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Glossary of Terms

Cost of Attendance (COA)

The estimated total cost of attending an institution for one academic year. This amount may include the following:

  • Estimated charges for one academic year of tuition and fees
    • Tuition - Charges assessed for classes and/or other coursework
    • Fees - Charges assessed for other college services (e.g. background check, student ID, student activities, technology)
  • Housing - Includes residence hall charges for on-campus students or an estimate of rent and utilities for an off-campus student
  • Food - an estimate of the costs of food prepared at home (could included the cost of a meal plan if offered by the institution)
  • Estimated transportation and parking costs
  • Estimated costs for books and supplies
  • Miscellaneous costs such as personal hygiene, laundry, and reasonable entertainment (NMC includes an allowance for health insurance in this category)
  • Educational loan fees

Upon request, the Financial Aid Office may include:

  • Purchase or rental of a computer
  • Other costs specific to certain student circumstances related to attendance, such as dependent care during periods of class attendance or study, expenses related to disabilities, study abroad, and others

For students attending less than half-time (see Enrollment Level definition), the COA includes only allowances for tuition and fees, books, supplies, transportation and dependent care expenses.  

Students should remember that the financial aid Cost of Attendance is based on estimated and average costs of students in the same program or degree classification.  Each student's actual costs may vary due to a number of factors including the number of credits enrolled, purchase of new or used books, and personal decisions and life style choices.


Failing to repay a loan according to the terms of the promissory note may result in default.  The consequences of default are severe: 

  • Damage to your credit rating could make it difficult for you to buy a car or a house. 
  • The Internal Revenue Service can withhold your federal tax refund.
  • Your wages could be garnished.
  • You may be responsible for loan collection expenses. 
  • While in default, you are not eligible to receive additional federal student financial aid. 
  • Legal action also might be taken against you. 

If experiencing difficulty in making payments, it is important for borrowers to communicate with the lender or servicer so they can help you understand your options and work with you to remain in good standing.  

Dependent Student

The U.S. Department of Education has specific criteria to determine dependency for the purpose of student aid. A dependent student is one who does not meet any of the criteria listed in the Independent Student definition.

Direct Costs

Charges included in the Cost of Attendance that the student/family pays directly to the college (e.g. estimated cost of tuition, fees, on-campus housing)


The EFC or Expected Family Contribution is calculated by the federal processor using information reported on your FAFSA.  The EFC is used to determine your eligibility for federal, state and other types of financial aid

Enrollment Level

A student's enrollment level is often a factor in determining eligibility for assistance.  Most loan programs (except the Nurse Faculty Loan) require the student to be enrolled at least half-time.  Federal Pell Grant awards and most other grants and scholarships awarded by NMC will be prorated for enrollment less than full-time.  Enrollment levels for most NMC programs are shown in the first table below.





12.0 or more credits

6.0 or more credits


9.0 – 11.99 credits

4.5 – 5.99 credits


6.0 – 8.99 credits

3.0 – 4.49 credits

Less than ½-time

> 0.0 and < 6.0 credits

> 0.0 and < 2.99 credits

For the accelerated nursing program enrollment levels are defined according to a federally mandated formula and are shown in the next table.


Spring Year 1



Spring Year 2


13.0 or more credits

10.0 or more credits

14.0 or more credits

9.0 or more credits


10.0 - 12.99 credits

8.0 - 9.99 credits

11.0 - 13.99 credits

7.0 to 8.99 credits


7.0 - 9.99 credits

5.0 - 7.99 credits

7.0 - 10.99

5.0 - 6.99 credits

Less than ½-time

> 0.0 and < 7.0 credits

> 0.0 and < 5.0 credits

> 0.0 and < 7.0 credits

> 0.0 and < 5.0 credits

For the Medical Assistant program full-time is defined as 24 clock hours per week or 240 clock hours per term.  Half-time is at least 12 clock hours per week or 120 clock hours per term.

Entrance Counseling

Entrance Counseling is required for all federal student loan programs.  During entrance counseling, the student is provided with information about the terms and conditions of the loan so s/he can make an informed decision before borrowing.

For Federal Perkins or Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Entrance Counseling must be completed before receiving the first disbursement of a loan. 

For Nursing Student Loans and Nurse Faculty Loans, the student must complete Entrance Counseling on an annual basis prior to receiving the first disbursement for the academic year. 

Exit Counseling

Borrowers of any federal student loan are required to complete Exit Counseling before graduating or otherwise leaving school.  During exit counseling, the student is provided with information that will be helpful in fulfilling his/her repayment obligation for the loan and avoiding default.  The borrower will receive information about various repayment options as well as conditions for which the loan may be eligible for deferment, forbearance, or cancellation.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid must be completed each year a student wishes to apply for federal financial aid.  The official FAFSA website is


See Enrollment Level definition above

Grace Period

After borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, loans that were made for that period of study generally have several months before payments are due. This period is called the "grace period."

Grade Level Classification

An undergraduate student's grade level classification is based on the number of credit hours earned in the student's degree program, including accepted transfer credits.  Annual loan limits for the Direct Stafford Loan are based on these classification levels.

First year (freshman)             30.99 or fewer credit hours

Second year (sophomore)       31 - 60.99 credit hours

Third year (junior)                  61 - 90.99 credit hours

Fourth year (senior)                91 or more credit hours

Students enrolled in the RN to MSN program are considered Undergraduate students during the semesters in which they are enrolled in the Bridge component of the program.  They are considered Graduate students once the Bridge courses are completed. 


See Enrollment Level definition above.

Independent Student

An independent student is one who meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • at least 24 years old
  • married
  • an orphan
  • a ward of the court
  • an emancipated minor
  • in legal guardianship
  • a veteran of the US Armed Forces
  • enrolled in a graduate or professional program
  • serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces
  • someone with legal dependents other than a spouse
  • someone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness
Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A Master Promissory Note allows the borrower to receive multiple loans over several years, without completing a separate promissory note for each loan.  For the Federal Direct Loan programs, the MPN is valid for up to 10 years, and can even be used by multiple schools if a student transfers to a new school.

Also refer to the Promissory Note definition below.


A module is any course that does not span the entire length of the term or semester. 


To calculate a student's financial need, we subtract the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the estimated Cost of Attendance (COA).  If the EFC is less than the COA, the student is considered to have need.

Promissory Note

A promissory note is a binding legal document a borrower signs when receiving a student loan. It lists the conditions under which you are borrowing and the terms under which you agree to pay back the loan. It will include information on how interest is calculated and what deferment and cancellation provisions are available to the borrower. It is very important to read and save this document because you'll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.

For most loans, the promissory note is completed and signed electronically. 

Many loans use a Master Promissory Note - see definition above.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

Your Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes the information you submit on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and provides you with your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Subsidized Loans

A subsidized loan is one for which a borrower is not responsible for the interest while in an eligible in-school, grace, or deferment status.  Subsidized loans include Direct Subsidized Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Nursing Student Loans, and Nurse Faculty Student Loans.

Title IV Financial Aid Programs

These are programs funded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended.  The Title IV programs available to NMC students include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loan, and Federal Work-Study.

Unsubsidized Loan

A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan. Unsubsidized loans include: Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans.


Verification is a process where the school confirms the data reported on your FAFSA. The school has the authority to contact you for documentation that supports income and other information that you reported.