This section contains the definitions of the terms used throughout the OSFA Web site and are linked to from the various OSFA webpages.
Academic Assistance (Learning Support) Courses
- Academic Assistance (a.k.a., Learning Support) is remedial coursework that prepares a student for study at the college/university level.
- Also see Academic Assistance for more information.
- The University of Georgia’s Academic Year for the purposes of administering the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs is defined as two fifteen (15) week semesters for a total of 30 weeks during which the average undergraduate student is expected to complete a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours. Also, see Scheduled Academic Year.
- The Annual Award is the maximum amount of Federal Pell Grant a student will receive during a full Academic Year based on his or her enrollment status, Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and Cost of Attendance (COA). Therefore, for a full-time student, his or her Annual Award will be the same as his or her Scheduled Award.
- The Annual Award for a student with a less than full-time Enrollment Status will be less than his or her Scheduled Award.
- Athena is the UGA integrated student information system which enables secure web-based access to student information, including the student’s financial aid application status and Award.
- Click here for instructions regarding how to access and view your financial aid Application Status in Athena.
- Click here for instructions regarding how to view your financial aid Award in Athena, and how to accept or decline any awarded non-gift aid.
- The UGA Award Year begins each fall semester and is comprised of that fall semester, the following spring semester and summer sessions.
- See Federal Campus-Based Programs
Capitalized Interest (Capitalization)
- Capitalization of interest is the addition of any unpaid interest to the loan principal which increases the outstanding principal balance due on the loan. Interest is then charged on the higher principal balance which increases the overall cost of the loan to the borrower.
- For the above reason, borrowers should make every effort to pay the interest being charged on any disbursed loans rather than electing to capitalize the interest payments.
Central Processing System (CPS)
- The Central Processing System (CPS) is the automated system that processes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), conducts automated matches with various federal government agencies, calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and produces the Student Aid Report (SAR) and Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).
Cost of Attendance (COA)
- Cost of Attendance (COA) parameters and components are determined by the Higher Education Act, Sec. 472.
- The COA is the cornerstone of establishing a student’s financial need, as it sets the limits on the total aid that a student may receive from Federal Student Aid (FSA) and all other need-based programs.
- UGA COAs are calculated by the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).
- Although a student’s assigned COA is an estimate of his or her educational expenses for the period of enrollment during the Award Year, it is a very realistic estimation of those expenses and can be used by the student for personal budgeting purposes.
- The student’s COA is reflected on his or her UGA financial aid Award in Athena.
- See Costs for more information.
- A postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue on Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Perkins Loans.
- All other deferred federal student loans such as the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Parent PLUS Loan, and the Graduate PLUS Loan will continue to accrue interest. Any unpaid interest that accrues during the deferment period will be capitalized.
- A student who does not meet any of the Federal Student Aid (FSA) statutory criteria as an independent student is a dependent student for Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes.
- If a student is considered a dependent student for FSA purposes, it doesn’t necessarily mean the student’s parent(s) are providing the student financial support, or that they are required to pay anything toward the student’s education, but it does mean parental information must be provided on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Information about loan terms and conditions, along with debt management strategies, that first-time student borrowers are required to complete before they may receive their first Federal Direct Loan disbursement. For more information, see your student category under Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Application Steps.
- See U.S. Citizen and Eligible Non-citizen.
- Generally, a student’s enrollment status for Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes is based on the number of credit hours in which the student is enrolled at the end of each semester’s drop/add period.
- The enrollment status of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process during the semester but following the end of the semester’s drop / add period will be based on the number of hours in which they are enrolled on the date the FAFSA process was completed.
- The enrollment status of students who complete the FAFSA process after semester final grades are posted will be based on the number of hours they completed.
- Only courses required for the student’s degree can be counted when determining the student’s enrollment status for Federal Student Aid.
- See Enrollment Status and Repeated Coursework in Policies for additional information.
Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA)
- In general, Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) includes all educational benefits paid to or on behalf of a student because of his or her enrollment in postsecondary education. Forms of EFA are:
- Federal Student Aid (FSA)
- State of Georgia Financial Aid
- Waivers of tuition and fees;
- Employer reimbursement of or payment for employee tuition;
- Fellowships or assistantships;
- Income from insurance programs that pay for the student’s education.
- EFA must be taken into consideration when determining eligibility for Federal Campus-Based programs, Federal Direct Loans and any other need-based aid.
- EFA is ultimately reflected on the student’s financial aid Award in Athena.
- Also see Outside Scholarships and Other Resources.
Estimated Financial Need (EFN)
- Estimated Financial Need (EFN) is the difference between the student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) and his or her Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- The U.S. Department of Education calculates the student’s EFC using the Federal Methodology (FM) and the information the student and the parent of a dependent student provide on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- The EFC is reported to the student on his or her Student Aid Report (SAR).
- The EFC does not represent an amount of money the student’s family is expected to contribute to his or her education or pay to UGA. The EFC is an index number used to determine the types and amounts of financial aid for which the student may qualify.
Federal Campus-Based Programs
- These are Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs with limited funds allocated by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) each Award Year to UGA to in turn award to students with unmet need based on federal student aid general eligibility criteria and UGA awarding policy.
- The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS) comprise the Federal Campus-Based programs.
Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Interest Rate
- FDL interest rates are set by Congress.
- The interest rate for a loan will apply for the life of the loan; thereby, making it a fixed rate.
- Since interest rates tend to change for new loans first disbursed on or after July 1 of each year, many borrowers will have a set of fixed-rate loans, each with a different interest rate.
- See Federal Direct Loan Interest Rates.
Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Origination Fee
- The origination fee is the amount a borrower is required to pay the U.S. Department of Education to help reduce the cost of supporting FDLs.
- The origination fee is withheld from each loan disbursement and is calculated by multiplying the semester’s gross loan award amount by the applicable origination fee percentage.
- See the Federal Direct Loan Origination Fees chart.
Federal Direct Subsidized & Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limits
- Federal Direct Aggregate Loan Limits are the maximum amount of outstanding Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (excluding any capitalized interest) a student can borrow.
- A student who has reached his or her aggregate borrowing limit may not receive additional Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized loans.
- Once the loans are repaid, in full or in part, the student may apply for additional loans.
- See the Federal DirectSubsidized & Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limits chart.
Federal Methodology (FM)
- The statutory formula used to calculate a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The FM is found in Part F of Title IV of the Higher Education Act, as amended (HEA).
- The FM considers the family’s taxable and untaxable income, assets, the number of household members and the number of those members (other than parents) who are attending college on at least a half-time basis.
Federal Pell Grant Payment Schedule
- A payment chart issued annually by the U.S. Department of Education reflecting the dollar amount of Federal Pell Grant payable to an eligible student based on his or her Enrollment Status, Cost of Attendance, and Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Federal School Code
- The Federal School Code is an institution specific identifying number assigned by the U.S. Department of Education to each college or university that participates in the Federal Student Aid(FSA) programs. Students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) need to enter the Federal School Code of the institution they wish to receive their Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).
- UGA’s Federal School Code is 001598.
Federal Student Aid (FSA)
- Federal Student Aid (FSA) refers to the student aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (as amended) that provide financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in postsecondary education. The FSA programs currently available to qualifying UGA students are:
- The Federal Pell Grant Program
- The Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program
- The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program
- The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Program:
- The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
- The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
- The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
- The Federal Direct Graduate / Professional PLUS Loan
- See Types of Aid for more information regarding these programs.
Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID
- Students (and parents of dependent students) must use their respective Federal Student Aid (FSA) IDs to log on to FAFSA on the Web and the various U.S. Department of Education systems. Each individual will create an FSA ID consisting of a personal username and password.
- Click here for a quick guide to the FSA ID from Federal Student Aid. (PDF)
- Remember that your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature when completing Department of Education Web-based applications. It also provides access to your personal information on these sites, so do not share your FSA PIN with anyone!
