Financial Aid

Financial Aid Jargon


A bank, credit union, savings & loan association, or other financial institution that provides funds to the student or parent for an educational loan.


A type of financial aid which must be repaid, with interest. Federal student loan programs are a good method of financing the costs of your college education as they have lower, fixed interest rates, do not require a credit check, and provide a variety of deferment options and extended repayment terms.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A binding legal document that must be completed (visit by the student borrower before loan funds are disbursed by the lender. The MPN represents an agreement by the borrower to repay the debt according to the specified terms and conditions (repayment schedule, interest rate, fees, deferments, forbearances, etc.) The student should keep this document until the loan has been repaid.


Financial aid that is merit-based depends on your academic, artistic, or athletic merit or some other criteria, and does not depend on financial need. Merit-based awards use your grades, test scores, hobbies, and special talents to determine your eligibility for scholarships and awards.

Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant

A state grant that provides funds based on the student's financial need and Illinois residency requirements. Students will be notified of their eligibility on their financial aid award letter.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

The U.S. Department of Education’s central database for federal student aid records. NSLDS tracks your federal loans from the time you apply until you complete repayment, allowing you to see details about all your federal student loans in one place. Remember, private loans are not federal aid, so you will be responsible for tracking private loan information.


Aid that is dependent on you and your family’s financial situation. Most government sources of financial aid are need-based.

Net Price

The cost of attendance minus any gift aid (grants, scholarships, etc.) a student will receive. The net price reflects the amount a student/family will need to pay out of personal resources, such as savings, income, and loans (also referred to as out-of-pocket costs). See the WIU Net Price Calculator.