Santa Clara University

Terms to Know

Below you will find a list of terms that are frequently used in financial aid. This information is provided merely to assist student and their families in understanding our language.



Ability-to-Benefit (ATB)
One of the criteria used to establish student eligibility in order to receive Title IV program assistance is that a student must have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students who are not high school graduates (or who have not earned a General Education Development [GED] Certificate) can demonstrate that they have the "ability-to-benefit" from the education or training being offered by passing an approved ability-to-benefit (ATB) test.

Academic Period
The school term for enrollment, such as, semester, quarter or trimester unique for each school and program with specified start and end dates.

Academic Year
The period that begins on the first day of classes and ends on the last day of classes or examinations and that is a minimum of 30 weeks (except as provided in 34 CFR 668.3) of instructional time during which, for an undergraduate educational program, a full-time student is expected to complete at least: (a) 24 semester or trimester hours; or (b) 36 quarter hours in an educational program whose length is measured in credit hours; or 900 clock hours in an educational program whose length is measured in clock hours.

One or more loan(s) obtained by an individual that are grouped under a unique account identifier for record maintenance purposes.

The college must have accreditation from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to be eligible to participate in the administration of federal student aid programs. Accreditation means that the college meets certain minimum academic standards, as defined by the accrediting body.

Accrual Date
The date on which interest charges on an educational loan begins to accrue.

Accrued Interest
The interest amount accrued daily that has accumulated on the unpaid principal balance of a loan.

ACT: see American College Testing

Actual Interest Rate
The annual interest rate a lender charges on a loan, which may be equal to or less than the "applicable-" or statutory-interest rate on the loan.

Adjusted Available Income
The remaining income after taxes and a basic living allowance have been subtracted (in the federal methodology).

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Taxable income from all sources less IRS approved adjustments.

Advanced Placement
A college equivalent course taken in high school that allows the student, upon passing a test, to earn college credit.

Adverse Credit History
To be eligible for the Federal PLUS Loan, the borrower must not have an adverse credit history. This is a modest credit check. According to the regulations at 34 CFR 682.201(c)(2), a borrower is considered to have an adverse credit history if a recent report show that:

  • the borrower has a current delinquency of 90 or more days on any debts, or
  • the borrower had certain derogatory information (e.g., default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment or write-off of a Title IV debt) in the credit history during the five years preceding the date of the credit report.

NOTE: The five-year look back only applies to the derogatory information; it does not apply to the 90-day delinquency which must be a current delinquency. Note also that the absence of a credit history is not considered an adverse credit history. Remember, the Federal PLUS Loan does not use any kind of debt-to-income ratio or FICO score, unlike private alternative loans.

AGI: see Adjusted Gross Income

The total amount disbursed to a borrower under a given loan type throughout the student's academic career. This amount must not exceed applicable total loan limits, which are based on the student's graduate/undergraduate status.

Aggregate Loan Amount
The total amount disbursed (less any amount repaid or canceled) to a borrower under a given loan type throughout the borrower's academic career. This amount must not exceed applicable total loan limits, which are based on the students graduate/undergraduate status.

Agreement to Service
A contractual obligation by the recipient under which a student receiving a TEACH Grant commits to teach full-time in a high-need field at a low-income school or educational service agency that serves certain low-income schools and within certain high-need fields for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which the student received the grant. If the recipient does not complete their contractual obligation, the amounts of the TEACH Grants received will be converted to an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan that must be repaid with interest from the date of the each TEACH Grant disbursement.

Alternative Loan
Private loans offered by banks to supplement financial aid when financial aid is not sufficient to cover costs.

American College Testing (ACT)
ACT, previously known as the American College Testing program, measures educational development and readiness to pursue college-level coursework in English, mathematics, natural science and social studies. Student performance does not reflect innate ability and is influenced by a student's educational preparedness.

The process of repaying a loan over an extended period of time through periodic installments of principle and interest.

Amount Past Due
The total outstanding amount owed from payments with due dates that occurred in the past.

Annual Award
The maximum Pell Grant a student would receive during a full academic year for a given enrollment status, EFC and COA.

Annual Loan Limit
The maximum loan amount allowed for an academic year.

Annual MPN: see Master Promissory Note

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Represents the total cost of the loan, including fees and interest accrued throughout the life of the loan reflected in a percentage.

Anticipated Completion (Graduation) Date
The date in which the student expects to graduate or the school anticipates the require curriculum to be completed.

Appeal: see Professional Judgment

Consists of the personal information entry form and the promissory note which details the terms and conditions of the loan.

APR: see Annual Percentage Rate

Asset Protection Allowance
The portion of parents' assets that are not included in the calculation of the parent contribution (calculated by federal methodology formula).

Cash in checking and savings account, trusts, stocks, bonds, other securities, real estate (excluding home), income-producing property, business equipment and business inventory.

Associate Degree
A degree granted by a college after the satisfactory completion of a two-year, full-time program of study or its part-time equivalent.

ATB: see Ability-to-Benefit

As a noun, specific amount of financial assistance to pay for education costs offered to a student through one or more financial aid programs. As a verb, approving financial assistance to students. A participating school makes a determination of the amounts and types of assistance it has available to offer to the student along with any other types of assistance the student may have received or will receive. Under 34 CFR 668.16(h), the school is required to provide information about the source and amount of each type of aid offered.

Award Letter
An official document issued by the financial aid office of the college that lists all of the financial assistance available to the student.

Award Period
Varying by program, these periods include: performance period, liquidation period, suspension period, and closeout period.

Award Year
The time period from July 1 of one year through June 30 of the following year for which financial aid awards are made. The award year differs from the federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). Former FFEL program and current Direct Loan funds are not tied to an award year.

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Bachelor's or baccalaureate degree
A degree granted by a college after the satisfactory completion of a four- or five-year, full-time program of study or its part-time equivalent.

A legal action taken to declare an individual, couple or business (debtor(s)) legally insolvent, where as remaining property is administered for or divided among creditors. Federal student loans generally are not able to be discharged under bankruptcy.

Base Year
The 12-month period ending on December 31 of the calendar year that precedes an award year. For example, the calendar year 2013 is the base year for the 2013-14 award year. Student applicants are required to provide base year data upon which eligibility is determined since tax records are available to verify the information provided on the FAFSA.

