Common Terms


Per University Policy 01-10 Administration of Institutional and Departmental Nongovernmental Financial Aid: 8.2

"Financial need" is, for purposes of this university policy, defined by federal regulations, and is calculated, pursuant to those regulations, by OSFA.

Federal financial aid regulations define financial need as the difference between an institution's cost of attendance (COA) and the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or Student Aid Index (SAI), which is determined via the information the student provides on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


An "overaward" is the granting of financial aid in excess of "financial need." (Section 8.3, ) If a student receives federal or state financial aid, OSFA is required to reduce the awards to prevent an overaward created by the addition of scholarship funds.

Other financial assistance - reporting requirement

Under federal financial assistance regulations all monetary or non-monetary gifts to a student made by any WSU department or individual representing the university must be considered when awarding the student federal financial aid. This includes funds paid directly to the student or reimbursed on behalf of the student. If you are tracking the receipt of such items on a per-student basis, then the cash amount or value must be communicated promptly to the Office of Student Financial Aid at Include the student’s name, AccessID, gift amount/value, and the date of gift.

Cost of attendance

The estimated cost of attendance is determined by law (Higher Education Act, Sec. 472) and is the basis used for awarding all financial aid. A student's awards cannot exceed the cost of attendance. The student's cost of attendance is composed only of reasonable educationally related expenses for their program of study. This set of components is used for calculating cost of attendance for all aid programs:  tuition and fees; room and board; books and supplies; transportation; miscellaneous personal expenses; and student loan fees. Additional expenses may be added with documentation of actual costs: dependent-care expenses; disability-related expenses; study-abroad expenses; and employment expenses related to cooperative education programs. Cost of attendance includes a student's actual tuition charges and a prorated books and supplies estimate based on enrollment status. Estimated living expenses vary based on whether a student is living on campus, at home with parents or on their own.

SAA Terms and Roles

SAA Student Award Authorization

The Student Award Authorization (SAA) is an electronic workflow process by which a department, school or college to communicates student scholarship awards to the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).

The SAA process replaces the paper Payment Authorization Form (PAF) process flow.

SAA Roles

An SAA processor may have more than one role. However, a processor cannot perform both the Expense Approver and the Account Approver functions on any singular SAA..

Requestor: This person enters the information initiating the SAA process workflow. The requestor uses the account index, student ID and other required values. Any WSU employee can be a Requestor.

The Requestor can also be an Expense Approver.

Expense Approver: The Expense Approver is the first person who approves the request before it is sent to the dean, director or business manager. The Expense Approver authorizes payments to the students listed on the SAA form.

The Expense Approver can initiate the request, but cannot be the final Account Approver.

Account Approver: The Account Approver authorizes the expense to the account and acknowledges compliance with account provisions. Usually the dean, director or business manager is the Account Approver.

The same SAA processor cannot perform both the Expense Approver and the Account Approver functions on any singular SAA.

WSU Accounting Terms

Fiscal Year

The WSU Fiscal Year currently runs from October 1 to September 30.


F = Fund, O = Org, A = Account Code G/L or S/L, P = Program (or Purpose), A = Activity, L = Location

FOAPAL is the hierarchy coding system used by Banner for classification, budgeting, and recording of financial information and transactions. The use of the FOAPAL string also provides the ability to report and make inquiries at multiple levels. Account Index Code is a six-character code that serves as a shortcut to many of the FOAPAL string combinations.

Fund identifies the source from which the money is being drawn. The FOAPAL fund code should not be confused with the financial aid fund code, which often matches the detail code used to apply funds to the student account.

Organization identifies the budget unit of the school, college, division or department that is processing the transaction. Examples: Dean of Libraries, Center for Urban Studies, College of Engineering

Account identifies what financial activity is being recorded. Examples are assets, liabilities, fund balance, revenues, expenditures or transfers.

Program identifies the purpose of the transaction. Examples are instruction, academic support or research. The program codes for scholarships and fellowships are 8X.

Activity is not currently used at WSU.

Location is used only for physical plant funds.

Reference: FMS Quick Reference Guide