Following are some common terms you may encounter during the financial aid application process.
  • Federal Methodology
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Federal Processor
  • Financial Aid Package/Financial Aid Award Letter
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Non-Filing Statement
  • PIN (Personal Identification Number)
  • Priority Deadline
  • Promissory Note
  • Quality Assurance Program
  • Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Renewal FAFSA)
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Student Aid Report (SAR)
  • Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement

Federal Methodology includes two parts:

  1. The parent contribution is an estimated amount, based on their income and assets (including cash, checking, savings, and money market accounts, etc.; investments and real estate holdings other than your family's primary residence; and business equity if the business has 100+ employees), that your parents are expected to pay toward your college costs for the year. Allowances for living expenses, taxes paid, number of family members in college, and asset protection for retirement are built into the formula.
  2. The student contribution is an estimated amount that you are expected to pay toward your college costs for the year.  It is based on your income and a percentage of your savings and other assets.

Need for aid equals the total cost of attendance (COA) minus the family contribution: If your family contribution is less than the COA, you may be eligible to receive financial aid.

Students are encouraged to seek scholarships from private sources and Pittsburg State University, and to utilize other resources such as ROTC and veteran's benefits to help offset financial need.

The EFC amount is derived from a federal need assessment formula known as Federal Methodology, which is legislated by the U.S. Congress. The information used in the Federal Methodology calculation is taken from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and from documents you may file with the Office of Student Financial Assistance when applying for financial aid. Federal Methodology uses this information and a consistent analysis of a family's situation to calculate the EFC.
This is the U.S. Department of Education agency to which you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Your FAFSA is sent to the federal processor either electronically, if you apply online, or by mail in the envelope provided with the paper version of the FAFSA. Following federal rules for aid (see Federal Methodology above), the federal processor calculates what you and your family are expected to pay for your college costs for a year (see Expected Family Contribution above). The federal processor then sends this information to you in a Student Aid Report (SAR), via e-mail if you applied online, or through the mail if you filed a paper FAFSA. The federal processor also sends this information to the schools you listed in Section Six of the FAFSA.  Each school is then able to calculate a financial aid package for you.
Once your Expected Family Contribution is calculated, you will be awarded a financial aid package that may consist of any combination of grantsscholarshipsloans, and work-study. You will be sent a Financial Aid Award Letter listing the aid for which you are eligible.
To apply for federal financial aid, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The FAFSA is published by the U.S. Department of Education.  Students can complete the application online or use the paper form, and submit to the Department of Education's federal processor.  The federal processor, in turn, processes the FAFSA information and sends a record to the colleges/universities designated on the form.  The FAFSA can be completed online at; this method processes your FAFSA six weeks faster than filing a paper FAFSA.  When a student files the FAFSA online, if he/she completed a FAFSA the previous academic year, he/she will be asked if they want their application pre-populated with information provided the previous year.  Paper copies of the FAFSA are available from the OSFA, high school guidance counselors, and by calling 1-800-4-FEDAID.

Some PSU students are asked to submit signed copies of their and their parents' (or their spouse's, if married) federal income tax return transcripts to the Office of Student Financial Assistance in order to fulfill application requirements for reapplying for financial aid.  If you or your parents or your spouse are not required to file tax returns (based on income thresholds established by the Internal Revenue Service), we will need a statement from the person not required to file.

The PIN is a unique identifier that lets you access and submit personal information on various U.S. Department of Education Web sites.  For example, students must have a PIN to file the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA online, or to make online corrections to a submitted FAFSA.  The PIN also serves as an electronic signature.

Students and the parents of dependent students must have a PIN to electronically sign the online FAFSA.  You can now apply for, and receive, a PIN at the FAFSA website so you can sign the application upon submission of all requested information.

When a student applies for financial aid at Pittsburg State University, if the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) receives all the student's financial aid application materials/records by the priority deadline (priority consideration date), the student will be considered for all eligible aid programs.  If the OSFA does not receive all the student's financial aid application materials by the priority filing date, the student may not be guaranteed consideration for all eligible aid programs. For each approaching academic year, the priority filing date is March 1.
This is the binding legal document you sign when you receive a student loan.  It lists the conditions for borrowing and the terms under which you agree to pay back the loan.  It may include information about the interest rate of the loan, and deferment and cancellation provisions.  It is very important to read and save copies of your promissory notes, as you may need to refer to them later when you begin repaying your loan(s).  Students must complete promissory notes for each student loan program in which they participate (Direct, Perkins, etc.).  Each loan program has different terms and procedures.  Most promissory notes must be signed/completed online.
The Office of Student Financial Assistance participates in the Quality Assurance Program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education.  The primary goal of the program is to improve equity and fairness in awarding public and private dollars to needy students, and to assess the quality and accuracy of the financial aid process.  This evaluation will take place through the study of a random sample of federal financial aid recipients and verification of information reported on those applications.  The Quality Assurance Program enables us to determine the types of errors made by students and families as they complete their applications so we can develop procedures to promote correct filing.  The program also enables us to determine problematic areas in the processing of your financial aid so we can provide better service.
If you applied for aid the previous year, the federal processor may send you a Renewal FAFSA to complete for the coming year. The Renewal FAFSA contains the information you provided on your FAFSA the previous year, so you only need to update the information that has changed.  If you do not receive a Renewal FAFSA, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Also see PIN Number.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student's successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree.  Federal regulations require the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) to monitor the progress of each student toward certificate/degree completion.  Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal and state aid, and university aid administered by the OSFA. More Satisfactory Academic Progress Information
The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a multi-paged document that confirms your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been received by the federal processor, and reports back to you the information you supplied on the FAFSA.  Review the data on the form and respond immediately to any required corrections.  If necessary, return the signed SAR, with any corrections, to the federal processor (be sure to contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance first, however, so that we will be aware of the changes).
You have accepted a Direct Loan through the US Department of Education.  Student's borrowing a Direct Loan must complete an Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement for each academic year at