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Academic year: the measure of the academic work to be accomplished by a student each year as defined by the University, which has two semesters that contain at least 30 weeks of instructional time in which a full-time student is expected to complete at least 24 semester credits.

Award year: the period of time between fall term and the end of the following summer session.

Accrued interest: interest that accumulates on the unpaid balance of your loan.

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Borrower: person responsible for repaying a loan who has agreed to the terms and signed a promissory note.

Campus-based programs: collective term that refers to the Federal Work-Study program and Federal Perkins Loan.

Capitalizing interest: adding unpaid, accumulated interest to the loan principal, increasing the total loan cost.

Central processing system (CPS): the system that receives your need analysis data. The CPS calculates your official expected family contribution (EFC).

Cost of attendance (COA): your anticipated expense to attend college. Includes tuition, fees, housing, food, transportation, books and supplies, personal expenses, and other costs, depending on individual circumstances.

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Default: failure to repay a loan according to the terms of the promissory note. For a loan repayable in monthly installments, a loan is in default after 270 days of no payment.

Deferment: also know as “In School Deferment” is the temporary postponement of loan payments for a limited period of time. Deferments, allowed for specific borrower activities, extend the loan repayment period by the length of the deferment period.

Delinquency: this occurs when loan payments are late or missed, as specified in the terms of the promissory note and the selected repayment plan.

Dependent student:meets any one of the criteria as defined by the federal government: born before the date listed on that specific years FAFSA; not married; has undergraduate status; does not have legal dependents other than a spouse; is not an orphan or ward of the court (or was not a ward of the court until age 18); and is not a veteran. Dependent students must report their parents' income on their financial aid applications.

Direct costs: All charges assessed by, and paid to, the University. This includes tuition and fees. This may include books charged through the UMSL Bookstore, room and board for those students living on campus, and other fees charged to students.

Direct loans: a federal loan program established by the Student Loan Reform Act of 1993 that provides loans directly to students from the federal government at a variable interest rate. You pay an origination fee on the gross amount borrowed. Loans may be either need or non-need based.

Direct Loan Servicing Center: the U.S. Department of Education's agent contracted to collect Direct Loans and handle deferments, repayment options, and consolidations. Call them toll-free at: 1-800-848-0979.

Disbursement: the release of financial aid funds to individual student accounts; funds are disbursed when the student's financial aid file is complete and registration has been verified.

Discharge: the release of borrowers from their obligations to repay their Direct Loans when they have met certain conditions, such as permanent total disability.

Disclosure statement: a statement of the actual cost and terms of the loan, including interest rate and additional finance charges.

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Expected family contribution (EFC): a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year.

Entrance/exit counseling: counseling sessions that borrowers complete before receiving their first loan disbursements and again before leaving school.

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FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid: the federal form that must be completed annually online to be considered for all federal financial aid funds. The FAFSA consists of numerous questions regarding the student's finances, as well as those of his/her family; these are entered into a formula that determines the EFC (Estimated Family Contribution).

Federal Direct Plus Loan Program: an additional loan for parents with good credit histories who want to borrow for their dependent student. Or an additional loan for a graduate student with good credit histories who has already exceeded their federal borrowing limit for the year or for their degree. 

Federal Pell Grant:A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Pell Grant.) Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.

Federal Perkins Loan: lower interest loan for undergraduate or graduate students. Priority is given to students with exceptional financial need, as defined by UMSL.

Federal Quality Assurance Program: a program to assure that delivery of student aid funds is conducted accurately, expediently, and with integrity. Participants are student financial aid applicants selected at random.

Federal Work Study: state and federal employment programs that subsidize wages for post secondary students with financial need to help them pay for educational expenses.

Financial aid: financial assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, employment opportunities, and education loans from federal, state, and private sources.

Financial Aid Award Letter: a letter to you from the UMSL, that lists the types and amounts of aid offered and the terms and conditions of that aid.

Forbearance: an arrangement to postpone or reduce a borrower's monthly payment amount for a limited and specified period, or to extend the repayment period. The borrower is charged interest during a forbearance. A forbearance is usually granted at the discretion of the lender to borrowers ineligible for a deferment.