Billed Interest
The outstanding accrued interest on a loan that the borrower is responsible to pay, during an in-school, deferment or forbearance time period these payments are optional. However, at the end of the deferred period any unpaid interest will be capitalized.

Book and Supplies
One of the components of Cost of Attendance (COA). Each college includes an average estimated cost a student may incur for purchasing textbooks and other academic supplies.

The individual obtaining the loan, by signing the promissory note this individual has accepted the terms and conditions of the loan agreement including the promise to repay the loan in accordance to the terms stated.

An estimate of the student's educational expenses for a period of enrollment, sometimes referred at Cost of Attendance or Price of Attendance.

Bursar’s Office
Functional area within the college responsible for billing and collection of outstanding funds due to the school.

Business Days
Refers to weekdays Monday through Friday only, this excludes weekends and holidays.

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CAR: see California Aid Report

Calendar Year
The calendar year runs from January 1 to December 31.

California Aid Report (CAR)
The report from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) reporting a students Cal Grant eligibility; estimates a student Cal Grant award.

California Residency
To be considered a California resident, if unmarried student, under 18, and parents have been legal California residents for one year prior to the residence determination date of the college student will attend, or September 20, if college does not have a residence determination date; if student lived for two years with a legal California resident, other than a parent; or if a parent is in the U.S. armed forces stationed in California and on active duty when student enrolled. All married student, regardless of age, and unmarried students 18 or older, must establish their own residency.

California Student Aid Commission (CSAC)
The principal state agency responsible for administering financial aid for students attending schools in California.

Campus-based aid
Financial aid programs administered by the college. The federal government provides the college with a fixed annual allocation that is awarded by the financial aid administrator to deserving students. The Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS) are examples of campus-based aid programs.

Campus-based programs: see Campus-based aid

The act of stopping funds either in full or part from disbursing to release the borrower from the obligation to repay the canceled amount. Cancellation only occurs for unconsummated funds, once the funds have been consummated a refund transaction can be processed which is not the same as a cancellation.

The process of adding the unpaid, outstanding interest to the principal balance of a loan. This will increase the balance due and may increase the monthly payment amount.

Capitalized Interest
The outstanding unpaid interest amount that is added to the principal balance of the loan, thereby increasing the principal balance, the monthly payment amount and the total amount to be paid on the loan.

Census Date
The last date to (1) Add a class with permission (2) Drop a course without a serious and compelling reason and without a grade of "W" listed on official university transcript (3) Also see the University Bulletin for more information

Central Processing System (CPS)
The CPS processes information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for each applicant, prints the Student Aid Report (SAR) that is sent to the student, and transmits the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) data electronically to the school(s) listed on the FAFSA. Data from the CPS system is used to verify eligible students.

A documented statement of accuracy or truth. To fulfill federal requirements the school provides certification to verify course of study, enrollment status and other vital information, thereby confirming a student's eligibility for student loan funding.

CFR: see Codes of Federal Regulations

Citizen/Eligible Non-citizen
A U.S. citizen, U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa and Swain's Island), or a U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, or I-155C (Alien Registration Card), Or a student has a Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) for the INS with one of the following designations: Refugee; Asylum Granted; Indefinite Parole and/or Humanitarian Parole; Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending); or Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980). Students who have only a Notice of Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464) are not eligible for federal student aid.

COA: see Cost of Attendance

A secondary applicant that is equally responsible for repayment of the loan. The co-borrower is required to sign the application which includes the promissory note detailing the terms and conditions of the loan, by signing the promissory note this individual has accepted the terms and conditions of the loan agreement including the promise to repay the loan in accordance to the terms stated.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
The codification of the rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and is issued on a quarterly basis. Education (Title 34) is updated on July 1 of each year.

Cohort Default Rate
The percentage of Federal Direct Loan and Federal Perkins borrowers who default before the end of the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which they entered repayment on their loans. The U.S. Department of Education calculates this rate annually to determine the default experience of students who attended a particular college during a particular period of time.

Activities such as letters or telephone calls conducted by lenders, guarantors, service providers or collection agencies conducted when an account becomes delinquent.

College Scholarship Service (CSS)
A division of the College Board that collects additional information used by colleges, universities and scholarship programs in awarding private financial aid funds.

College Scholarship Service/Financial Aid PROFILE (CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE)
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® is the financial aid application service of the College Board. More than 600 colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, and scholarship programs use the information collected on the PROFILE to determine eligibility for non-federal student aid funds. The PROFILE is a fully web-based application system that provides students a secure and efficient method for reporting their financial data to schools.

Combined Billing
The process of establishing the same due date day for multiple loans for one borrower account. Typically lenders or service agents establish combined billing as a convenience to customers with multiple loans in order to generate one monthly billing statement, requiring one payment per month versus multiple statements and payments due for the one customer.

Commercial Lender
A commercial bank, savings and loan association, credit union, stock saving bank, trust company or mutual savings bank.

Commuter Student
A student who lives at home and travels to school.

Refinancing multiple education loans into one new loan with a new repayment term, monthly payments and interest rate.

Consolidation Loan
Loan that allows borrowers to lower their monthly payments by replacing their original loans with one loan. Consolidation loans typically have longer repayment periods and greater interest.

Consortium Agreement
A written agreement between two or more eligible schools.

Consummated Loan
The initial disbursement check has been negotiated or the school has applied funds from a Master Check or Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) transmission to the student's account.

The co-signer is required to sign the application which includes the promissory note detailing the terms and conditions of the loan, by signing the promissory note this individual has accepted the terms and conditions of the loan agreement including the promise to repay the loan in accordance to the terms stated in the event that the borrower does not make scheduled payments.

Cost of Attendance (COA)
The total amount it will cost you to go to school - usually expressed as a yearly figure. It is determined using rules established by law. The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or housing and food allowance for off-campus students; and allowances for books, supplies, local transportation, loan fees, and, if applicable, dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses, including an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer. Costs related to a disability also are covered. The COA includes reasonable cost for eligible study abroad programs as well. For students attending less than half-time, the COA includes tuition and fees and an allowance for books, supplies, local transportation and dependent care expenses.

Cost of Education: see Cost of Attendance

Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA)
A savings account set up to pay education expenses of a designated beneficiary who must be under 18 when the account is created. Distributions are tax free if they are not more than the adjusted qualified education expense for the school year.

