Glossary of Terms

Please refer to the following glossary of financial aid terminology when reading your financial aid award. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@merrimack.edu or 978-837-5186.

Cost of Attendance (COA): The estimated cost of attending this institution for one academic year. This amount includes:

  • Expected charges for one year of tuition and fees
    • Tuition – Charges assessed for classes
    • Fees – Charges assessed for other college services
  • Room and board for resident students
  • Estimated living expense — allowance for rent, utilities, and food for off-campus living
  • Estimated transportation costs
  • Estimated books and supplies
  • Miscellaneous costs

Direct Costs: Expenses the student/family pays to the college.

Indirect Costs: Expenses the student/family may pay to a third party (merchant, landlord, etc.) other than the college.

Net Cost:  Amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all gift aid (scholarship and grant) is subtracted.

Out-of-Pocket Cost:  Difference between the cost of attendance and all gift aid.  Out-of-pocket cost can be covered through a variety of sources, including savings, income, and educational loans.

Gift Aid: Funds awarded to the student that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain terms, such as a service requirement, specified as a condition of the grant. Gift aid includes awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based upon many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic, musical, and theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups, or career aspirations.

Grant: Gift aid awarded to the student that does not need to be repaid. Grants are typically based on financial need.

Federal Pell Grant:  A grant provided by the federal government to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have an Expected Family Contribution below a threshold designated annually by the U.S. Department of Education, based on the amount of program funds appropriated by Congress.

Federal Work-Study (FWS): A program that provides part-time employment to students attending institutions of higher education who need the earnings to help meet their costs of postsecondary education and encourages students receiving FWS assistance to participate in community service activities.

Student Employment: A program available to all Merrimack students, including students who did not file the FAFSA and are not eligible for Federal Work Study. Students are paid through college funds.

Educational Loan: A form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Educational loans have varying interest rates and repayment terms. Students and/or parents are required to sign a promissory note when accepting an educational loan.

  • Student Loan: Funds awarded to the student that must eventually be paid back to the lender by the student.
    • Federal Direct Student Loan: Loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. Repayment of principal begins six months after the borrower ceases to be a student on at least a half-time basis. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the annual application. There are two types of Federal Direct Student Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Students with financial need can qualify for a subsidized loan, and the government pays the interest on the loan while the student remains enrolled at least half time. Students who don’t demonstrate financial need qualify for an unsubsidized loan and interest accrues while the student is in school.