Glossary of Terms
Cost of Attendance (COA)
The estimated cost of attending Miami for one academic year. The COA is based on direct and indirect costs. Please visit Explanation of Fees for more information.
- Direct Costs: Charges billed by Miami that are included in the Cost of Attendance that the student/family pays directly to Miami.
- Instructional Fee
- Non-Resident Surcharge
- General Fees
- Career Development Fee
- Program and Course Fees
- Student health insurance costs
- Indirect Costs: Estimated expenses in the Cost of Attendance that are not paid directly to Miami.
- Books and Supplies
- Housing – rent and utilities for off-campus living
- Miscellaneous living expenses (laundry, clothing, reasonable recreation, personal hygiene)
- Other costs specific to certain student circumstances related to attendance, such as dependent care during periods of class attendance or study, expenses related to disabilities, study abroad, educational loan fees, and others.
The aid payment process, which typically happens around the time classes start in the form of a credit to the student's account. Please visit Disbursements for Miami’s disbursement dates.
A deferment is a temporary postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest generally doesn’t accrue on certain types of subsidized loans.
These forms of financial aid must be repaid. Educational loans have varying fees, interest rates, repayment terms, and/or borrower protections.
- Federal Student Loan: Federal funds made available to the student that must be paid back by the student. Students must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive these loans. Repayment begins six months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time with options to delay payment available. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program of study. There are three types of Federal Student Loans:
- Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan: These are loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. Undergraduate students with financial need can qualify for a subsidized loan, provided they have filed the FAFSA. The government pays the interest on the loan while the student remains enrolled at least half time and during certain periods when the government allows deferment of repayment. There are annual limits on the amounts that may be borrowed, which vary by the student’s academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan: These are loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. Undergraduate students and graduate students, regardless of their need, may qualify for an unsubsidized loan, provided they have filed the FAFSA. Interest accrual begins immediately, and the student can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or upon entering repayment. There are annual limits on the amount that may be borrowed, which vary by the student’s academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.
- Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: These are loan funds provided to graduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. This federal loan program allows graduate students with no adverse credit history to apply for a loan amount up to their Cost of Attendance each year, less any other financial aid received.
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan (PLUS): PLUS loans are funds provided to the parents of dependent undergraduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. This federal loan program allows parents with no adverse credit history to apply for a loan amount up to the COA each year, less any financial aid received by the dependent student, provided they have filed the FAFSA. Repayment of principal and interest begins immediately once the loan is fully disbursed with some options to delay payment available. Parents of dependent students may apply for this loan at StudentAid.gov.
- Private Loan: A student or parent loan from a commercial, state-affiliated or institutional lender used to pay for up to the annual Cost of Attendance, less any financial aid received. Private loans have varying interest rates, fees and repayment options and usually require the applicant to be creditworthy, or have a creditworthy cosigner. Repayment generally begins immediately.
Level of the degree-granting program in which a student is enrolled. Program levels may include: undergraduate (students seeking an associate degree, an undergraduate certificate, or a baccalaureate degree); post-baccalaureate (such as teacher certification); or graduate (students working on a master's degree, graduate certificate, doctorate, or professional degree). The amounts and types of financial aid for which a student is eligible is determined, in part, by their program level.
Academic workload (or course load), as defined by Miami, in which you are enrolled for a defined academic period. This normally relates to the number of credit hours you take during a semester. Miami’s enrollment status criteria is as follows:
|Enrollment||Undergraduate (credit hours)||Graduate (credit hours)|
|Less than 1/2 time||Less than 6||Less than 5|
Entrance counseling explains the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of borrowing a Direct Loan. Topics include: Understand Your Loans, Manage Your Spending, Plan to Repay, Avoid Default and Make Finances a Priority.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
An eligibility index that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend college. The EFC is calculated according to a formula specified in law and is based upon the information provided by the student and their family on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).Your EFC is the same no matter which school you attend.
Federal Pell Grant
A federal grant provided to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have an Expected Family Contribution below a certain threshold established by the federal government. The award amount is prorated based on Enrollment Status. Students must complete a FAFSA each year for consideration.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
A federal grant awarded by the institution to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients. Students must complete a FAFSA each year for consideration.
A federal program offered and administered by Miami that provides opportunity for part-time employment to students with financial need to help pay their educational expenses. Students are responsible for finding qualified employment. Funds are paid out through a paycheck, as earned. Students must complete a FAFSA each year for consideration.
A Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, both financial and academic. FERPA limits release of student record information without the student's written consent; however, it also gives the student's parent(s)/guardian(s) the right to review those records, without the student’s consent, if the parent(s)/ guardian(s) claim the student as a dependent on their Federal Income Tax Return.
The student's Cost of Attendance minus their Expected Family Contribution.
Funds awarded to the student that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain criteria, such as a service requirement that is specified as a condition of the Gift Aid or not completing the academic term for which the aid was awarded. Gift Aid includes grants, scholarships, remissions, awards, waivers, etc. Gift Aid can be awarded based on many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic, musical, and/or theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups, and/or career aspirations.
Gift Aid that is typically based on financial need. Most federal and state grants are need-based aid and do not need to be repaid. Students must complete a FAFSA each year for consideration.
A loan expense charged for the use of borrowed money. Interest is paid by a borrower to a lender. The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount of the loan.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG)
A federal grant to qualifying students with a parent or guardian who died as a result of U.S. military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. If a student is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, he or she cannot receive an IASG.
A legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s).
Amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all Gift Aid is applied. Net price can be covered through a variety of sources, including: savings, income, payment plans, and education loans.
The authority of a school's financial aid administrator to make adjustments to the data elements on the FAFSA and to override a student's dependency status.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory academic progress is the process a school uses to determine if a student is meeting all of his or her educational requirements and is on target to graduate on time with a degree or certificate. This process may vary across schools. Please visit Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards for more information.
Scholarships are a type of Gift Aid that are typically based on merit, such as academic excellence, talent, affiliation with various groups, career aspirations, or a combination of merit and need.
Self-help is your contribution toward your education using a combination of loans, student employment such as Federal Work-Study, and/or savings.
Student Loan Acknowledgment
An acknowledgment that you understand your responsibility to repay your federal loan. If you have existing federal loans, you are acknowledging that you understand how much you owe and how much more you can borrow. The Acknowledgment must be completed each year you accept a new federal loan. Parents borrowing a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan (PLUS) will also need to complete the Loan Acknowledgment.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
Federal grants for undergraduate and graduate students, awarded in exchange for specific future teaching service in designated high-need fields and low-income elementary and secondary schools. If a student does not complete the required teaching service, the grant becomes a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan that must be repaid.
The student's Cost of Attendance, minus their Expected Family Contribution, less any need-based aid received, such as Gift Aid, Federal Work-Study or Federal Direct Subsidized Loans.
A federally mandated process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by selected applicants on the FAFSA. To complete the verification process, the student, their parent(s), or spouse, if applicable, are required to provide certain documents to the school for review. If the documentation the student provides Miami doesn’t match what was reported on the FAFSA, verification can result in changes to the student’s financial aid eligibility, and/or financial aid offers.