College Of Saint Mary
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Glossary of Terms


GlossaryCost of Attendance: The total cost to attend a particular school, including tuition, room and board, and other expenses, such as books, transportation and personal expenses. 

Direct Costs: The charges billed by a college or university, usually tuition and room and board. 

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The resources you and your family should be able to contribute toward your education, typically determined by the FAFSA. 

Financial Aid Award Letter: Official notice from a college or university that describes your financial aid "package"; the total federal, state and institutional aid you are eligible to receive. 

Financial Aid Package: The complete collection of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study employment from all sources (federal, state, institutional and private) offered to a student. 

Financial Need: The difference between the total cost of attendance and the expected family contribution. 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The form used to apply for all federal, state, and institutional need-based financial aid; the FAFSA should be filed after January 1 of the senior year and before March 15 to receive full consideration for all available assistance. (Be sure to list College of Saint Mary as a school to receive your information. Our federal school code is 002540.) 

Grant: A type of gift aid. Financial assistance that does not have to be repaid; typically awarded based on financial need. 

Loan: A type of self-help financial aid. Loans must be repaid, usually with interest and generally after the student graduates, leaves college, or drops below half-time enrollment status. 

Merit-Based Aid: Financial aid that is awarded to a student based primarily on the student's academic achievement or talent. May also be referred to as non-need based aid. 

Scholarship: A merit-based award given for outstanding achievement or talent in a particular area; scholarships are gift aid which does not have to be repaid. 

Student Aid Report (SAR): The report mailed to student aid applicants confirming the financial information submitted on the FAFSA; a student's SAR arrives two to four weeks after submitting the FAFSA. 

Work-Study Award: An award that pays wages for a job, usually on campus. Students may use their earnings for personal expenses, books and supplies. 


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