Financial Aid General Terms

Financial Aid Awards

SAP Terms for Undergraduate Students

SAP Terms for Graduate Students



Financial Aid General Terms

Award Notice

Award notices inform students what aid has been offered to them.  There are three types of award notices:

  • Preliminary
    • Sent to prospective students
    • Is an estimate based on Cost of Attendance for the previous year
    • Is used to compare offers from other schools to help the student with their school choice
    • Notification of award availability is sent to student's home email in April
  • Official
    • Sent to students who have paid their deposit
    • Is based on Cost of Attendance for the upcoming year
    • Notification of award availability is sent to student's JMU email in June
  • Revised 
    • Sent to students who have a change in their aid package
    • Notification is via JMU email

Books and Supplies (COA)

This is the amount we estimate a full-time student will spend on books and supplies during the academic year. A lesser amount is used for students who are not full-time.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

This figure represents how much we believe you will spend on your college education for this academic year. You could spend more or less depending on your individual spending habits for many of these items. The figures provided in this Cost of Attendance are used solely for the purposes of determining financial aid eligibility and are NOT a reflection of your bill.

Default

This occurs when a borrower fails to make several payments on their student loans according to the terms in their MPN. There are many consequences that can result when a loan is defaulted. These include: loan will be turned over to a collection agency, the borrower's credit rating can be harmed; loan payments can be deducted from the borrower's paychecks, the borrower will be ineligible to receive any more federal aid; late fees and collections costs may be added on top of what the borrower already owes; and the borrower can be sued. It is important to avoid default by borrowing as little as possible, making payments on time, and applying for deferment or forbearance if experiencing any financial hardships.  References: http://www.finaid.org/loans/default.phtml; http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans

Deferment

This occurs when a borrower is allowed to postpone repaying a loan for a limited amount of time. Most students choose to defer their loan payments while they are enrolled in school for at least half time. Deferment is not automatic, and the borrower must apply for it. Other reasons for a borrower to be eligible for deferment include: financial hardship, borrower unable to find full-time employment, and active military duty. References: http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/deferment-forbearance; http://www.finaid.org/questions/glossary.phtml#d

Delinquency

A loan is considered delinquent if a borrower fails to make a payment on time. Late fees may be charged if the borrower misses several payments, then the loan will go into default. (NSLDS is a useful tool for keeping track of student loans and can help prevent the borrower from becoming delinquent on a loan.) References: http://www.finaid.org/questions/glossary.phtml#a

Direct Costs

Expenses the student/family pays to the college.

Education Loan

A form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Educational loans have varying interest rates and repayment terms. Students and/or parents are required to sign a promissory note when accepting an educational loan.

Enrollment Level

Level of the degree-granting program in which a student is enrolled. There are three basic levels of enrollment at JMU: undergraduate (students seeking certificate or a baccalaureate degree); graduate (students working on a master's degree or professional degree); and post-graduate, students enrolled in a doctoral program. The amounts and types of financial aid a student is eligible for is determined, in part, by their enrollment level. Undergraduate students are further defined as Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. This designation is determined by the number of credit hours the student has earned at a point in time while working towards an undergraduate degree.

Enrollment Status

Academic workload (or course load), as defined by the institution, that a student is carrying for a defined academic period. This normally relates to the number of credit hours or clock hours taken by a student during a given academic period. At JMU, undergraduate full-time status = at least 12 credit hours per term, three-quarter time status = 9-11 credit hours per term, and half-time status = 6-8 credit hours per term. Full-time enrollment for graduate students at JMU is at least 9 credit hours per term, while half-time status is 5-8 hours per term. There is no three-quarter time status for graduate students.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

A measure of how much the student/family can be expected to contribute to the cost of the student's education for the year. The EFC is calculated according to a formula specified in the law and is based upon the information provided by the student and his or her family during the FASFA filing process.

Entrance Counseling for Federal Loans

If you have not previously received a Direct Loan, the Federal Government requires you to complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming.  Entrance counseling is done at studentloans.gov and you can follow the Entrance Counseling link for more information.

