Common Financial Services Terms

The common terms and phrases below have been compiled for your benefit. If you have any questions, please contact the ECU Buff $mart Program.

Direct PLUS Loan - Direct PLUS Loans are federal loans that graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students use to help pay for education expenses.

Direct Subsidized Loan - A Direct Subsidized Loan is a federal student loan where a borrower isn’t generally responsible for paying interest while in an in-school, grace, or deferment period.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan - An unsubsidized loan through the Direct Loan Program offers students a low, fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms. It is not based on financial need.

Enrollment Status - Enrollment status is reported by the school you attended, and indicates whether you are, or were, full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, less than half-time, withdrawn, graduated, etc.

Entrance Counseling – Is required by federal student aid to complete before your loan will be dispersed.  Entrance counseling ensures you understand the terms and conditions of your loan and your rights and responsibilities. You'll learn what a loan is, how interest works, your options for repayment, and how to avoid delinquency and default. When you are finished, a record of your completion will be sent to WT and you can receive your loan money. 

Exit Counseling - Exit counseling provides important information to prepare you repay your federal student loan(s). Topics include: Contact Settings, My Loans, Preparing to Repay, Determining Your Repayment Strategy. Exit counseling is available at:

Federal Pell Grant Program - The Pell Grant is the largest federal grant program offered to undergraduates. It is designed to assist students from low-income households. To qualify for a Pell Grant, a student must demonstrate financial need by completing and submitting the FAFSA® form.

Financial Aid - Financial aid is money to help pay for college or career school.

Grant - A grant is a monetary gift for people pursuing higher education. It is often based on financial need and does not need to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund).

Independent Student - An independent student is at least 24 years old, married, a graduate/ professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, someone with legal dependents (not a spouse), an emancipated minor, or someone who is or at risk of being homeless.

Interest - Interest is a loan expense charged for the use of borrowed money. Interest is paid by a borrower to a lender. The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount of the loan. You can find your federal student loan interest rate(s) by logging in to and reviewing your Aid Summary page.

Lender - A lender is the organization that made the loan (borrower’s school, bank, credit union, etc.).

Loan - A loan is money borrowed from the federal government or a private source like a bank or financial institution, and must be paid back with interest.

Master Promissory Note (MPN) - An MPN, also known as a Loan Agreement, is a legal document that contains the Borrower’s Rights and Responsibilities and Terms and Conditions for repayment. Direct PLUS and Direct Subsidized / Unsubsidized loans have different MPNs.

Principal - Principal refers to the sum of money lent, on which interest is paid.

Repayment - Repayment is paying back money you borrowed by making scheduled payments to a loan holder or servicer.

SAP - Satisfactory academic progress is the process a school uses to determine if a student is meeting all of his or her educational requirements and is on target to graduate on time with a degree or certificate. This process may vary across schools.

  • Maintain a 2.0 GPA
  • 67% completion rate
  • *Some grants have other requirements

Scholarships - Scholarships are gifts that don’t have to be repaid and are designed to help students pay for an undergraduate degree. They can be a one-time gift or are renewable, depending on the scholarship.

Verification – Some students are selected for verification at random and some schools verify all students’ FAFSA forms. Verification is the process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. Your school has the authority to contact you for documentation that supports income and other information that you reported. At WT the documentation that will be requested is located on Financial Aid Self Service Portal on the Checklist.

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