Student Financial Services
Student Financial Services

Financial Aid: Managing Your Financial Aid


Alternative loans: Commercial, nonfederal loans intended for students who need extra money to help cover educational costs not met by their other financial aid. They involve a credit check, and interest rates may be higher than the government-sponsored educational loans. But they still may be a better option than other kinds of loans available to families.

Authorized payer: Someone the student has authorized (given a username and password) to make online payments on the student account and review online statements.

Budgeted cost of attendance: The annual average expense budget, which includes cost of tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, miscellaneous/personal expenses, and average loan fees. This total amount is the maximum amount of financial aid a student may receive.

Credit-balance check: When a payment to the student account, including financial aid, is higher than the amount owed, SFS will return these funds to the student, either by paper check in the mail or electronically by direct deposit.

Deferment/forbearance: The borrowerís right to postpone monthly payments on a student loan. Borrowers should check with lenders to determine eligibility.

Direct deposit: Funds transferred electronically to the studentís personal banking account.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): Financial contribution that is expected to be available to assist in the studentís education costs. It is determined by the federal methodology need-analysis formula approved by the U.S. Congress. The EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the studentís dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income and assets, and a number of other variables reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): A federal law that limits access to student information, such as the offer of financial assistance and student account details. Students may grant access to their financial aid and student account information to individuals who they feel should legitimately know this information.

Financial need: The difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution (EFC). Grants, need-based loans, work study, and scholarships count toward meeting a studentís financial need.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Application used to apply for all need-based aid, including loans, grants, work study, and non-need-based federal loans. There is no fee to file the FAFSA, but it must be completed each year to reapply.

Grace period: The period of time after graduation or dropping below half-time status before student loan repayment begins.

Grant: A type of financial aid based on financial need that the student does not have to repay.

Interest rate: Percentage rate added to the loan. Need-based loan interest is subsidized, and does not accrue while the student is enrolled at least half time, during some periods of deferment, or for most loans, during the grace period. Non-need-based loan interest accrues upon disbursement.

Loan: A type of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Interest rates and terms vary; review master promissory note (MPN) for details.

Master Promissory Note (MPN): The binding legal document that must be signed by the student or parent borrower before loan funds are disbursed by the lender. This document is always filled out with the lender providing the loan, and it serves as the signed application for that loan. It states the terms and conditions, including repayment, interest rate, deferment policy, and cancellations. The borrowers should keep this document until the loan has been repaid.

Offer of Financial Assistance: The complete collection of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study awards from all sources (federal, state, institutional, and private) offered to a student as determined from their FAFSA.

Online payments: Through Online Payments, students and authorized payers can pay charges on their student account by e-check or credit card using a contracted service called QuikPay. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted. Any payment made toward a studentís account will be reflected on the account the following business day.

Outside scholarships: A scholarship that comes from sources other than the school and the federal or state government.

Payment plans: SPU offers two different payment plans that divide a studentís remaining charges ó after all financial aid has been added to the student account ó into three equal payments per quarter:

  • Option A: Pay in full; default plan; no application/fee necessary.
  • Option B: Combined Installment Plan; equal payments are established for the entire academic year. (Application needed + $80 application fee)
  • Option C: Three-Installment Plan; equal payments are established for a specific single quarter. If a student is enrolled in Option C, they will only be on the plan for the specific quarter in which they applied. (Application needed + $40 application fee)

Priority deadlines: The date students must file the FAFSA to ensure that they will be considered for the widest variety of aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): A student must achieve this in order to continue receiving financial aid. Satisfactory Academic Progress is achieved by meeting the following academic requirements:

  • Complete (letter grade A, B, C, D, or P) at least 80 percent of all attempted credits each academic year.
  • Maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average after the second year of enrollment, and by the end of each subsequent quarter.

Scholarship: Funds for educational costs, granted to a student because of need, merit, or affiliation. These funds do not need to be repaid. SPU scholarships have individual renewal criteria.

Student account: The service through which an enrolled student receives all University charges, and by which funds can be paid on behalf of the student.

Verification: The process by which information on the FAFSA is confirmed. The federal government selects students at random to submit tax documents and other documents to the University.

Work referral: A form that notifies an employer of a studentís work-study eligibility. These forms are available in SFS.

Last Updated: 2/6/2015