CPS: see Central Processing System

A summary of a person's financial strength, including his or her history of paying bills, routinely used to assess a person's ability to repay future loans.

Credit Bureau
An agency that gathers and stores credit information on individuals. When a credit report is needed for a loan application, a credit bureau produces a report to the lender based on the gathered data. The lender also reports back to credit bureaus how much an individual borrowed and whether the individual makes payments when due. Federal law requires credit rating agencies to provide consumers with one free report regarding their credit each year.

Credit History
A credit history is a record of all event connected with payment of a set of debts, such as on-time payments, late payments, nonpayment, default, liens and bankruptcy discharge. It can include both current and previous credit accounts and their balances, employment and personal information, and a history of past credit problems.

Credit Response
The approval, conditional approval, counteroffer or denial decision rendered from the credit underwriting department after evaluating an individual for a credit-based loan.

Credit Report
The output (document or data file) from the Credit Bureau containing individuals credit history, reflective of the borrower's money-management skills for use in the credit underwriting department when evaluating an applicant for a credit-based loan.

Credit-based Loans
Loans (e.g., Federal Direct PLUS, Federal Graduate Direct PLUS or private loans) that are made to you based on your credit worthiness as opposed to Federal Direct Loans which are determined through a need analysis process based mostly on the cost of education.

Criteria established by lending institutions to evaluate an individuals credit history against when determining eligibility for a credit-based loan product.

CSAC: see California Student Aid Commission

CSS: see College Scholarship Service

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®: see College Scholarship Service/Financial Aid PROFILE

Cumulative (aggregate) loan amount
The total amount disbursed to a borrower under a given loan type throughout the student's academic career. This amount must not exceed applicable total loan limits, which are based on the student's graduate/undergraduate status.

Current Charges
Charges assessed the student by the school for the current award year or the loan period for which the school certified or originated the form FFEL program or current Direct Loan.

Custodial Parent
In cases where a student's parent are divorced or separated, the custodial parent is the parent with whom the student lived the most during the past 12 months.

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Data Release Number (DRN)
A four-digit number assigned to your application by the U.S. Department of Education. It will appear close to the top right-hand corner on the first day of your paper or electronic Student Aid Report (SAR). If you file electronically, you also will find your DRN below the Confirmation Number on your submission confirmation page.

Days Delinquent
The number of calendar days since the oldest unresolved late payment was due for payment.

Failure to repay a loan according to the terms specified in the promissory note. Default occurs for a Federal Direct Loan if payments are more than 270 days delinquent or there is a failure to comply with other terms of the loan as stated in the promissory note.

A period of time during repayment in which a borrower, after meeting certain criteria, is not required to make regular monthly payments. Interest payments may or may not be postponed depending on the type of loan.

If a payment is not received by the due date, it is considered delinquent. Delinquencies greater than 30 days are reported to national credit bureaus.

Vital data of a borrower maintained on the customer record, the demographic record contains such data as; name, address, phone, date of birth and driver's license information.

Department of Education
The United States Department of Education (ED) or an official or employee of the Department acting for the Department under a delegation of authority.

Dependency Status
A student's dependency status determines the degree to which the student has access to parent financial resources. An independent student is at least 24 years old as of January 1, is married, is a graduate or professional student, has a legal dependent other than a spouse, is a U.S. Armed Forces veteran or is/was an orphan or ward of the court.

Dependent Student
Parents of undergraduate students must provide parental information on the FAFSA form unless the undergraduate student has been legally emancipated for consideration when evaluating for financial aid. An independent student is defined as being any of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor, or is homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Direct Consolidation Loan
Federal program that allows you to combine one or more federal student loans into one new Direct Consolidation Loan. Only one monthly payment is made to the U.S. Department of Education. In certain circumstances, students who have loans under the Federal Family Education Loan program (FFEL) may consolidate them into Direct Loans.

Direct Loan
A student loan issued under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan (Direct Loan) Program. The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program is a federal program where the school becomes the lending agency and manages the funds directly, with the federal government providing the loan funds. As of March 2010, all college and universities participate in this program. Benefits of the program include a faster turnaround time and less bureaucracy than the old "bank loan" program. The terms for Direct Loans are the same as for the Stafford Loan program. For more information about Direct Loans, contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 1-800-848-0979.

Direct Loan Servicing Center
All federal student loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2010 are handled by the Direct Loan Servicing Center, the U.S. Department of Education's agent contracted to collect Direct Loans and handle deferments, forbearance and repayment options.

Direct PLUS Loan
Unsubsidized loans available to parents of dependent students, and to students enrolled in graduate or professional programs. These loans are available regardless of financial need and the amount of eligibility depends on the total cost of education.

Direct Subsidized Loan
A loan from the U.S. Department of Education made on the basis of the student's financial need and other specific eligible requirements. The federal government does not charge interest on these loans while borrowers are enrolled at least half-time or during authorized periods of deferment.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan
A federally financed student loan made to students meeting specific eligibility requirements. Interest is charged throughout the life of the loan. The borrower may choose to pay the interest charged on the loan during in-school, grace, deferment and forbearance periods, or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to the principal).

The transfer of funds precedes by individual check, master check or electronic funds transfer (EFT) by a lender/school to a borrower/school or and escrow agent. For a consolidation loan, disbursement is a the transfer of borrower loan proceeds from the consolidating to the current holder of the loan being consolidated.

Disbursement amount
The amount requested or approved for disbursement. This amount includes origination, guarantee and supplemental fees that are applicable to the loan program.

Disbursement Date
The date loan funds are sent to either a school or escrow agent.

Disbursement Notification
A letter that is sent to the borrower to acknowledge a loan approval and notify the borrower of when funds will be sent to the school, as well as, the loan amount and any fees (origination and/or guarantee) associated with the loan. This marks the successful completion of the loan application process.

To release the borrower from his or her obligation to repay the loan. see also Cancellation

Disclosure Statement
A notification of the actual cost and terms of a loan, which includes the interest rate and any additional finance charges.

DRN: see Data Release Number

Due Date
The date for which scheduled payments must be received each month and credited to an account to be considered "on time."

