following are common terms and their definitions in the world of financial aid.|
Academic Year - A time in which a
full-time student should complete two semesters (24 hours), two trimesters, or
three quarters at a college, university, technical or vocational school. Or it
must be at least 36 quarter hours if a program is measured in credit hours. An
academic year is merely a period of time schools use to measure a quantity of
study. Different schools vary in the length of their academic year.
Cost of Education - In addition to
tuition, the cost of education includes room and board (on or off campus),
books, supplies, transportation and miscellaneous fees. Sometimes called the
cost of attendance.
Direct Lending - The Direct Lending
Program is another approach to delivering educational loans to eligible student
borrowers. The terms and conditions governing Direct Loans are similar to the
Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) program. The difference is that
the federal government lends funds to eligible borrowers through the school,
eliminating the role of lenders and guaranty agencies. Students repay their
loans directly to the federal government. Not every school participates in this
program. Check with the financial aid officer at your institution. If a school
is a direct lender, it will determine how a federal student loan is obtained.
Eligible Program - A program
that meets the U.S. Department of Education's requirements for an eligible
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 (EFC) -
Using Federal Methodology and individual family size and finances, this figure
is established to set an available income that can be used by a family for the
Federal Family Education Loan Programs -
The Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) was formerly known as the
Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL) Program. The FFELP program includes the Federal
Stafford Loans (subsidzied and unsubsidized), Federal PLUS Loans, and Federal
Consolidation Loans. Funds for these programs are provided by private lenders
and the loans are guaranteed by the federal government.
Financial Aid Package - The
total amount of financial aid (federal and nonfederal) a student receives.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- The official document used by every college and university to determine
eligibility for Federal Student Aid. A copy of this document is often required
by a scholarship program.
General Education Development (GED) -
A certificate students receive if they've passed a specific, approved high
school equivalency test. Students who don't have a high school diploma but who
have a GED may still qualify for federal student aid. A school that admits
students without a high school diploma must make a GED program in the vicinity
of the school available to these students and must inform them about the
Half Time - Institutions that
measure progress by credit hours, semesters, trimesters, or quarters call
half-time enrollment, enrollment that is at least six semester hours or quarter
hours per term. Institutions that measure progress by credit hours but don't use
semesters, trimesters, or quarters, call half-time enrollment at least 12
semester hours or 18 quarter hours per year. Institutions that measure progress
by clock hours, call half-time enrollment at least 12 hours per week. However,
schools may set their minimums higher than these.
Independent Student - Must meet one of
the following conditions: twenty-four years of age or older; an orphan; a ward
of the court; a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; is married; has a child; is a
graduate or professional student; has serious family circumstances.
Loan Default - Failure to repay
a loan according to the terms agreed to.
Need Analysis - The process of analyzing
the household and financial information on the student's financial aid
application and calculating the amount the family can be expected to contribute
to educational costs. For the federal student assistance programs, the need
analysis system is defined by law and results in a number known as the Expected
Professional Judgement - While the method
for determining the student's need for federal student aid is defined in the
law, it does give the financial aid administrator the flexibility to make
individual adjustments based on the administrator's professional judgement.
Professional judgement can be used in three areas. The aid administrator can
choose to override the student's dependency status to make the student
independent, can adjust the components of the student's costs of attendance, and
can adjust the data elements used to calculate the student's Expected Family
Contribution. These adjustments must be made on a case-by-case basis, and the
reasons for the adjustment must be documented in the student's file.
Promissory Note - The binding
legal document you sign when you get a federal student loan. It lists the
conditions under which you're borrowing and the terms of pay back. It will
include information about your rate of interest and about any provisions such as
cancellation or deferment. It's very important to read this document completely
and save it because you'll need it when it comes time to begin repaying your
Regular Student - One who is
enrolled in an institution whose program's completion leads to a degree or
certificate. Generally, to receive aid you must be a regular student.
Renewal FAFSA Application - An
application that simplifies the process of reapplying for financial aid. Some of
the information from the student's previous year application is preprinted on
the Renewal FAFSA application. Students do not have to enter new information if
the preprinted information is still correct.
Satisfactory Academic Progress -
To be eligible to receive many forms of student aid, you must maintain
satisfactory academic progress toward your degree or certificate. You must meet
your school's standards of satisfactory progress. Check with your school to find
out its standard.
If you're enrolled in a program that's longer than two years, you usually
must have a C average by the end of your second year of study or have an
standing consistent with your school's graduation requirements. Some
scholarships can be taken away if a student is not making measurable progress
towards the completion of a course of study. In order to qualify for renewal
scholarships, satisfactory academic progress must be maintained.
Selective Service Registration - If
required by law, you must register, or arrange to register, with the Selective
Service to receive federal student aid. The requirement to register
applies to males who were born on or after January 1, 1960, are at least 18
years old, are citizens or eligible non-citizens, and are not currently on
active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Citizens of the Federated States of
Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau are exempt from registering.)
Student Aid Report (SAR) - The federal
"output document" printed by a FAFSA processor and mailed to the
student. The SAR contains the family's financial and other information reported
by the student on the financial aid application. The student's eligibility for
aid is indicated by the EFC printed on the front of the SAR. Schools that
participate in the Electronic Data Exchange and other services offered by the
U.S. Department of Education can receive the information on the SAR through
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 - A procedure whereby the
school checks the information the student reported on the financial aid
application, usually by requesting a copy of the tax returns filed by the
student, and if applicable, the student's spouse and parent(s). Many schools
conduct their own form of verification. In addition, schools must verify
students selected through the federal central processing system, following the
procedures established by regulation. The FAFSA processor will print an asterisk
next to the EFC (on the Student Aid Report) to identify students who have been
selected for verification.