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Financial Aid Glossary

The Smart Choice

Financial aid has its own vocabulary. To help you speak or understand the language, here are the most commonly used terms and acronyms.


Academic Bankruptcy:

For financial aid purposes, hours dismissed through academic bankruptcy will count towards hours attempted/pursued but not towards grade point average except in the case of a transfer student where hours will count towards both hours attempted/pursued and grade point average.

Academic Plan:

Form completed with the student’s academic advisor as part of the financial aid appeal. The plan is a set of enrollment guidelines a student must comply with to regain good satisfactory academic progress standing.

Academic year:

For financial aid purposes, a year that starts with the Fall semester and ends with the summer semester.

Alternative loan:

Alternative loans (also known as private loans) can help to fill the gap between the cost of education and the amount of other Financial Aid offered. They are not federally guaranteed student loans.


An opportunity for students, who are ineligible to receive federal financial aid, to have their overall performance reviewed and possibly have their financial aid reinstated. Ineligible students have the right to appeal electronically based upon documented extenuating circumstances. The appeal is reviewed by the student’s academic college committee and once a decision has been finalized, a notification email will be sent immediately through the automated process.
Appeal Result terms

  • Granted Probation- student is eligible to receive financial aid for that semester.    
  • Academic Plan Approved for one, two or three terms- is a set of enrollment guidelines a student must comply with to regain good Satisfactory Academic Progress standing.  A student is eligible to receive financial aid for the number of terms specified.
  • Academic Plan Approved-Change Major- student is eligible to receive financial aid for that semester however he or she must officially change major before the next enrolled semester. Failure to apply will result in no future financial aid assistance.
  • Denied- student is not eligible to receive financial aid for that semester.



A financial services company focused solely on higher education, to offer faster delivery of refunds to students.


 See Cost of Attendance


Cost of Attendance (Budget):

The estimated total amount it will cost to attend an institution. It is determined by Financial Aid using rules established by the U.S. Congress. Cost of attendance is based on average costs incurred by students and it includes tuition, room/board, books, transportation, and personal miscellaneous expenses. This figure is used solely for the determination of financial aid and does not represent a figure you will owe McNeese.



Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to when a student signed their promissory note.

Dependent status:

Students that are not able to answer “yes” to any of the dependency questions on the FAFSA and must provide parental information. The dependency questions ask if the students is 24, married, has a dependent, is on active duty, etc.


The payment of funds from the Department of Education to McNeese.

Disbursement Date:

The date when federal student aid funds are credited to a student’s account at McNeese.



The MSU Office of Financial Aid has submitted corrections to a student’s Student Aid Report electronically. This process can take up to 5 days to complete.

Enrollment Status:

Based on the number of hours students enroll for each semester. A student’s enrollment status can affect their financial aid eligibility for certain programs.

Entrance Counseling:

A requirement for first-time borrowers to learn about the rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower completed on

Exit Counseling:

Any student that received a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan and/or a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan must complete Exit Counseling online. Completion of Exit Counseling is required each time a student leaves the university; therefore some students may complete Exit Counseling more than once.  

Expected Family Contribution (EFC):

The EFC is calculated using a federally mandated formula to determine a student’s need based on the information submitted on the FAFSA. The EFC is not the amount you are expected to pay to attend.



Free Application for Federal Student Aid; the application used to determine financial need.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG):

A need-based program for undergraduate students only and it DOES NOT have to be paid back. Every year, the Department of Education gives McNeese a specific amount of funds for FSEOG’s. This grant is awarded to eligible students on a first come, first serve basis. When total funds are awarded, there are no more FSEOG’s for that year; therefore, it is important to meet the school’s financial aid application deadlines.

Fee bill:

A document viewed online through Banner Self- Service that provides a detailed listing of all charges and credits with McNeese. Fee bills are generated about one month prior to each semester. Fee bills are not mailed. Students must pay their fee bill before the fee payment deadline.

Installment Plan:

An installment plan is offered to students attending McNeese through the Administrative Accounting office. All registration fees, including tuition, special assessments, class-related fees and meal plan charges, are eligible for the installment plan. Students are required to pay one-half of the total fee before a set deadline date and the remaining fee payment will also be due by a set deadline date. There is a $30 processing fee.

Financial Aid/Scholarship Authorization form:

This form authorizes McNeese State University to apply proceeds from their financial aid award(s) and/or scholarship(s) to pay current and/or allowable delinquent tuition and fees, parking, library fines, late fees, and past due bookstore charges. All Financial Aid recipients must complete this authorization each semester to allow the Business Office to use their financial aid award(s) to assist in covering expenses. Contact the MSU Cashier’s Office for more information.

Financial Aid Package:

An offer of financial aid that may include a combination of scholarships, grants, loans, or work study funds available on the student’s Banner Self Service.

Financial Aid Warning:

Students, except for transfer, will be put on warning status after their first semester at MSU of not maintaining SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress.) Qualified students are eligible for financial aid when on warning. No appeal is necessary. After their second consecutive semester of not maintaining SAP, their financial aid will be terminated. Not attending one or more semesters will not affect or change a student’s SAP status.

Financial Need:

The difference between your Expected Family Contribution and Cost of Attendance (budget) as determined by MSU Financial Aid.


GO Grant:

A need based state grant for Louisiana residents that are a Federal Pell Grant recipient. Also, students must be a first time freshman or 25 years of age or older and not have enrolled in credit bearing courses for at least one academic year. This grant does not have to be paid back.

Grace Period:

A period of time granted to loan borrowers during which no payment is due. Most grace periods are 6 or 9 months, depending on the type of loan.