Due Diligence
The federal government requires lenders, service providers or holders of student loans to contact the borrower, co-signer, endorser or references provided on a student loan application via telephone and mail at scheduled intervals to encourage repayment or to make necessary arrangements (deferment or forbearance, if applicable) to resolve delinquency any time a student loan payment is not received on time.

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Early Action
An early action program has earlier deadlines and earlier notification dates than the regular admissions process. If accepted, students are not committed to attending that college.

Early Admission
An early admission program allows exemplary high school juniors to skip their senior year and enroll directly in college.

Early Decision
An early decision program has earlier deadlines and earlier notification dates than the regular admissions process and students who apply to an early decision program commit to attending the school if admitted.

Economic Hardship
A condition that exists when a borrower's monthly student loan payments on federal education loans is equal to or greater than 20% of the borrower's total monthly gross income, or the borrower is working full-time with earnings do not exceed the greater of the minimum wage or the poverty line, as defined in the former FFEL program and current Federal Direct Loan regulations.

Educational Savings Account (IRA)
An individual retirement account that allows a related taxpayer to deposit up to $500 per year for each child under the age of 18. Interest earned on this type of IRA will be tax-free. In addition, withdrawals from an Education IRA will be tax-free as long as the withdrawals are used for educational expenses.

EFC: see Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

EFT: see Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT)

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
The process whereby the bank sends the loan proceeds electronically to the school or escrow agent, if the school participates in this program.

Eligible Borrower
An individual that meets the eligibility criteria established for a given loan product. The eligibility criteria is different for each product, refer to the specific product information for details.

Eligible Citizen
A United States citizen, U.S. national or resident of certain U.S. territories who qualify to borrow under the FDSL student lending programs.

Eligible Non-Citizen
Someone who is not a U.S. citizen but is nevertheless eligible for Federal student aid. Eligible non-citizens include U.S. permanent residents who are holders of valid green cards, U.S. nationals, holders of form I-94 who have been granted refugee or asylum status and certain other non-citizens. Non-citizens who hold a student visa or an exchange visitor visa are not eligible for Federal student aid.

Eligible Program
A program of organized instruction or study that leads to an academic, professional or vocational degree or certificate, or other recognized educational credential.

To release a child from the control of a parent or guardian. Declaring a child to be legally emancipated is not sufficient to release the parents or legal guardians from being responsible for providing for the child's education. If this were the case, then every parent would divorce their children before sending them to college. The criteria for a child to be found independent are much stricter.

Emergency Loan Program
A program administered by a school's Financial Aid Office that makes short-term, low-interest loans with a low interest rate available. Many graduate schools provide loan funds for emergencies or unexpected expenses.

A signer of a promissory note who is secondarily liable for a loan obligation (e.g., who agrees to pay if the borrower does not). The lender may require a Federal Direct PLUS borrower with adverse credit to obtain a creditworthy endorser.

Funds owned by an institution and invested to produce income to support the operation of the institution. Many educational institutions use a portion of their endowment income for financial aid. A school with a larger ratio of endowment per student is more likely to give larger financial aid packages.

Enrollment Status
The academic standing of a borrower or dependent student. This is generally defined in terms of part-time, half-time or full-time enrollment status. The student's enrollment status is utilized to determine eligibility for financial aid.

Entrance Counseling
An in-person or online counseling session with the school's Financial Aid Office before obtaining student loans. This counseling session is to educate the student on the terms and obligations associated with taking out student loans to fund educational expenses.

Entrance Interview: see Entrance Counseling

ESA: see Coverdell Education Savings Account

Exit Counseling
An in-person or online counseling session with the school's Financial Aid Office before graduation or withdrawal to review the terms and obligations of the outstanding student loan.

Exit Interview: see Exit Counseling

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The amount of money that the family is expected to be able to contribute to the student's education, as determined by the federal methodology need analysis formula approved by Congress. The EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the student's dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income and assets. The difference between the COA and the EFC is the student's financial need, and is used in determining the student's eligibility for need-based financial aid.

Extended Repayment Plan
An option available for federal student loans to lengthen the repayment period to reduce monthly student loan payments not to exceed 25 years.

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FAO: see Financial Aid Office

FAA: see Financial Aid Administrator

FAFSA: see Free Application for Federal Student Aid

An online tool designed to help students and families financially plan for college, you can get an early estimate of your federal student aid eligibility by using FAFSA4caster.

FDSL: see Federal Direct Student Loan program

Federal Default Fee (formerly known as guarantee fee)
A small percentage of the loan that is paid to the guarantee agency to insure the loan against default. Also known as a Default Fee.

Federal Direct Student Loan program (FDSL)
Similar to the Federal Family Education Loan program (FFEL). The funds for these loans are provided by the U.S. government directly to students and their parents through their schools. Benefits of the program include a faster turn-around time and less bureaucracy than the old "bank loan" program. The FDSL includes the Federal Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized) and the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).

Federal Family Education Loan program (FFEL)
A loan program authorized by the Federal Government in the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. This program includes; Federal Stafford, Federal PLUS and Consolidation Loans. These loans are funded by lenders, guaranteed by guaranty agencies and ultimately insured by the federal government. Following the passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 26, 2010 the FFEL program was eliminated, and no subsequent loans were permitted to be made under the program after June 30, 2010.

Federal Interest Subsidy
Assistance given by the federal government in which they pay the interest on a student's loan while the student is in-school.

Federal Loan
Loans guaranteed by the U.S. government.

Federal Methodology (FM)
The formula used to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for federal student aid. For non need-based unsubsidized Stafford Loans, the EFC is not a factor. Instead, a modified needs formula is used. Depending on your financial circumstances, the FM uses one of three models to determine your EFC: the regular, the simplified, and the automatically-assessed formulas. Which one is applied depends on your financial situation.

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Federal Direct PLUS)
These are loans under the FDSL program for parents of dependent undergraduate students. They require a credit evaluation. The interest rate is low and repayment begins 60 days from the date of first disbursement of funds to the school.

Federal Pell Grant
One of the largest sources of grants, Federal Pell Grants are distributed by the federal government and are designed to help students with financial need pay for college.

Federal Perkins Loan
A campus-based, low interest loan for graduate and undergraduate students. The college acts as the lender using a limited pool of funds provided by the federal government. These loans are awarded based on exceptional financial need.

Federal Direct PLUS: see Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students

Federal Processor
The organization that processes the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and uses it to compute eligibility for federal student aid. There are two different federal processors serving specific geographic regions.

Federal Stafford Loan
A loan under the former FFEL program awarded on the basis of financial need. Stafford loans were either subsidized or unsubsidized. Stafford loans were originated by a bank, credit union or other eligible lender.

Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)
Office associated with the Department of Education that is available to assist students and families when applying for financial aid from the federal government.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
Government grants distributed by college's, at their discretion, to students based on need.

Federal Work Study (FWS)
Program providing undergraduate and graduate students with part-time employment during the school year. The federal government pays a portion of the student's salary, making it cheaper for departments and businesses to hire the student. For this reason, work-study students often find it easier to get a part-time job. Eligibility for FWS is based on need. Money earned from a FWS job is not counted as income for the subsequent year's need analysis process.

A form of aid given to graduate students to help support their education. Some fellowships include tuition waivers or payments to universities in lieu of tuition. Most fellowships include a stipend to cover reasonable living expenses (e.g., just above the poverty line). Fellowships are a form of gift aid and do not have to be repaid.

FFEL: see Federal Family Education Loan program

Financial Aid
Money provided to the student and the family to help them pay for the student's education or which is conditioned on the student's attendance at an educational institution. Major forms of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and work).

Financial Aid Administrator (FAA)
A staff member at an eligible school who is charged with the administration of financial aid programs.

Financial Aid Eligibility
The difference between a student's expected family contribution and the college's cost of attendance; also know as financial need

Financial Aid Form (FAF)
The old name for the Financial Aid PROFILE. The Financial Aid PROFILE is a supplemental financial aid form processed by the College Scholarship Service (CSS). It is not necessary to file a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE in order to apply for Federal student financial aid; the FAFSA is sufficient. The Financial Aid PROFILE is used by many private colleges and universities for awarding institutional funds.

Financial Aid Notification (FAN): see Award Letter

Financial Aid Office (FAO)
A department at the college to provide assistance and guidance to students and parents related to funding of education.

Financial Aid Package
The total amount of monetary assistance available to the student, including all grants, scholarships, work study and loans available from school, state and federal programs, as listed in a college's financial aid award letter. It does not include alternative, non-federally guaranteed loans such as endeavor loans.

Financial Aid Transcript (FAT)
A record of all federal aid received by the student at each school attended. If you have previously attended an institution of higher education and are now applying for financial aid from the different university, the university will require a FAT from each of the schools previously attended, regardless of whether aid was received or not. They are required to do this by federal law. You have to submit a FAT even if you were in high school at the time. An electronic FAT process will be in place soon which will eliminate the need for the student to submit a FAT. The FAT is not the same as an academic transcript.

Financial Need
The difference between the total cost of attendance and the Expected Family Contribution.

First-time Borrower
A first-year undergraduate student who has no unpaid loan balances outstanding on the date he or she signs a promissory note for an educational loan. First-time borrowers may be subjected to a delay in the disbursement of the loan funds. The first loan payment is disbursed 30 days after the first day of the enrollment period. If the student withdraws during the first 30 days of classes, the loan is canceled and does not need to be repaid. Borrowers with existing loan balances aren't subject to this delay.

Fixed interest
On a fixed interest loan, the interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan.

FM: see Federal Methodology

A temporary postponement of principal and interest payments during which the borrower is only required to pay interest on the loan. If the borrower chooses not to pay the interest, it will be capitalized at the end of the forbearance period.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
A standard federal form used to determine the eligibility for most types of financial aid, including federal government backed loans. The FAFSA is typically completed early in the year and it requires income, asset and tax information from the student and/or parents.

FSAIC: see Federal Student Aid Information Center

An FSA ID is a username and password that students, parents, and borrowers must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites beginning May 10, 2015.

FSEOG: see Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

Full-time Employment
Working at least 30 hours per week in a position that is expected to last at least a three month period.

Full-time Student
An undergraduate student who is enrolled for at least 12 credit hours per quarter or equivalent. For a graduate student, the enrollment requirements can vary among colleges. Does not include audited courses.

FWS: see Federal Work Study

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The practice of withholding a portion of a defaulted borrower's wages to repay his or her loan, without their consent.

GED: see General Education Development Certificate

General Education Development Certificate (GED)
This is a certificate students receive if they have passed a specific, approved high school equivalency test. Students who have a GED may still qualify for federal student aid. A college that admits students without a high school diploma must make available a GED program in the vicinity of the college and must inform students about the program.

Gift aid
Financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, which does not need to be repaid.

Good Through Date for Payoff
The date the payoff amount must be received by the lender or servicing agent of the loan in order to satisfy the payoff of the loan. If the payoff is not received by this date, then additional interest accrued after this date would need to be satisfied.

GPA: see Grade Point Average

Grace Period
The amount of time allowed before principal repayment of a loan must begin after the student graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time status. No payments on the student loans are required during this time. However, interest accrued on an unsubsidized loan will be capitalized if not paid prior to the grace period end date. Details of the grace period are specified in the promissory note and are not available for all loan products.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
An average of a student's grades, converted to a 4.0 scale. Some schools use a 5.0 scale for the GPA.

Graduate or professional student
A student who: is enrolled in a program or course above the baccalaureate level at an institution of higher education, or enrolled in a program leading to a first professional degree; has completed the equivalent of at least three years of full-time study at an institution of higher education, either before entrance into the program or as part of the program itself; and is not receiving Title IV aid as an undergraduate student for the same period of enrollment.

Graduated Repayment Plan
An option available to schedule smaller monthly payments at the start of repayment and the payment amount would increase later in the repayment schedule to satisfy full repayment of the loan within time remaining.

Graduation or Separation Date
The last date of the student’s attendance at school.

A form of financial aid, similar to a scholarship, which does not have to be repaid.

Gross Monthly Income
The total monthly income from employment and other sources, prior to taxes and deductions.

GSL: see Guaranteed Student Loan

Guarantee Agency or Guarantor
State agencies responsible for approving student loans and insuring them against default. Guarantee agencies also oversee the student loan process and enforce federal and state rules regarding student loans.

Guarantee Fee
A small percentage of the loan that is paid to the guarantee agency to insure the loan against default. Also known as a Default Fee.

Guaranteed Student Loan (GSL)
(Replaced by Federal Stafford Loan and now under the direction of the Federal Direct Loan program) A guaranteed loan is insured against default. In the case of guaranteed student loans, the federal government agrees to repay the loans in case of default. Each loan is charged a guarantee fee to cover the costs of defaulted loans.

Guarantor: see Guarantee Agency

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As schools measuring progress in credit hours and semesters, trimester or quarters, half-time is at least six semester hours or quarter hours per term for an undergraduate program.

HEAL: see Health Education Loan Program

Health Education Loan Program (HEAL)
A program comprised of three unique loans: Federal Stafford Loan, Health Professions Loan, and a Health Professions Residency Loan. Students pursuing a health professions career in the following disciplines are eligible to take advantage of the Health Education Loan: osteopathy, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
Low-interest loans for graduate health profession students with exceptional financial need.

The institution that owns a loan.

HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit
This tax credit is available to those taxpayers who are paying education expenses for students enrolled in their first two years of college. The HOPE Tax Credit is available for up to 100% of the first $1,200. of qualified tuition and related expenses (e.g., tuition and fees, but not room and board or books) and 50% of the second $1,200. The HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit is for expenses paid after December 31, 1997.

HPSL: see Health Professions Student Loans

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Income-contingent repayment
A repayment schedule for some HEAL loans under which the monthly payment amount is adjusted annually, based on the total amount of the direct loans, the family size, and the adjusted gross income (AGI) reported on the most recently filed federal income tax return. In the case of a married borrower who files a joint income tax return, the AGI includes the spouse's income.

Income-sensitive Repayment Plan
An option for some federal loans allowing the borrower's monthly payment amount to be adjusted annually based on the borrower's gross income during the course of the repayment schedule.

The sum of money owed to others.

Independent student
A student is considered independent for federal student aid if the student meets one of the following criteria: is age 24 or older; is working toward a master's or doctoral degree; is married; has legal dependents other than a spouse; is an orphan or ward of the court or in foster care at any time after age 12; is on active duty or is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; is an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship; is an unaccompanied homeless youth or is an unaccompanied self-supporting youth at risk of homelessness.

In-School Period
A term referring to a period of time in which the student is enrolled at least half-time at an accredited school and is eligible to defer loan payments.

Institution-based aid
Financial assistance offered and controlled by individual colleges, such as alumni scholarships and endowments from private donors.

Institutional Methodology
A formula some schools devise to determine financial need for allocating their own institutional financial aid funds.

The fee charged to borrow money, usually a percentage of the outstanding principal balance, which accrues and is paid over the life of the loan.

Interest Only Payments
Payments that will only decrease the amount of interest owed on the student loan. If an amount greater than the outstanding accrued interest amount is received the balance will be applied to reduce the principal balance. Interest can not be paid prior to being accrued.

Interest subsidy
Interest the federal government pays on certain loans while borrowers are in school, during authorized deferment or during grace periods.

International student
A student who is not a citizen or resident of the U.S. who intends to attend or is attending a college, university or other post-secondary educational institution.

ISIR: see Institutional Student Information Record

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Last payment amount
The amount of the last payment the lender has received from the borrower. The amount displayed will reflect the amount enclosed with the last specific statement or payment coupon.

Last payment received date
The date the last payment was received. The date displayed will reflect the date the payment was processed by the lender.

Late Fee
An administrative charge that a lender or service agent may assess if a student loan payment is not received on-time.

A financial institution that provides funds to the borrower.

Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit is available to people beyond the first two years of undergraduate studies, graduate students or working U.S. citizens taking classes to improve or upgrade their job skills. It can be used for qualified tuition and related expenses (e.g., tuition and fees, but not room and board or books) paid by the taxpayer. The tax credit equals 20% of the first $10,000 of qualifying educational expenses paid by the taxpayer after January 1, 2003. The maximum credit is $2,000.

Loan balance
The total unpaid amount of a specific loan. This sum includes outstanding principal, capitalized interest, accrued interest, late charges and any miscellaneous fees such as returned check fees.

Loan Number
A unique identifier assigned to represent a specific loan within a customers account.

Loan period
The period of enrollment for which a loan application is certified.

A sum of money borrowed (principal) usually for a specific reason (e.g., to obtain an education, buy a car, etc.). The entity lending the money (e.g., a bank) usually charges interest for use of the money. The amount of money borrowed is typically repaid with interest over a period of time. Complete terms and conditions are detailed.

Loan Status
Indicates the condition or standing of the student loan at any point within the loans life cycle. Examples would include "In-School" or "Repayment" statuses.

Loan Servicer
A company that handles all the administrative tasks associated with a loan, such as establishing repayment terms, handling deferment and forbearance requests, and accepting and collecting payments.

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Master Promissory Note (MPN)
A legally binding agreement the borrower signs, in which the borrower promises to repay the loan with interest in periodic installments. Under a Master Promissory Note (MPN) the borrower may receive multiple loans for either a single period or multiple periods of enrollment. If uses as a multi-year note, most borrowers will sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) once and the note remains valid for a 10 year period for reuse.

To enroll as a member of a body and especially of a college or university.

Merit-based Aid Financial aid based on academic, artistic, athletic or other merit-oriented criteria (no financial need).

MPN: see Master Promissory Note

Multiple Disbursements
Loan proceeds that are paid in more than one check or electronic transaction. For example, a portion of the loan may be sent to the school to be applied towards the first quarter of school , then another for the second quarter of school and finally the balance sent at a later day to be applied toward the third quarter of school.

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National Student Loan Clearinghouse
An organization that provides a electronic transfer of enrollment updates service to schools, the school reports the enrollment information to the organization which then transmits the enrollment information to lenders and servicing agencies accordingly.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, the Pell Grant program, and other ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and Pell grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or Pell grant data.

Need Analysis
The process that determines the student's need for financial assistance. The process evaluates the total cost of attendance compared to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to provide options to cover the remaining unpaid balance to attend the student's school of choice.

Need-based Aid
Financial Aid awarded based on the family's ability to pay for college. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is typically used to determine a family's eligibility for need-based aid.

Need-Blind Admissions
The school decides whether to offer admission to a student without considering the student's or family can pay toward the cost of education.

Need-Sensitive Admissions
The school takes the student's financial situation into account for some admissions decisions.

