Financial Aid
Glossary

Academic Year: This is a measure of the academic work to be accomplished by a student. WVU defines our own academic year but federal regulations set minimum standards for determining financial aid awards. By federal requirement, the academic year must be at least 30 weeks of instructional time in which a full-time student is expected to complete at least 24 semester hours.

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 (such as Federal Work Study, Perkins Loans, and SEOG ) is provided to WVU on the basis of the award year.

Base Year: The base year is the calendar year preceding the award year. For instance, 2005 is the base year used for the 2006-2007 award year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) uses family income from the base year because it is more accurate and easier to verify.

Campus-Based Aid Programs: They are Federal Perkins Loan, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Federal Work Study program. These three programs are called “campus-based” because the funds are administered directly by WVU’s Financial Aid Office, which awards these funds to students using federal guidelines.

Central Processing System (CPS or The Processor): The CPS is the Department’s processing facility for application data and is currently located in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

Cost of Attendance (Also Known As Cost of Education or Student Budget): The student’s cost of attendance includes not only tuition, fees, and books, but also living expenses, such as room and board and miscellaneous personal expenses. Cost of attendance is determined by the school using 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.

The Department (or ED): Abbreviation for the U.S. Department of Education.

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

Default Rate: A percentage calculated each year for each post-secondary school based on the number of former students who have defaulted on a federal student loan received while attending that school.

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 WVU. Refer to your Student Aid Report (SAR) for your EFC.

Financial Need: The difference between the student’s cost of attendance and the expected family contribution (EFC).

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The federal aid application used to collect household and financial information from students.

Half-time Enrollment Requirement for federal loans:

NOTE: STUDENTS REQUESTING FEDERAL LOANS MUST BE REGISTERED AT LEAST HALF-TIME

Undergraduate level 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 and Professional level students (WVU Morgantown, WV students only) are considered to be half-time as long as they are enrolled for at least 4 credit hours during Fall or Spring terms or 3 credit hours during Summer term to be eligible for federal loans.

Promissory Note (Prom Note): 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. Most students now sign an electronic promissory note.

Student Aid Report (SAR): An output document mailed to the student by the Federal Processor. The SAR contains financial and other information reported by the student and the family on the FAFSA. That information is entered into a processing system and a SAR is produced. The student’s eligibility for aid is determined by using the EFC.

Verification: A procedure 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 a letter requesting documentation—generally a copy of the previous year’s tax return and a worksheet.

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