Glossary of Terms
Aid Year (academic year):The academic year starts in the Fall, typically in August and ends in May for most students. Students who take summer courses are still counted under the same aid year for classes that run from June 1 to July 31.
Aggregate Loan Amounts: The lifetime limit on the amount of loans a student can receive in subsidized and unsubsidized loans. See the Debt Management Loan Limits page for more information.
Annual Loan Limits: The amount in loans a student is eligible for during a school year. See the Debt Management Loan Limits page for more information.
Award: The funds available to the student for the school year based on FAFSA. Used interchangeably with package (awards package). See the Awarding page for more information.
Budget: The cap placed on the amount of funds a student can receive in a school year to cover tuition, fees, and other qualifying necessities such as books and room and board. Used interchangeably with Cost of Attendance. See the Awarding Process for more information.
Cost of Attendance: The cap placed on the amount of funds a student can receive in a school year to cover tuition, fees, and other qualifying necessities such as books and room and board. Used interchangeably with budget. See the Awarding Process budget section for more information.
Default: Default occurs when a student who is required to repay their student loans fails to do so for several months and becomes delinquent. If the loan delinquency exceeds 270 days the student is considered to be in default. Default makes the loan due in full immediately. Default appears on the student’s NSLDS record and prevents the student from receiving any federal aid until the default is cleared. Clearing default requires communication between the company holding the loans and the student. It typically requires a nine (9) month consecutive payment plan.
Note: Default is damaging to a student’s credit and it can lead to the garnishment of wages, withholding of tax refunds and possible legal action.
Dependent (student): A student who is determined by federal regulations to partially or totally rely on parental support. These students are:
-under the age of 24
-not a veteran of the armed services
-do not have a child for who they provide 50% or more support.
See Student Dependency Questions for more information.
Dependent (household): Any person who the student or the student’s parents support more than 50% who also lives in the household. A child cannot be counted in the household if the student or student’s parent pays child support.
Disbursement: The delivery of funds from their source (i.e. Department of Education, banks, employers, etc.) to the institution to pay for tuition and fees with the leftovers to be given to the student. See the Disbursement page for more information.
EFC: The acronym for “Expected Family Contribution”. This is the number calculated through the FAFSA based on the student’s (and parent(s)’ when applicable) tax and other financial information. This number determines the student’s award eligibility. See the Awarding Process for more information.
Enrollment Status: Enrollment status is determined by the number of credits a student is enrolled in. The different statuses are:
- ¾ (three-quarters)-time
- Less than half-time
Please see the Enrollment and Proration Chart for more information.
Entrance Interview (Stafford): The Entrance Interview requirement is designed to educate students on the loans they are accepting, repayment of those loans, and forbearance/deferment options. If this requirement is not met, no student aid will be disbursed. Students only accepting grants are not required to do an Entrance Interview. The Entrance Interview is external to MSU Denver and financial aid. Students must go to www.studentloans.gov to complete this process.
Excess: When a student is considered in excess, NSLDS shows that the student has borrowed more than the aggregate loan amounts. Excess prevents students from receiving any federal student aid. See the Debt Management Loan Limits page for more information.
FAFSA: The acronym for “Free Application for Federal Student Aid”. Available at www.fafsa.ed.gov . This form is required to receive any federal loans or grants and certain types of work-study. It calculates the student’s need based on the prior year’s tax forms and other financial information. Some educational funding such as certain scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs do not require a FAFSA.
"Do I need my parent's information?"
FERPA: The acronym for “Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act” . This law dictates what information the institution is and is not able to release without the student’s permission. Please see the FERPA for more information.
FERPA (Office of the Registrar)
Financial Aid Suspension (separate from Academic Suspension): Financial aid suspension occurs under the SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) policy. It requires students to maintain certain criteria in order to receive or continue to receive financial aid. Please see the Satisfactory Academic Policy for Undergraduate and Graduate for more information
Grace Period: After a student graduates or otherwise falls below six (6) credit hours they enter grace period which is a series of months during which the student does not have to begin paying back their loans. It is six (6) months for Stafford loans and nine (9) months for Perkins loans. PLUS loans do not have a grace period.
Grant: Grants can be federal or private aid that, unlike loans, students are not required to pay back. These are typically need-based aid. At this time, there are not any grants available for graduate students. For a list of federal grants available and their requirements please see the Types of Aid page.
Independent (student): A student who is determined by federal regulations to support themselves without a required assistance of a parent. These students are any combination of:
- 24 years of age or older
- A veteran of the armed services
- have a child for who they provide 50% or more support.
Student Hub: Student Hub is designed to give students the convenience of being able to handle their financial aid and other administrative services without having to be on campus. From the Student Hub students are able to:
- Accept loans
- Accept terms and conditions
- Check on the status of their financial aid
- Receive important communications
Note: MSU Denver’s official means of communications is campus email. It is important to habitually check your email, which is available through Student Hub.