Exit Counseling for Federal Loans

Exit counseling provides important information you need to prepare to repay your federal student loan(s).

If you have received a subsidized, unsubsidized or PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or the FFEL Program, you must complete exit counseling each time you drop below half-time enrollment, graduate, or leave school.  Exit counseling is done at studentloans.gov and you can follow the Exit Counseling link for more information.

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the primary application for federal, state, and institutional financial aid funds at JMU (certain scholarships may require additional applications). Students and parents can complete this at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Each year the FAFSA can be completed after January 1st and submitted with estimated income information if you do not have your taxes completed by the March 1st priority filing date. Your FAFSA must be processed by the federal government no later than March 1st in order to be considered an "on-time filer."

Fiscal Year Shutdown

JMU’s fiscal year runs from July 1st—June 30th. Every summer JMU implements a “disbursement freeze” around the middle of June until shortly after July 1st to reconcile the current business year and open processing for the next. We are unable to disburse any financial aid funds during the reconciliation period. Additionally, the University Business Office is unable to generate any refunds during this period.

As a result of this, it is possible for some summer school students not to receive their financial aid disbursements or refunds until sometime in July or August. This is not a new process, but something JMU experiences every summer. As in prior summers, we will process your financial aid as quickly as possible, but please be aware there may be some unavoidable delays due to the fiscal year reconciliation process.

Forbearance

This occurs when your lender temporarily allows the borrower to reduce or postpone loan payments. Interest does continue to accrue during forbearance and the borrower will be responsible for paying interest during the forbearance period. Forbearances are not granted automatically, for the borrower must apply for forbearance and provide proof of financial difficulty and/or unusual circumstances in which the borrower does not qualify for deferment.  Reference: http://www.finaid.org/loans/default.phtml

FSA ID

An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and allows you to log into FAFSA.gov and studentloans.gov and enter, view, and update your FAFSA information.  Students and parents both need a FSA ID in order to enter their FAFSA information.  For more information visit studentaid.gov/fsaid

Gift Aid

Funds awarded to the student that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain terms, such as a service requirement, specified as a condition of the grant. Gift aid includes awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based on many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic, musical, and theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups, or career aspirations.

Grant

Gift aid awarded to the student that does not need to be repaid. Grants are typically based on financial need.

Indirect Costs

Expenses the student/family may pay to a third party (merchant, landlord, etc.) other than the college.

Loan Fee

The average up-front origination and/or default fees associated with loans. Your fees could be more or less depending on your loans.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education.

Net Cost

Most student loans have up-front origination and/or default fees associated with loans. The figure provided here is an average for these fees. Your fees could be more or less depending on your loans.

Net Price

The Net Price is an estimate of the "Out of Pocket" costs for attending James Madison University. The estimate is calculated by subtracting all Grant and Scholarship aid from the standard Cost of Attendance.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. It receives data from schools, agencies that guaranty loans, the Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and other U.S. Department of Education programs. References: http://www.nslds.ed.gov

Out of Pocket Costs

Difference between the cost of attendance and all gift aid. Out of pocket cost can be covered through a variety of sources, including savings, income and educational loans.

Pell Census Date

Each term has a Pell Grant Census Date, which usually coincides with the last day of the terms regular (first block) add/drop period.  The student’s enrollment level on the Pell Grant Census Date determines Pell Grant eligibility for the term.  Adding classes after this date will not increase Pell Grant eligibility.  You can see this explained in our Terms and Conditions.

Personal (COA)

This is the amount we estimate a full-time undergraduate student will spend on items such as telephone service, internet connections, laundry and household items, personal hygiene items, clothing, recreation, and out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses during the school year. A lesser amount is used for students who are not full-time.

