Glossary of Terms
Cost of Attendance (COA)
- Direct Costs: Charges included in the COA that are paid directly to Miami
- Tuition: Charges assessed for classes and/or coursework
- Fees: Charges assessed for other University services
- E.g. Basic General Fees, Transit Fee, Student Technology Fee, Armstrong Student Center Fee, Mental Health Fee, Matriculation Fee
- Non-Resident Surcharge: Miami receives subsidy from the State of Ohio for students who are Ohio residents, and Non-Ohio residents are required to pay the Non-Resident Surcharge
- Career Development Fee: Career exploration and professional development services
- Program and Course Fees: Additional administrative fees associated with specific courses or programs
- Housing: Residence hall charges for on-campus students
- Food: The cost of a university meal plan
- Health Services Fees: Charges for student health insurance or other services related to the health center
- Indirect Costs: Estimated expenses in the COA that are not paid directly to Miami
- Transportation: An allowance which may include transportation between campus, residence, and place of work
- Books, Course Materials, Supplies, and Equipment: Estimated expenses related to books, course materials, and equipment required for a student’s program of study
- Housing: Rent and utilities for off-campus living
- Food: The cost of food prepared at home for off-campus students
- Miscellaneous Personal Expenses: An allowance for a student attending Miami on at least a half-time basis for items such as laundry, clothing, reasonable recreation, personal hygiene, etc.
- Other costs specific to certain student circumstances related to attendance, such as: dependent care, disability related expenses, study abroad expenses, federal student loan fees, etc.
The aid payment process, which typically happens around the time classes start in the form of a credit to your account. Visit our Disbursements page 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.
A form of financial aid that 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: Loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through Miami. Undergraduate students with financial need, as determined by the FAFSA, can qualify for a subsidized loan. 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: 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: 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): Loan 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 Cost of Attendance 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.
Academic workload, or course load, 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 a student agrees 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.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, both financial and academic. It limits release of your record information without your written consent. However, it also gives your parent(s)/guardian(s) the right to review those records, without your consent, if the parent(s)/ guardian(s) claim you as a dependent on their Federal Income Tax Return.
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is provided by the federal government to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have an Expected Family Contribution below a certain threshold established by the federal government. The Pell Grant award amount is prorated based on Enrollment Status. Students must complete a FAFSA each year for consideration.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
FSEOG is 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. For consideration, students must complete a FAFSA each year and indicate their interest.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
To be considered for all available need-based financial aid and scholarships, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be submitted each year. The FAFSA becomes available on October 1 each year. If you are a returning student, you have the option to renew your FAFSA. For more information about how to file the FAFSA, visit our FAFSA Tips and Tutorial page.
Funds awarded that do not have to be repaid, unless you fail 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 need. Most federal and state grants are need-based aid and do not need to be repaid. You 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)
The IASG is 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 you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you cannot receive an IASG.
Master Promissory Note (MPN)
The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which the student/parent or guardian promises to repay their loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of their loan(s).
Your Cost of Attendance (COA) minus your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
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 or EFC.
Level of the degree-granting program in which you are enrolled. Program levels may include:
- Undergraduate: Students seeking an associate degree, an undergraduate certificate, or a baccalaureate degree
- Post-Baccalaureate: Such as teacher certification
- Graduate: Students working on a master’s degree, graduate certificate, doctorate, or professional degree.
The amounts and types of financial aid for which you are eligible is determined, in part, by your program level.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Schools use Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards to determine if you are meeting all of your educational requirements and if you are on target to graduate on time with a degree or certificate. This process may vary across schools.
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.
Refers to the financial situations (loss of a job, etc.) that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the COA or in the EFC calculation.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
TEACH Grants are 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 you do not complete the required teaching service, the grant becomes a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan that must be repaid.
Your Cost of Attendance, minus your Expected Family Contribution, less any need-based aid received, such as Gift Aid, Federal Work-Study or Federal Direct Subsidized Loans.
Refers to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation (e.g., human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental abandonment, incarceration), more commonly referred to as a dependency override.
A federally mandated process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by selected FAFSA applicants. To complete the federal 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 provided to 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.
Contact the One Stop
The One Stop assists Miami students and authorized family members with billing and payment, financial aid, registration, and student records.