Glossary

Confused? Financial Aid has a language all its own! Check out this list of commonly used financial aid acronyms and phrases. 

How does your AGI relate to your EFC and does your COA make you eligible for FSEOG? 

  • AY - Academic Year:  The student's enrollment period for which financial assistance/aid is offered. The federal definition of academic year is July 1 through June 30.
     
  • AGI - Adjusted Gross Income:  Income figure on federal tax returns used to perform need analysis.
     
  • Borrower:  A person who obtains a loan and must repay it
     
  • COA:  Cost of Attendance - An estimate of a student's total education expenses for an enrollment period
     
  • DL:   Direct Loan Program - A federal program through which the U.S. Department of Education offers four types of student loans: subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), and Federal Consolidation Loans
     
  • EFC:   Expected Family Contribution - the amount a family can reasonably be expected to pay for a student's education, calculated by the Central Processing System based on the information contained on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a federal need-analysis formula.
     
  • Entrance Counseling:   Before a school delivers federal (and institutional) student loan proceeds, students are required by federal regulation to complete an entrance counseling session.
     
  • Exit Counseling:   Before graduating or dropping below half-time attendance, a student is required by federal regulation to complete an exit counseling session.
     
  • FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid: The standard form students must complete to apply for federal and state need-based assistance/aid programs and, in some circumstances, campus-based assistance/aid
     
  • FM - Federal Methodology:   The Federal need analysis formula used to determine a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
     
  • Federal PLUS Loan Program:    Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students Loan Program, a loan program that is not need-based and is designed for parents with dependent students
     
  • FSEOG - Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program: A campus-based Title IV grant program
     
  • FWS - Federal Work-Study:   A campus-based Title IV employment program
     
  • Financial Need:   The difference between a student's total cost of attendance, the expected family contribution, and any student financial assistance the student will receive. A student must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for need-based financial assistance/aid programs
     
  • Fixed Interest Rates:    Interest rates that do not change during the life of the loan
     
  • Forbearance:   Permission to postpone or reduce payments
     
  • Grant:   Financial assistance/aid that does not have to be repaid
     
  • IRS:   Internal Revenue Service
     
  • MPN:   Master Promissory Note
     
  • NSLDS:   National Student Loan Data System - A database comprised of information from guarantors, schools, lenders, and the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) that contains data on Title IV student financial assistance.
     
  • Need Analysis:   A set of financial criteria and standards, established by the U.S. Department of Education and approved by Congress, that is used to determine a student's financial need for need-based programs.  Institutional eligibility is determined by Institutional Need Analysis criteria and standards.
     
  • Self-Help:   Financial assistance/aid that the student earns, such as work-study funds, or must repay, such as loans
     
  • Sub Loan:   Need-based loan program for which the federal government pays the interest to the lender on the student's behalf while the student is enrolled at least half time, during the grace period, and during periods of authorized deferment
     
  • Unsub:   Also known as an unsubsidized federal direct loan.  A non-need-based loan for which the federal government does not pay any of the accrued interest on behalf of the student. Interest begins to accrue on the loan as soon as it is disbursed, and the student may choose to pay the interest as it accrues or defer it as long as he or she remains enrolled at least half time in an eligible school.