Remaining Charges

This is the estimated amount you will owe after subtracting all forms of free money you may be eligible to receive. This does not account for any loans you may accept to help cover these costs. A negative number in parentheses indicates that the aid package exceeds the JMU direct bill items, a situation which would result in a refund to the borrower.  This estimation is NOT an official bill from JMU. Official bills are generated from the University Business Office.

Room and Board (COA)

This figure is based on the Room/Board rates set by the JMU Board of Visitors.

Scholarship

Gift aid awarded to the student that does not need to be repaid. Scholarship awards are typically based on merit or a combination of merit and need, such as academic excellence, talent, affiliation with various groups, or career aspirations. References: http://www.jmu.edu/scholarships

Self Help Aid

Financial aid in the form of loans or student employment. Loans are used to help pay the remaining net costs after gift aid is deducted. Student employment earnings (including work study awards) are not deducted from billed costs but can be used to help cover indirect costs and are paid in the form of wages to the student.

Student Loan

Funds awarded to the student that must eventually be paid back to the lender by the student.

Total Aid Package

The Total Aid Package is the total of all estimated aid. This includes grants, scholarships, loans and federal work study.

Travel (COA)

This is the amount we estimate a full-time undergraduate student will spend on items such as gasoline, vehicle maintenance and insurance, decals and inspections, and parking during the school year. A lesser amount is used for students who are not full-time.

Tuition (COA)

This figure is based on the tuition rates set by the JMU Board of Visitors.

University Charges

This figure is based on the full-time tuition charges, as set by the JMU Board of Visitors.

Unmet Need

Unmet Need occurs when the Total Aid Package is not enough to cover the standard Cost of Attendance.  This figure can be considered "Out of Pocket" costs which you would incur even if you accepted all aid offered.

Verification

Process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by the applicant on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In order to complete the verification process, students are required to provide certain documents to the school for review.

Financial Aid Awards

Centennial Scholarship

The Centennial Scholarship is an award given by JMU. This award is a grant, which does not have to be repaid or accepted on MyMadison. The combination of any grants, scholarships, and the Centennial Scholarship you may receive as an undergraduate student is designed to provide enough funds to pay 100% of your in-state, full-time, tuition, mandatory fees, room, and board costs. Students accepted into the Centennial Scholars Program are eligible for this grant.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Commonwealth Award

This state grant may be renewed, but it is not automatically renewed. This award is a grant, which does not have to be repaid or accepted on MyMadison. Meeting the March 1st FAFSA priority filing date, being a Virginia resident, and having a qualifying Expected Family Contribution (EFC) are also critical components of determining a student’s eligibility for this grant. Priority is given to undergraduate students who are pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. Funds are limited in this account, so awards will be made as long as funds remain available.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

Loan funds provided to graduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. This federal loan program allows graduate students with no adverse credit history to apply for up to their Cost of Attendance each year, less any financial aid. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled at least half time in an eligible program of study and first borrow the maximum allowable through the Federal Direct Student Loan program. Repayment of principal and interest begins 30 to 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed with deferment and forbearance options available.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Federal Parent PLUS Direct Loan

A federal loan program that allows parents who have no adverse credit history to apply for up to the Cost of Attendance each year, less any financial aid. PLUS loans must be repaid with interest.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Federal Pell Grant

Federal Pell Grants are undergraduate grant funds from the federal government that do not need to be repaid or accepted on MyMadison. This award may be renewed, but not automatically, each year based on your FAFSA eligibility. Students working on their first bachelor’s degree with a qualifying Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and who are meeting the general eligibility requirements for Title IV financial aid may be considered for this grant.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Federal Subsidized Direct Loan

The Federal Subsidized Direct Loan is a need-based loan program. You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to establish eligibility. The maximum amount of the loan is based on your year in school and level of need. Freshmen may be eligible for up to $3,500, sophomores up to $4,500, and juniors/seniors up to $5,500. Repayment is deferred for those enrolled at least half-time.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

FSEOG does not have to be repaid or accepted on MyMadison. Awards will be made to undergraduate students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree with a $0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) prior to any other student group. Funds are limited in this account, so awards will be made as long as funds remain available.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan

The Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan is a non-need-based loan program. You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to establish eligibility. The maximum amount of the loan is based on your year in school, dependency status, and subsidized loan eligibility.  Repayment is deferred for those enrolled at least half-time, but interest accrues.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Federal Work Study

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships may award Federal Work Study to eligible students as part of their financial aid package. In addition to establishing financial need through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), eligible students must be degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at least on a half time basis who are maintaining good academic standing. An offer of Federal Work Study does not guarantee employment.  For more information visit the Student Employment site.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

JMU Grant

The JMU Grant is awarded to students who qualify for a Commonwealth Award when no Commonwealth funds are available.  This occurs when there is a shortfall in the funding JMU receives from the Commonwealth of Virginia. As a result, JMU awards a JMU Grant to replace the Commonwealth Award.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Private/Alternative Loan

A loan from a commercial, state-affiliated, or institutional lender used to pay up to the annual cost of education, less any financial aid received. Private loans require the applicant to be creditworthy, or have a creditworthy co-signer, while having varying interest rates, fees, and repayment options.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

University Grant - Professional Judgment

This University Grant may be awarded based on a variety of reasons that are determined annually based on the needs of the student body. This award is a grant, which does not have to be repaid or accepted on MyMadison. Funds are limited in this account, so awards will be made as long as funds remain available.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

University Grant - Out of State

You are an out-of-state undergraduate who is Pell Grant eligible and has an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number greater than $0. Funds are limited in this account, so awards will be made as long as funds remain available.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

University Grant - In State

You qualify for a Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP) award, but due to a shortfall in the funding JMU received from the Commonwealth of Virginia and an increase in the number of students eligible for this grant, there are no funds available to provide this award to you. As a result, JMU is awarding you this University Grant to replace the VGAP award. In most cases, this award is a dollar for dollar replacement of the VGAP award. While the VGAP formula is used to determine the dollar amount, there is no requirement that this award be used for tuition/fees and books only. It may be used for any qualifying educationally related expenses.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP)

This undergraduate state grant may be renewed, but it is not automatically renewed. This award is a grant that does not have to be repaid or accepted on MyMadison and you may not receive it for more than eight semesters. To remain eligible for this state grant, you must be a Virginia resident, be pursuing your first bachelor’s degree, maintain continuous full-time enrollment in the fall and spring semesters, keep a 2.0 cumulative GPA, pass at least 24 hours each year, have a qualifying Expected Family Contribution (EFC), meet the March 1st FAFSA priority filing date, and meet the general eligibility requirements for aid as defined by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Funds are limited in this account, so awards will be made as long as funds remain available.  Please visit Terms and Conditions - Consumer Information to learn more information about this program.

SAP Terms for Undergraduate Students

Advanced Placement

Advanced work taken in high school and accepted for credit at JMU. All Advanced Placement hours count in the SAP evaluation.

Audit

Students neither ask for nor receive academic credit for audited classes, usually attending all the sessions but not doing the assignments. Audited (AU) courses do not count toward the calculation of attempted hours.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP is a national program of credit by examination that offers students an opportunity to obtain recognition for achievement in specific college courses (Adult Degree Program only). All CLEP hours will count in the SAP evaluation.

Credit/No Credit

Credit - With the credit/no-credit option, students will receive credit (CR) for courses in which they earned a letter grade of “A” through “C”. A grade of “CR” will not affect your cumulative grade point average, but it will count in the SAP evaluation.

No Credit - With the credit/no-credit option, students will receive no credit (NC) for a grade of “C-” or below. A grade of “NC” will not affect your cumulative grade point average, but it will count in the SAP evaluation.

Cumulative Hours Earned

Cumulative Hours Earned refers to the total credit hours you have earned as indicated on your transcript.

Cumulative JMU GPA

Cumulative GPA refers to your grade point average for all coursework completed to date at JMU.

