Financial Aid Terms



terminologyBudget/Cost of Attendance (COA)
Each institution must establish a budget that will be used to award student aid. Florida State University has budgets based on certain categories: In-State Undergraduate students, Out-of-State Undergraduate students, Commuter Undergraduate students, In-State Graduate students, Out-of-State Graduate students, Commuter Graduate students, In-State Law students, Out-of-State Law students and Medical Students. The budget (or Cost of Attendance) includes estimated costs for tuition (based on 15 credits per term), housing, food, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses (laundry, toothpaste, clothing, etc.). A student's actual expenses will vary, depending on the number of credits he/she enrolls and the individual's living expenses.

Default is failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed upon when you signed a promissory note. Default also may result from failure to submit requests for deferment or cancellation on time. The consequences of default are severe (i.e. garnishing of wages, bad credit, garnishing of tax refunds, etc.).


  • Tuition deferment: An extension of time to pay tuition due to the university. This must be granted by the university before the initial tuition deadline each term. Students must verify that tuition is paid or deferred by the tuition deadline. Failure to pay or defer tuition will result in a $100 late fee and possible cancellation of registration.
  • Loan Deferment: A period of time during which a borrower who meets certain criteria may suspend loan payments.

Disbursement is the application of funds to the student's account. If funds are remaining after university charges are paid, then the student will have a disbursement to them by either electronic funds transfer to the FSU Card/Bank Account.

Eligible non-citizen
Per federal guidelines, eligible non-citizens include:

  • U.S. nationals
  • U.S. permanent residents who hold either a I-151, I-551 or I-551 C card or holders of I-94 forms with a notation of Refugee/ Asylum Granted/ Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending or conditional Entrant (if issued before April 1, 1980), or Parolee (if paroled for at least 1 year with evidence provided to USCIS that residence is for other than temporary purpose).

Note: The following statuses are ineligible for aid:

  • F, G, or J series visa holders
  • I-171 or I-464 holders


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
This is the federal application that must be completed for consideration for federal, state and university grants, work-study and loans (including the Federal Stafford and Federal Loan for Parents -PLUS). The FAFSA data is used to determine a student's need for need-based aid and EFC.

Loan Entrance Counseling
Per Federal requirements, students are required to complete a loan counseling session before they receive their first loan disbursement to advise them of their rights and responsibilities as a borrower. FSU provides this session online through

Loan Exit Counseling
Per Federal requirements, students who have received a federal educational loan must complete Loan Exit Counseling upon graduation or termination of enrollment. FSU provides this session online through

An institution that provides money for loans. Most lenders are financial institutions, but lenders may also be state agencies or schools.

Need-based Financial Aid
Aid awarded based on a student's or family's financial status.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)
This is the binding legal document you sign when you get a student loan. It lists the conditions under which you are borrowing and the terms under which you agree to pay back the loan. It will include information about your interest rate and about deferment and cancellation provisions. It is very important to read and save this document because you will need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan. The Master Promissory Note serves as a one-time promissory note for all of your loans at FSU, as long as they fall under certain conditions. Contact the Financial Aid Manager or your lender for any questions on the Master Promissory Note.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
The National Student Loan database is a federal website that collects information on individual student loans. By using your Federal PIN you can get information on federal loan or grant amounts, outstanding balances, status of loans, and disbursements. Note: NSLDS is not a real-time database. Agencies update NSLDS on a monthly schedule so the data shown may not reflect recent changes.

Selected for Verification
A certain percentage of students who complete the FAFSA form will be selected by the federal processor for verification. The school will then request required documentation to verify the data reported on the FAFSA form. This may include federal income tax returns, verification worksheets and other documents. Notification of documents requested is posted to the student's To DO LIST via