Financial Aid Terms
Academic Year - time in which a full-time student should complete two (2) semesters or three quarters at a college, university, technical or vocational school. Or must be at least 36-quarter hours if a program is measured in credit hours.
Acceptance Form - the written acknowledgment by the student of receipt of an award letter. The form usually provides for acceptance or rejection of offered aid. Frequently, acceptance and award letters are combined into a single document.
Assets - cash on hand in checking and savings accounts, trust, stocks, bonds or other securities, real estate, income-producing property, business equipment and business inventory.
Award Letter - a means of notifying successful financial aid applicants of the assistance being offered. The award letter usually provides information on the types and amounts of aid offered, as well as specific program information, student responsibilities, and the conditions that govern the award. It generally provides students with the opportunity to accept or decline the aid offered.
Budget - an alternate term for the cost of attendance.
Cost of Attendance or Education - in addition to tuition, the cost of attendance or education includes room and board (on or off campus), books, supplies, fees, transportation, and personal expenses.
Departmental Scholarship - an award or gift assistance that is specifically designated for a recipient in a particular academic department within the institution.
Dependent Student - a student who does not qualify as an independent student and whose parental income and asset information is used in calculating expected Family Contribution.
Enrollment Status - the number of credit hours being attempted by a student. Normally, students must be half-time or more to apply for scholarships. Individual programs will list this criteria.
Expected Family Contribution - the amount a student and his/her family are expected to pay toward the cost of attending college. This amount is determined by a formula established by Congress. The formula includes factors such as taxable and non-taxable income, assets, family size, number of children in college, etc.
Federal Methodology - the formula used to determine a family's eligibility for federal aid.
Financial Aid Award- an offer of financial assistance to a student attending college. This award may be in the form of one or more of the following types of financial aid: repayable loan, a non-repayable grant and /or scholarship, and/or student employment.
Financial Aid Package - the total financial aid award a student receives. The aid may come from federal, state, institutional, or private sources and may include loans, grants, scholarships, and/or employment.
Financial Need - the difference between the college's cost of attendance and the Expected Family Contribution.
Federal Pell Grant - a grant program for undergraduate students who have not yet completed their bachelor's degree.
Federal Perkins Loan - a low interest loan programs for undergraduate and graduate students.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) - a program for undergraduates with exceptional financial need and the funds do not have to be paid back.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - the form used to apply for federal and state student aid, processed at no cost to the applicant. It is used to determine a student's eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work funds and most other need-based awards.
Full-time Student - one who is taking a minimum of 12 semester or quarter hours per academic term in institutions with standard academic terms.
Gift Aid - that type of financial aid, such as scholarship or grant, which does not require repayment or require that work be performed.
Grant - a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid-usually awarded on the basis of need.
Independent Student - a student who has attained the age of 24, or who has not attained age 24 but is, 2) an orphan, b) has been a ward of the court through age 18, c) a veteran, d) married or is a graduate or professional student, e) has legal dependents other than a spouse, or f) represents documentation of other unusual circumstances demonstrating independence to the student financial aid administrator at the college he/she plans to attend.
Institutional Aid - aid that educational institutions make available from their own funds to their students.
Loan - an advance of funds which is evidenced by a promissory note requiring the recipient to repay the specified amount under certain conditions.
Merit-Based Award - an award to a student who excels in areas such as academics, sports, leadership, music, art or dance, and meet sponsor-selected program requirements through audition, academic record, or recommendation.
Need Analysis - a system used to estimate a student applicant's need for financial assistance to help meet his/her educational expenses. Need analysis consists of two primary components, a) determination of an estimate of the applicant's and/or family's ability to contribute to educational expenses, and b) determination of an accurate estimate of the educational expenses themselves.
Part-time Student - one who is taking less than 12 semester or quarter hours per academic term in colleges with standard academic terms. Some aid programs will determine eligibility by the number of hours for which a student is registered.
PROFILE - (formerly the Financial Aid Form - FAF)-an application developed by the College Scholarship Service. This form and accompanying system of need analysis are used by many private colleges to determine eligibility for aid. A fee is charged to the student for processing the PROFILE.
Scholarship - a type of financial assistance which does not require repayment or employment and may be based on merit.
Student Aid Report (SAR) - the report sent to a student about four weeks after filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Student Contribution - an estimate of the student's ability to contribute to postsecondary expenses. This is a part of the Expected Family Contribution.
Transcript - all classes taken and all grades received by a student. An official transcript is sent by the school with an original signature of a school official.
Verification - the process of confirming information submitted on student aid applications through the comparison of specified documents to the data on the Student Air Report (SAR) or other applications for student aid.