Financial Aid Definitions & Terms

Financial Aid Definitions & Terms

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Every financial aid applicant is assigned an annual Cost of Attendance (COA), which will be published on the Award Letter.  The COA represents the maximum amount of financial aid a student can utilize for an academic year.

A student's COA is calculated by the Financial Aid Office using figures from tuition/fees, estimated books/supplies, and estimated living expenses (as published by the state of Colorado).  This amount generally cannot be changed unless the student qualifies for an adjustment.  If the adjustment is approved, it will allow the student to utilize additional Financial Aid for that academic year up to the adjusted amount.  The student must reapply for the adjustment each academic year, after the FAFSA is complete.

Origination Fees

The Department of Education charges an origination fee of 1.05% for Unsubsidized loans and 4.2% for PLUS loans.  Origination fees are withdrawn before the loan funds are sent to the school, which means that net loan amounts are typically 98.95% of gross Unsubsidized loan amounts and 95.8% of gross PLUS loan amounts.

In-School Deferment

Students who are taking at least 5 credits per semester/term (half-time status) are eligible for In-School Deferment. During In-School Deferment the student does not need to make any student loan payments. Previously disbursed Subsidized loans do not accrue interest during this period. Once a student drops below 5 credits the 6-month repayment grace period will begin.

Denver Seminary partners with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSLC) to automatically enter eligible students into deferment status. Enrollment status reports are submitted to the NSLC every two weeks, which is then communicated to the Department of Education.

If you believe the Dept. of Ed is not receiving the appropriate communication from the Clearinghouse, an In-School deferment form can be downloaded from your loan servicer’s website and submitted to the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office will complete section 4 and send it to the Dept of Ed.

For other types of deferment or forbearance, please see the Debt and Repayment Tools section below.

Graduate-Level Aggregate Loan Limits

The following chart lists the most a graduate-level student can accrue in federal Unsubsidized student loan funds:

Time Frame
Each Year


PLUS loans do not have aggregate limits, meaning that once a student has reached aggregate limits PLUS loans can still be utilized (assuming the student is eligible).

* Assuming the student is eligible, which is determined by the FAFSA. If student is not eligible, amounts will be unsubsidized by default.

Return of Federal Funds Policy

Read about our Return of Federal Funds Policy.

Debt and Repayment Tools

The tools linked below can also be found on our Loan Management page: