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 program.
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 student's education.
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
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
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.
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 Family Contribution.
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.
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 loan.
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
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 these services.
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
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.