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- To be considered for Federal Student Aid for a specific Award Year students and parents of dependent students must complete the U.S. Department of Education’s FAFSA applicable to that Award Year.
- The FAFSA collects financial and other information used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and to determine much of a student’s basic eligibility through computer matches within the U.S. Department of Education and with other federal agencies.
- The FAFSA can also be used to apply for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships, but it must be completed every Award Year.
- Students can begin the FAFSA application process by clicking on the Apply for Aid.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Process Completion
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process is completed:
- once the student and parents of a dependent student have completed the FAFSA, and
- the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) has received from the Central Processing System (CPS) the student’s Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR), and
- if selected, the student / family have completed the Verification of FAFSA Information, and
- the student / family have satisfied all requirements reflected in Athena under “Student Requirements” on the Home tab of the Financial Aid menu, and
- the student / family have resolved any other issues affecting the student’s federal aid eligibility.
Financial Aid Process Completion
- The financial aid process has been completed once a student has:
- completed the FAFSA process or GSFAPP for the Award Year, and
- has either an Estimated Award or an Official Award in Athena, and if the student completed the FAFSA Process and has an Official Award in Athena:
- has also accepted or declined any offered Federal Direct Loans (FDLs), and if he or she accepted one or more FDLs,
- has completed the required Federal Direct Loan (FDL) Application Steps applicable to his or her student category and type of FDL(s), and
- the parent of a dependent student borrowing a Parent PLUS Loan has completed the Parent PLUS Loan Application Steps, and
- the student has accepted or declined any offered Federal Work-Study (FWS)
- has also accepted or declined any offered Federal Direct Loans (FDLs), and if he or she accepted one or more FDLs,
Georgia Residency for HOPE / Zell Miller Scholarships
- Students who meet the Georgia Residency requirements of the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents at the time of their high school graduation, Home Study program completion or successful GED test, must also meet those requirements for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the first day of classes of the school term for which the HOPE / Zell Miller Scholarship is sought.
- Students not meeting the preceding requirements at the time of high school graduation, Home Study program completion or successful GED test, must meet the requirements for 24 consecutive months immediately prior to the first day of classes of the school term for which the HOPE / Zell Miller Scholarship is sought.
- The UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) does not determine a student’s Georgia residency status. The Georgia residency determination of incoming undergraduate students is made by Undergraduate Admissions. The Office of the Registrar determines the Georgia residency for enrolled students and former UGA undergraduates re-admitted as a former UGA undergraduate.
Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC)
- The Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) is the name traditionally used to refer to the GSFC and its companion student finance entities – the Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA) and the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation (GHEAC). Although statutorily created in Georgia law as separate entities, these three agencies work closely together to provide integrated state student financial aid services. They have the same mission and vision and share common board members, executive leadership, facilities and administrative support. The term “Georgia Student Finance Commission” usually denotes the three agencies viewed as a single organization.
- The GSFC is the State of Georgia entity responsible for regulating the State of Georgia Financial Aid Programs.
Georgia Scholarship / Grant Application (GSFAPP)
- The GSFAPP is the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) application for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships.
- Once a student has submitted a GSFAPP and it has been accepted on GSFC’s system as a valid application, it will remain on GSFC’s system as a valid application for 84 consecutive months (7 years) following the application’s approval date; therefore, Georgia residents applying only for the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship are not required to complete another application as long as they have a valid GSFAPP.
- Click here to begin the GSFAPP.
- Grants and scholarships are often referred to as “gift aid” because they do not have to be earned thru employment or repaid as long as the student fulfills the grant or scholarship eligibility requirements.
- The Federal Pell Grant and the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships are examples of gift aid. When the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) awards you any gift aid, we pre-accept it on Athena for you.
- Also see Non-Gift Aid.
- The period of time before a borrower must begin or resume repaying the federal student loan principal.
- A student’s Grade Level is used in determining the annual maximum Federal Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized Loans limits applicable to the student.
- A student’s Grade Level is the total number of UGA hours earned at the student’s current degree level plus any accepted transfer hours applicable to the student’s current degree level.