Net Amount
The total amount of money sent to the school or escrow agent by a lender after deduction of any guarantee or origination fees.

Net Cost of Attendance or Net Price
What a student pays to attend a higher education institution; the college's cost of attendance minus money for college that does not have to be repaid, including grants and scholarships.

Non-Direct Lending Schools
Institutions of higher education which have chosen to place their student's federally insured student loans through the Federal Family Education Loan program (FFEL). In the FFEL program, borrowers choose a lender from which to borrow and the lender then obtains a loan guarantee from a state or private non-profit guarantee agency. Following the passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 26, 2010 the FFEL program was eliminated, and no subsequent loans were permitted to be made under the program after June 30, 2010.

NSLDS: see National Student Loan Data System

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Original Loan Balance
The beginning principal balance of a loan, which would include any origination and/or guarantee fees deducted from the loan balance.

A process to manage incoming applications through disbursement of a loan utilized by a lender or servicing agency. This process typically includes; evaluation of the information provided on the application to ensure it is complete, credit response processing, guarantee and certification of the loan application prior to disbursement of funds to the school.

Origination Fee
A sum charged by the federal government on FDSL loans to offset the cost of processing the loan. The amount of the fee is deducted from the principal balance of the loan by the lender and paid to the U.S. Department of Education.

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A financial aid administrator's attempt at combining various types of student aid (grants, loans, scholarship and employment) to attempt to meet a student's financial need.

Parents' Contribution
A quantitative estimate - calculated by the federal government - of the parents' ability to contribute to post-secondary educational expenses.

Part-time Student
An undergraduate who is enrolled for fewer than 12 credit hours per quarter or equivalent. A graduate student who is enrolled for fewer hours than the college's standard to be considered a full-time student.  Does not include audited courses.

Past Due Amount
The total unpaid balance from payments previously due on an account.

Payment Schedule
A summary of the repayment terms of a loan, including the principle balance, finance charge, payment due date, number of payments and interest rate.

Payment Status
Indicates the disposition of an online payment. Scheduled means the payment is waiting to be sent to the banking network. Pending indicates the payment is working its way through the banking clearing house. Payment indicates that the lender has received funds and credited the account. Canceled indicates the payment was stopped before its scheduled date.

Payoff Balance
The total amount required to payoff the loan. It includes the outstanding principal balance plus any unpaid accrued interest and outstanding fees if applicable.

Payoff date
The date on which the loan payoff calculation is based. The ending principal balance, interest, fees, etc. are combined to determine the final payment amount. This date is set 10 days in the future from the date the payoff amount is requested. This is to allow time for the borrower to forward a check in the mail and not leave a small outstanding balance.

Pell Grant: see Federal Pell Grant

Period of enrollment
The period for which aid is made as determined by the school. A period of enrollment coincides with an academic term such as the academic year, semester, trimester or quarter, and starts on the day classes begin.

Perkins Loan: see Federal Perkins Loan

Personal Expenses
One of the typical components of Cost of Attendance (COA). Each college includes an average estimated cost you may incur for purchasing personal items such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc.

PIN: see Personal Identification Number

Personal Identification Number (PIN) see FSA ID
A four-digit number that is used in combination with a student's Social Security number, name and date of birth to identify someone who has the right to access the student's personal information on Federal Student Aid Web sites, such as FAFSA on the Web. Parents of dependent students will also electronically sign a FAFSA and need their own PIN.

NOTE: The PIN was replaced with the FSA ID on May 10, 2015 and is no longer in use.

PLUS Loan: see Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students

Post-secondary Education
A term referring to programs at colleges, technical or vocational schools for individuals extending their education beyond high school.

Poverty Line
The poverty guidelines as published by the Department of Health and Human Services for monthly income.

Preferred Lender List
A college's list of loan providers that they recommend to students.

Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT)
A two-hour test given once a year in October. As with the SAT, there are separate math and verbal scores. In addition, the test also includes a third scored section testing English grammar. Each subject is scored on a scale of 20 to 80 and these scores are combined to create the National Merit Scholarship selection index.

Price of Attendance
An estimate of the student's educational expenses for a period of enrollment, also known as Cost of Attendance.

Prime Rate
The prime interest rate is the rate charged by commercial financial institutions for short-term loans to corporations or individuals whose credit standing is high enough that little risk to the lender is involved in making the loan. This rate fluctuates based on economic conditions and may be different among financial institutions. The prime rate serves as a basis for the interest rates charged for other higher-risk loans.

Principal Balance
The outstanding amount owed, excluding accrued but unpaid interest.

The dollar amount of the loan that must be repaid upon maturity, and upon which interest will be charged.

Priority Filing Date
The date established by the college by which students are encouraged to submit their FAFSA and have the results forwarded to the college to increase their chances of being awarded certain campus-based financial aid. Financial aid funds are limited for students who fail to meet their college's priority filing date.

Privacy Promise
Documented business practices of how a financial institution utilizes and shares personal information obtained.

Private Grant Aid
Non-college grant aid, such as scholarships from community groups or organizations, that does not require repayment.

Private Loan
Private loans provide supplemental funding when other financial aid does not cover costs. Banks or other financial institutions and schools offer these loans (not sponsored by government agencies) to parents and students.

Professional Judgment
For need-based federal aid programs, financial aid administrators can adjust the expected family contribution (EFC), or the cost of attendance (COA), or change the dependency status (with documentation) when extenuating circumstances exist (e.g., if a parent becomes unemployed, disabled or deceased).

Promissory Note
A binding agreement the borrower signs to obtain a loan. The note includes all the terms and conditions of the loan and the borrower's promise to repay the loan with interest.

PSAT: see Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test

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Loan applications generally require the name, address and telephone number for individuals for inquiries such as; to obtain updated contact information for the borrower if the address and/or telephone number on file are outdated. The individuals provided are utilized for references for the borrower's loan application.

A sum of money returned by the school and applied toward the outstanding balance of the loan as unconsummated funds.

Regular student
A regular student is one who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment as an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate or other recognized education credential by that institution.

Repayment Period
The amount of time the borrower has to repay the money borrowed plus interest.