Need: Is the amount of funding that the student can possibly receive after EFC, awards, and resources are subtracted from the student budget. It is the “room” left over for more money to possibly pay in if the student is eligible and funds are available.
NSLDS: The acronym for “National Student Loan Data System”. Separate from the Office of Financial Aid, their website is www.nslds.ed.gov. Access to the database requires your FSA ID. The database contains federal student loan information reported by the schools.
Official Withdrawal: Official withdrawal occurs when a student formally drops all of the courses they are taking in a semester. Formally dropping classes requires the student to follow the procedures outlined by the Registrar. Official withdrawal students are required to go through Return of Funds. See the Withdrawals page for more information.
Overlapping loans: Overlap occurs when NSLDS reports that a student is attempting to take financial aid out at two different schools during the same loan period. Since students are only allowed to receive aid at one school at a time, it is their responsibility to make sure that all aid is cancelled off when they transfer out of one institution to another in the middle of an aid year. Overlapping loans prevents all federal aid from disbursing.
Transfer Students (Undergraduate)
Transfer Students (Graduate)
Package (packaging): The funds available to the student for the school year based on FAFSA. Used interchangeably with award.
Proration: Proration is the calculation of certain awards, such as grants based on the number of credits a student is enrolled in. Please see the Enrollment and Proration Chart for more information.
Professional Judgment (PJ): The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has to ability to reevaluate a student's file based on extreme or unusual situations and circumstances. Students are able fill out a PJ or "Consideration for Professional Judgment" form (available on the Forms Page). Submission of this form does not guarantee any changes or an increase of a student's financial aid.
Promissory Note: A promissory note or master promissory note (MPN) is a legally binding contract signed by the borrower agreeing to pay back any loan money borrowed as dictated by the terms and conditions outlined in the note. The promissory note is external to MSU Denver and financial aid. Students must go to www.studentloans.gov to complete this process.
Repeat Coursework (Financial Aid): MSU Denver ascribes to a Last Grade Stance policy which allows a student to replace a grade they received in a class by retaking that class. For financial aid purposes, a failed course can be repeated with financial aid coverage multiple times until a passing grade is received. Courses that have ever received a passing grade may be retaken only once more and be covered by financial aid. Any additional repeats of the course will not be eligible for financial aid. Please see the Repeat Coursework Policy for Undergraduate and Graduate for more information.
Return of Funds (ROF): Return of Title IV funds occurs when a student has officially or unofficially withdrawn from classes in the middle of the semester. ROF determines whether or not a student is required to pay back a portion of federal aid received for the semester not to exceed 50%. Professors are required to report last date of attendance for all students who fail their courses. Depending on the date specified the student may not have to pay back any of the aid they received. See the Withdrawal page for more information. See the Withdrawals page for more information.
SAP: The acronym for “Satisfactory Academic Progress”. Students are required to meet certain educational criteria in order to receive federal and institutional aid. These criteria include:
- Cumulative completion rate of 67% or above
- GPA of 2.0 or higher
- The ability to complete an undergraduate degree within 180 attempted credit hours.
SAPAP: Short for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal. It is a requirement to submit an appeal when a student fails to meet the terms outlined in the SAP policy. Students should make sure to turn in all relevant documentation and statements for the appeal process. Please see the Satisfactory Academic Policy for Undergraduate and Graduate for more information
SAR: The acronym for “Student Aid Report”. It is a summary of the information put into the FAFSA. It indicates any Pell eligibility and contains the EFC.
Subsidized Loan: Subsidized loans have interest that is “subsidized” or paid for by the federal government during the time the student is in school. Interest does not accrue or gain until after the student is out of school and out of his or her grace period. All loans are required to be repaid.
Title IV Funding: Any aid distributed by the federal government. Includes Stafford Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans, and Pell and SEOG grants.
Types of Aid
Unmet Need: There are instances when a student receives all of the aid that they are eligible for through the initial packaging, but it does not cover all of their need (COA – EFC = Need). This gap is called unmet need (COA – EFC – Award package = Unmet need).
Unofficial Withdrawal: A student is considered to have unofficial withdrawn from classes when he or she does not formally drop them. Essentially an unofficial withdrawal is when the student stops going to class and does not contact the University about formally dropping the classes. Students who unofficially withdrawal are required to go through Return of Funds. See the Withdrawals page for more information.
Unsubsidized Loan: Unsubsidized loans do not have interest “subsidized” or paid for by the federal government while the student is in school. Interest accrues while the student is in school, deferment, and grace period. Students are typically offered the opportunity to pay the interest on unsubsidized loans monthly while in school. All loans are required to be repaid.
Verification: This process ensures that all of the information reported on the FAFSA is reported correctly. It requires taxes and W-2’s, and the appropriate form to be filled out completely. No aid will disburse without the completion of a requested verification packet.