Federal Direct Plus Loan Program: a loan for parents with good credit histories who want to borrow for their dependent student.

Full-time student: an undergraduate student taking a minimum of 12 credits per term or a graduate student taking a minimum of 9 credits per term.

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Grants: educational funds that do not require repayment from present or future earnings. The Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required to be eligible for state and federal grants. Be make yourself most eligible for grants you need to have the FAFSA completed by the annual April 1st deadline.

Grace period: the period between the time borrowers leave school or drop below half-time study and the time they must begin repaying their loans, usually six to nine months, depending on the type of loan.

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Half-time student: an undergraduate or professional student taking at least 6 credits per term or a graduate student taking at least 5 credits per term during the academic year.

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Income: amount of money received from any or all of the following: wages, interest, dividends, sales, or rental of property or services, business or farm profits, certain welfare programs, disability, inheritance, gambling or contest winnings, or retirement benefits and other types of taxable and nontaxable income.

Independent student: must meet any one of the following criteria as defined by the federal government: born before January 1 of the year indicated on that particular FAFSA; married, with graduate or professional student status; have legal dependents other than a spouse; be an orphan or ward of the court (or have been a ward of the court until age 18); or be a veteran. Independent students report only their own income and assets (and those of a spouse) when applying for financial aid. Parents of independent students are not eligible for Direct PLUS Loans.

Interest rate: cost paid to borrow money. This rate may be fixed or variable.

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Legal dependent (for dependency determination): a child or other person (other than a spouse) who lives with and gets more than half of his or her support from the student and will continue to receive that support during the school year.

Legal guardian: a court-appointed individual whose guardianship responsibilities include using personal financial resources to support the person in his or her charge.

Lender: an entity offering loans to students; it can be a private company or bank, the government (Direct Loans), or an educational institution (Perkins Loans).

Less than half-time student: an undergraduate taking less than 6 credits per term or graduate student taking less than 5 credits per term. Students enrolled less than half-time are ineligible for financial aid under most circumstances.

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Master Promissory Note (MPN): a promissory note that can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years; currently used to make Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.

Merit-based aid: assistance that is awarded because of a student's achievements or talent in a particular area, such as academics or athletics.

Need: the difference between UMSL cost of attendance and a student's (and family's) ability to pay. Ability to pay is represented by the EFC.

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Origination fee: a fee charged by the federal government and deducted from the loan proceeds before disbursement to help reduce the cost of supporting low-interest loans; currently assessed on Direct and FFELP Loans, but not on the Perkins Loan.

Overaward: a situation in which the student's financial aid exceeds the calculated financial need. Federal student aid programs do not allow overawards.

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Prepayment: any amount paid on a loan by the borrower before it is required to be paid under the terms of the promissory note. There is no penalty for prepaying principal or interest on Stafford or Perkins Loans.

Principal: amount a person borrows (which may increase as a result of capitalized interest) and the amount on which interest is paid.

Promissory note: a legal and binding document signed by a borrower promising to repay a loan; it includes the terms and conditions for repayment.

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Repayment schedule: a statement provided by the lender or servicer of a loan to the borrower that lists the amount borrowed, the amount of monthly payments, and the date payments are due.

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Satisfactory academic progress (SAP): the academic standard, as determined by UMSL, in compliance with federal regulations, that a student must meet to continue receiving financial aid.

Scholarships: educational funds that do not require repayment from present or future earnings and are usually awarded on the basis of merit.

Servicer: a company employed by a lender to perform administrative tasks involved with loans, such as processing of deferments and collection of payments.

Student Aid Report (SAR): the notification to the student of the results of processing the FAFSA.

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Three-quarter-time student: an undergraduate student taking 9-11 credits per term or a graduate student taking 6-8 credits per term.

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Variable interest: rate of interest on a loan that is tied to a stated index and changes at intervals specified in the promissory note.

Verification: the process to confirm an individual student's application data. Students and parents must submit tax returns and other supporting documentation if asked.

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