Repayment schedule
The legal addendum to the Promissory Note stating the terms of loan repayment and fulfilling disclosure requirements. The Repayment Schedule is a plan that indicates the total principal and interest due, an installment amount, and the number of installments required to pay the loan in full. The Repayment Schedule also contains the interest rate for the loan(s) included on the schedule, the due date of the first and subsequent installments, and the frequency of installments.

Repayment start date
The date the repayment period begins. For Federal Direct loans, repayment begins on the day following the last day of the grace period. For Federal Direct PLUS and Federal SLS Loans, repayment begins on the date the loan is fully disbursed.

The period during which a physician receives specialized clinical training.

Room and Board
One of the typical components of Cost of Attendance (COA). Each college includes the actual cost it charges if you live on campus, or an estimated cost you may incur for living off campus.

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SAP: see Satisfactory Academic Progress

SAR: see Student Aid Report

SAT: see Scholarship Aptitude Test

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
The academic standards you must meet in college to continue to receive federal financial aid. Each college establishes its own SAP policy to comply with federal requirements.

State Grant Aid
State financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, that does not have to be repaid.

Scholarship Aptitude Test (SAT)
A seven-section, three-hour exam that is administered seven times per year. Three of the sections are verbal, three are math and one is experimental. The experimental section can be either verbal or math. It is used by the test-makers for research purposes only and will not count toward the student’s final average.

Like grants, scholarships are a form of financial aid that is not required to be repaid. These are available from many sources including community groups, schools and private corporations. Scholarships can be awarded based on a variety of criteria including scholastic achievement, hobbies and college majors.

Selective Service Registration
Males born on or after January 1, 1960, at least 18 years old and not currently on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, must register, or arrange to register, with the Selective Service System before their 26th birthday to receive federal student aid. Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau are exempt from registering.

SEOG: see Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Servicer (or Third-Party Servicer)
An organization that acts on behalf of another organization (holder) to conduct billing and collects of loan payments.

Simplified Needs Test
An alternate method of calculating the expected family contribution for families with adjusted gross income less than $50,000, who have filed or are eligible to file an IRS Form 1040A or 1040EZ or who are not required to file an income tax return.

Social Security Number (SSN)
The nine-digit number assigned to the borrower by the Social Security Administration. The SSN is used as an identifier for tracking the borrower's loan account(s), skip tracing, and reporting to the Department. A borrower must have an SSN in order to apply for a FDSL loan.

SSN: see Social Security Number

Standard Repayment Plan
The optimal repayment schedule utilizing consistent monthly payment amounts throughout the entire repayment schedule to ensure the loan balance is satisfied within the allowed 10 year repayment period for federal loans.

A monthly report that reflects the loan balance, amount paid and amount due on the student loan account. Statements typically reflect account activity up to the date the statement is generated. Statements are usually mailed to the borrower and are also available for viewing online.

Student Aid Report (SAR)
A report sent to a student by the government 4 to 6 weeks after submission of the FAFSA form. The report informs the student of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the financial aid for which the student is eligible. College financial aid offices utilize this report information to build a financial aid package for the student.

Student Contribution
A quantitative estimate of the student's ability to contribute to post-secondary education expenses.

Student Loan Interest Deduction
Interest deduction that eligible taxpayers may deduct on their federal income tax return equal to the amount of interest paid during the tax year on any qualified education loan for the period of time as defined by law. The deduction applies to interest paid after December 31, 1997. The Student Loan Interest Deduction is part of the Taxpayers Relief Act of 1997.

Subsidized Loans
A loan on which the government pays the interest for a student while enrolled in school at least half-time and or other deferment.

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T-Bill (91-Day)
Refers to the auction rate determined for 91-day Treasury Bills by the public auction held by the United States Treasury Department. The interest rates for Stafford and FFEL PLUS loans were tied to the auction rates held at certain times of the year.

A length of time in which to repay a loan. The term is usually agreed to by the lender and borrower within the borrower's contract or promissory note. Also refers to language used in legal documents, such as the promissory note, that defines how a loan will be borrowed and repaid. Also refers to some post-secondary educational institutions' academic periods.

Title IV
A section of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, that authorizes federal loan, work and grant education financial assistance programs.

One of the typical components of Cost of Attendance (COA). Each college includes an average estimated cost you may incur for transportation to and from school.  This can vary depending upon whether your permanent residence is in another city/state or if you are a commuting student.

Costs associated with instruction and facilities charged by the school for attendance.

Tuition and Fees
One of the typical components of Cost of Attendance (COA). This is the actual cost the college charges students for providing instructional and other services. Tuition may be charged per term, per course or per credit hour.

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Undocumented students
Students who live in the U.S. and are not U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens and who do not have an Alien Registration Card, visa or other legal documentation; includes students or their families who entered the country legally on tourist visas and chose to stay after their visas expired.

Unmet Need
Difference between a student's total cost of attendance at a specific institution and the student's total available resources, including financial aid.

Undergraduate student
A degree-seeking student at a college or university who has not earned a first bachelor's degree.

Unsubsidized Loans
A loan on which the borrower is always responsible for paying the interest on the loan, while in-school, during deferment, forbearance and grace periods.

Untaxed Income
All income received that is not taxed or may not be reported to the IRS.

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Variable Interest
With a variable interest loan, the interest rate changes periodically.

Verification is a process where colleges and universities confirm the data reported on your FAFSA. Colleges and universities have the authority to contact you for documentation that supports income and other information that you reported.

Verification Worksheet
A form sent by the colleges and universities to students who are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education's Central Processing System.

A person who has engaged in active duty in the U.S. armed forces; or is a National Guard or Reserve enlistee called to active duty for purposes other than training; or who was a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies; and who was released under condition other than dishonorable.

Veterans Educational Benefits
Assistance programs for eligible veterans and/or their dependents for education or training.

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W2 Form
The form listing an employee's wages and tax withheld. Employers are required by the IRS to issue a W2 form for each employee before February 28.

This is an IRS form which taxpayers use to certify that loans meet the definition of qualifying education debt and which allows lenders to report to the IRS the amount of interest paid on student loans as interest which qualifies for possible tax deductions.

Withdrawal Date
The date the student withdraws, as determined by the school. For student's who notify an institution they are leaving, the withdrawal date is considered the date the student begins the school's withdrawal process. For students who receive financial aid, the withdrawal date determines the amount of aid that the school must return and the amount it is able to retain.

Work Study: see Federal Work Study

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