Departmental Exam

The credit by examination option is an alternative to enrolling and successfully completing selected courses. All departmental exam hours count in the SAP evaluation.

Dual Enrollment

Hours completed at the collegiate level while still in high school and accepted for credit at JMU. All dual enrollment hours count in the SAP evaluation.

Grade Point Average

SAP policy states that a student must maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) to be eligible for financial aid. The required cumulative GPA varies based on the number of GPA hours attempted.

Incomplete

A grade issued for a course in which you have not completed the necessary course work. Incompletes count in the evaluation of pace and maximum time, but not in the GPA calculation.

International Baccalaureate

Credit hours awarded for each International Baccalaureate higher-level examination with a score of five, six, or seven. All IB hours count in the SAP evaluation.

JMU Attempted Hours

JMU Attempted Hours refers to the total credit hours you have attempted at JMU, which count toward your GPA.

Max Time

SAP policy states that financial aid can only be provided to students with less than 151 credit hours attempted.

Pace

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy requires students to pass a minimum of 80% of their attempted hours. This calculation is performed by dividing the number of credit hours earned by the number of pace/maximum time credit hours attempted.

Repeat/Credit

A student may repeat a course for a better grade. When you select this option, all attempted hours count in the SAP evaluation.

Repeat/Forgiveness

JMU will only count the grade and credits earned in your most recent attempt, regardless of whether the previous course grade was higher or lower. All repeat attempts count in the SAP evaluation of pace and maximum time. Only the most recent attempt counts in the GPA evaluation

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Satisfactory - Students will receive a grade of satisfactory (S) for successful completion of a course. A grade of “S” will not affect your cumulative grade point average, but it will count in the SAP evaluation.

Unsatisfactory - Students will receive a grade of unsatisfactory (U) for unsuccessful completion of a course. A grade of “U” will not affect your cumulative grade point average, but it will count in the SAP evaluation.

Test Credit Hours

This term refers to receipt of college credit for completion of advanced coursework in high school.  The student will need to report these Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) hours on the credit hour worksheet.

Transfer/Transfer Equivalent

Transfer - Hours completed at another school and accepted for credit at JMU. All transferred hours count in the SAP evaluation.

Transfer Equivalent - Under this policy, the student’s new GPA will initially be that earned in the 12 hours taken upon re-entry. Students will receive credit for only those courses in which they earned a grade of "C" or better prior to readmission. All attempted hours count in the SAP evaluation, including those excluded under the transfer equivalent option.

Withdrawal

When you withdraw from a course, you terminate your enrollment after the drop deadline. A withdrawal results in a grade of “W” on your transcript. All withdrawn hours count as attempts in evaluating pace and maximum time, but not GPA.

Withdrawal while failing

Grade assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor. A “WF” grade indicates the student was failing at the time of withdrawal. All withdrawn hours count as attempts in evaluating pace and maximum time, but not GPA.

Withdrawal while passing

Grade assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor. A “WP” grade indicates the student was passing at the time of withdrawal. All withdrawn hours count as attempts in evaluating pace and maximum time, but not GPA.

SAP Terms for Graduate Students

Credit by Examination

Credit based upon demonstrated knowledge in a particular discipline as assessed by examination.

Incomplete

A grade issued for a class in which you have not completed the necessary course work.

Repeat

A student may repeat a course.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

A grade assigned for successful or unsuccessful completion of thesis/dissertation and other selected courses.

Transfer Credit

A limited number of hours completed at another school and accepted for credit at JMU. Also, this may include hours transferred within JMU from another program.

Withdrawal

When you withdraw from a course, you terminate your enrollment after the add/drop deadline, but before the course adjustment deadline. A withdrawal results in a grade of “W” on your transcript.

Withdrawal while failing

Grade assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor. A “WF” grade indicates the student was failing at the time of withdrawal.

Withdrawal while passing

Grade assigned to students who withdraw after the course adjustment deadline at the discretion of the instructor. A “WP” grade indicates the student was passing at the time of withdrawal.

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