With all these letters, you might feel the need to send out an S.O.S. for help! However, all these letters make up a part of the financial aid process and are important to know.

But don’t send out your message of concern yet…the Financial Aid Office Staff is here to help! Our office’s goal is to help you navigate the (sometimes complex) process of applying, receiving, and maintaining financial aid eligibility.

What Common Financial Aid Acronyms Mean

D.O.E. = Department of Education

They oversee Federal Student Aid and financial aid eligibility and resources. Our institution, particularly the Financial Aid Office, is the “middle man” in the process of awarding, disbursing and processing financial aid funds.

FAFSA = Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The one application form students can complete to apply for Federal Student Aid. Application is required each academic year and the figures are sent to the school for awarding process.

COA = Cost of attendance

A budget/estimated cost of attending school for the academic year based on identified factors (such as residency, nursing student, living on/off campus, etc.). We encourage students to use the Cost of Attendance to help students budget for direct expenses and in-direct expenses.

EFC = Estimated Family Contribution

A number that is used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA.

NSLDS = National Student Loan Database System

The system to monitor and track loan borrowing history and Pell grant usage. It also allows students to monitor their loan servicer. To check on your own records, please visit www.nslds.ed.gov.

MPN = Master Promissory Note

The electronic loan document required by the Department of Education to process your loan record and that identifies that your “promise” to pay back your Student Loans. Entrance Counseling for first time loan borrowers is also required in addition to the MPN.

SAP = Satisfactory Academic Progress

A set of standards that allow our office to monitor a student’s progress toward the completion of a degree/certificate program. Our office monitors Satisfactory Academic Progress for each student, even in semesters/terms when financial aid is not used. The three major components monitored are course completion rate (attempted credits vs. earned credits), GPA and program length.

Disbursement vs. Refund: What’s the difference?

While not an acronyms, the two most commonly confused terms are Disbursement and Refund. These are two different terms and involve two different processes. The easiest way to remember is that D comes before R in the alphabet and disbursement happens before a refund is created and processed!

Disbursement is the release/payment of financial aid funding to your FRCC account. Disbursement generally takes place about 3 weeks into the start of the semester for most types of aid (although there are some exceptions). After funds are disbursed, students would see any remaining eligibility batched into a refund.

Refund is any remaining funding that is leftover after your balance at FRCC is resolved. These leftover funds are generally issued back to a student through their BankMobile refund preference within roughly 14 business days.

On the current refund calendar, there are roughly three business days from the time that disbursement takes place (Mondays) and before refunds are accessible to the student through their BankMobile refund card (Fridays). It would take a few extra days if preferences are set up for direct deposit or a paper check has been requested.

So if you become confused about the results of your EFC that came from your FAFSA and how this will impact your COA, you are encouraged to contact your FAA ( which stands for Financial Aid Administrator) to discuss the entire process of financial aid. We are here to help navigate the way!



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