—A fee charged for each federal loan you receive; the fee is a percentage of the total amount of the loan you are borrowing.

Pell Grant—A federal, need-based grant to help students pursuing an undergraduate degree. The Pell Grant does not have to be repaid.

Principal—The loan amount you borrow.

Promissory note—A legal document in which you promise to repay a loan and any accrued interest and fees to the lender. You are required to sign a Master Promissory Note the first time you take out a federal direct loan.

Repayment schedule—Details about your monthly payment, interest rate, total repayment obligation, due dates and length of time for repaying a loan.

Room and board—The cost of housing and food while living on campus.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)—Mount Mary and federal regulations require you to make satisfactory progress toward earning your degree to remain eligible for financial aid.

Scholarship—A financial aid award from Mount Mary or another organization that doesn’t need to be repaid. Scholarships are given for academic achievement, outstanding talents in a specific area or other qualifications such as student need. Mount Mary offers several scholarships, but you also should check with your high school, community organizations and professional organizations in the academic area you plan to study to learn about additional scholarship opportunities.

Subsidized loan—A federal loan awarded based on financial need. The federal government pays interest while you are enrolled at least half time.

Student Aid Report (SAR)—A summary of the information you submit on the FAFSA that provides you with your expected family contribution (EFC).

Tuition—The sum of money a university charges to cover the cost of teaching/instruction.

Tuition discount—A reduced tuition rate or percentage off of the published tuition rate.

Tuition reimbursement—Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs, meaning they will reimburse you for a portion of the tuition cost after you successfully complete a course. Check with your or your parents’ employer(s) to see if they offer reimbursement and learn the requirements for reimbursement.

Unsubsidized loan—A loan awarded regardless of financial need. Interest accrues on this loan while you are attending school.

Verification—The process to confirm the accuracy of the information provided on your FAFSA. You or your parents may be required to submit documentation to support information in your FAFSA.

Work-study—Provides part-time employment to undergraduate and graduate students to help with college expenses. Students who qualify for federal work-study are given priority when applying for a student job on campus.