A form of need based financial aid that does not have to be repaid or earned.


Independent status:

Students are considered independent if they can answer “yes” to one of the dependency questions on the FAFSA. These questions ask if the student is 24, married, has a dependent, is on active duty, etc. Students that are self-supporting are not necessarily considered independent.

Ineligible Courses:

Federal financial assistance can only be provided to students for courses that count toward their degree or certificate program. If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward any degree, they cannot be used to determine enrollment status.  See a complete list of ineligible courses at   

Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR):

A record produced by the Central Processing System that is sent to MSU with a student’s calculated Expected Family Contribution. The ISIR is an intuitional version of a student’s FAFSA.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool:

Allows students and/or parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA, and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS website.



A form of financial aid that must be repaid.

Loan interest rate:

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 principle amount of the loan. Interest will continue to accrue until the loan(s) has been fully repaid.


Master Promissory Note (MPN):

A legal document in which students promise to repay loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education.

Mini Session:

A fast-paced class that allow students to complete a semester’s worth of coursework and full credit in a fraction of the time. The student will be subjected to rigorous coursework and less instructional time. Most mini sessions last 4 to 8 weeks.  


National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS):

A centralized database, available at, which stores information on federal grants and loans. NSLDS contains information on how much aid a student received, their enrollment status, and their loan servicer(s). A student can access NSLDS by using their Federal Student Aid PIN.

Need-based Aid:

Aid programs that students must qualify for by demonstrating financial need. Financial need is determined based off of the FAFSA.


Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS):

PLUS loans are for parents of dependent students. Parents who do not have adverse credit history may borrow from the U.S. Department of Education, and may borrow an amount equal to the cost of education minus estimated financial assistance for each dependent student who is enrolled at least half time.

Pell Grant:

Is a need-based program which provides money to help undergraduates pay for their education after high school. For many students, these grants provide a foundation of financial aid, to which aid from other Federal and Non-Federal sources may be added. Unlike loans, grants DO NOT have to be paid back. Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to participate in this program.

Perkins Loan:

This campus-based loan program provides low-interest student loans to undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. This loan is based on evidence of a student’s ability to perform university work as well as economic need.

Personal Touch Account (PTA):

MSU Bookstore offers an interest-free, student charge account to all enrolled students.



Money you receive from MSU for any funds remaining in your student account after aid has been disbursed and all balances have been resolved.

Rejected ISIR:

When a student omits necessary information or fills out the FAFSA incorrectly. A message will appear on their Student Aid Report (SAR), telling him or her to complete and/or correct. A student will also receive an e-mail from McNeese requesting that the student submit accurate information in order for their FAFSA process to be completed. A student cannot receive financial aid until the issue is fixed.

Repeated Courses:

Courses which a student has passed with a grade of a D or better can only be repeated once in your enrollment status to count for Federal Financial Aid eligibility determination.


A student that drops ALL of his or her classes even if they had only one class. Resignations are done at the Registrar’s Office. Please be aware that there can be serious financial aid consequences if a student  withdrawals or resigns. These students may owe a refund to the Federal aid program and should inquire at the Office of Financial Aid prior to dropping or withdrawing from classes.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP):

Policy required by the Department of Education ensuring students are moving toward obtaining a degree in a timely, acceptable manner. Students must meet the university’s SAP policy in order to maintain federal financial aid eligibility.


Money awarded to students based on academic or other achievements to help pay for education expenses.  Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid. 

Student Account:

An account where financial aid is disbursed. These funds pay a student’s tuition and fees receivables owed to MSU. Funds remaining after all fees have been paid will be refunded to the student through BankMobile Disbursements.

Student Aid Report (SAR):

The report a student receives after filing out the FAFSA. This electronic document gives the student some basic information about their eligibility for federal student aid as well as listing their answers to the questions on the FAFSA.

Subsidized Loan:

A loan based on financial need for which the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is enrolled at McNeese at least half-time (6 hrs). The borrower will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during the grace period. If the interest is not paid during the grace period, the interest will be added to the loan’s principal balance.


Tax Return Transcript:

Official copy of a tax return requested from the IRS. A person can request the transcript by phone or online at Per regulations from the Department of Education, only the tax return transcript can be used for verification purposes.

Terms and Conditions:

An agreement, sent to all e-mail addresses associated with a student’s account, which explains the federal financial aid requirements and responsibilities to the student. Read through terms and conditions

TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students):

The TOPS Scholarship Program (funded by the State of Louisiana) provides scholarships to eligible students graduating from Louisiana high schools. Eligibility for this award is determined by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) in Baton Rouge.


Unsubsidized Loan:

A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.


Verification selection:

About 30 percent of students are selected for verification by the Department of Education. All students selected must provide requested documents so Financial Aid can verify the information submitted on the FAFSA is correct before the student’s financial aid eligibility can be determined.



A student that drops one or more of your classes but still retaining at least one class. Course withdrawal forms are available from a student’s academic advisor. Please be aware that there can be serious financial aid consequences if a student withdrawals or resigns. These students may owe a refund to the Federal aid program and should inquire at the Office of Financial Aid prior to dropping or withdrawing from classes.

Work Study:

A form of financial aid that must be earned through working in a student job. Work study is need-based and funds are limited.


For over 75 years, McNeese State University has been trusted and respected as an institution of innovation and academic excellence. Ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States and one of the finest regional universities in the South


For over 75 years, McNeese State University has been trusted and respected as an institution of innovation and academic excellence. Ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States and one of the finest regional universities in the South

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For over 75 years, McNeese State University has been trusted and respected as an institution of innovation and academic excellence. Ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States and one of the finest regional universities in the South