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Financial Aid Office


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150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit

New loan borrowers on or after July 1, 2013, can only receive Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans within 150% of the length of their program of study.  Once a student has reached the end of this limit they are no longer able to receive additional Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans. Top

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

Your or your family's wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus certain deductions from income as reported on a federal income tax return. Commonly referred to as AGI. Top





The addition of unpaid interest to the principal balance of a loan.  When the interest is not paid as it accrues during periods of in-school status, the grace period, deferment, or forbearance, your lender may capitalize the interest. This increases the outstanding principal amount due on the loan and may cause your monthly payment amount to increase. Interest is then charged on that higher principal balance, increasing the overall cost of the loan. Top


The process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan. Top

Cost of Attendance (COA)

The total amount it will cost you to go to school—usually stated as a yearly figure. COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (or a housing and food allowance); and allowances for books, supplies and transportation. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses. Top



Data Release Number (DRN)

The four-digit number assigned to your FAFSA that allows you to release your FAFSA data to schools you did not list on your original FAFSA.  You find this number below the confirmation number on your FAFSA submission confirmation page or in the top right-hand corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR). Top


Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to in the promissory note. For most federal student loans, you will default if you have not made a payment in more than 270 days. You may experience serious legal consequences if you default. Top


A postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans.  All other federal student loans that are deferred will continue to accrue interest. Any unpaid interest that accrued during the deferment period may be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of the loan(s). Top


A loan is delinquent when loan payments are not received by the due dates. A loan remains delinquent until the borrower makes up the missed payment(s) through payment, deferment, or forbearance. If the borrower is unable to make payments, he or she should contact his or her loan servicer to discuss options to keep the loan in good standing. Top

Dependency Status

The determination of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applicant as dependent or independent. Top

Dependent Student

A student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student. An independent student is one 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 someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Top 

Direct Consolidation Loan

A federal loan made by the U.S. Department of Education that allows you to combine one or more federal student loans into one new loan. As a result of consolidation, you will have to make only one payment each month on your federal loans, and the amount of time you have to repay your loan will be extended. Top 

Direct Stafford Loan Program

A federal student loan, made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, for which eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools. Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans and Direct PLUS Loans. Top


The release of a borrower from the obligation to repay his or her loan. Top  



Eligible Noncitizen

A U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island), U.S. permanent resident (who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C [Permanent Resident Card]), or an individual who has an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:


"Asylum Granted" 

"Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending)"

"Conditional Entrant" (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980) 

Victims of human trafficking, T-visa (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.) holder 

"Parolee" (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.) 

If you meet the noncitizen criteria above, you are eligible to receive federal student aid.  If you are unsure of your eligibility, please check with the financial aid office for more information. Top

Emancipated Minor

An individual (under the age of 18) who has legally been determined to be an adult by a court in his or her state of legal residence. Top

Entrance Counseling

A mandatory information session which takes place before you receive your first federal student loan that explains your responsibilities and rights as a student borrower.  This step is completed on Top 

Exit Counseling

A mandatory information session which takes place when you graduate or attend school less than half-time that explains your loan repayment responsibilities and when repayment begins. This step is completed on Top

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA®, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR). Top



Federal School Code

An identifier that the U.S. Department of Education assigns to each college or career school that participates in the federal student aid programs. In order to send your FAFSA information to a school, you must list the school's Federal School Code on your application. Top

Financial Aid Package

The total amount of financial aid (federal and nonfederal) a student is offered by a college or career school. The financial aid office combines various forms of aid into a “package” to help meet a student’s education costs. Top

Financial Need

The difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a school and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). While COA varies from school to school, your EFC does not change based on the school you attend. Top

Fixed Interest Rate

An interest rate on a loan that remains the same for the entire term of the loan. Top


A period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced. Your lender may grant you a forbearance if you are willing but unable to make loan payments due to certain types of financial hardships. During forbearance, principal payments are postponed but interest continues to accrue. Unpaid interest that accrues during the forbearance will be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of your loan(s), increasing the total amount you owe. Top

Foster Care

A temporary living arrangement for dependent children when their parent(s) or another relative cannot take care of them. Top

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application is used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans and work-study. Top 


The FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms. Top



Grace Period

A period of time after borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment where they are not required to make payments on certain federal student loans. Some federal student loans will accrue interest during the grace period, and if the interest is unpaid, it will be added to the principal balance of the loan when the repayment period begins. Top




An individual is considered homeless if he or she lacks fixed, regular and adequate housing. You may be homeless if you are living in a shelter, park, motel or car, or temporarily living with other people because you have nowhere else to go. Also, if you are living in any of these situations and fleeing an abusive parent you may be considered homeless when completing your FAFSA even if your parent would provide support and a place to live.  Please contact the financial aid office if you feel this status applies to you. Top



Independent Student

An independent student is one 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, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Top


A loan expense charged for the use of borrowed money. Interest is paid by a borrower to a lender. The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount of the loan. Top

Interest Rate

The percentage at which interest is calculated on your loan(s). Top

Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant

For students who are not Federal Pell Grant eligible; whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11/01; and who, at the time of the parent's or guardian's death, were less than 24 years old or were enrolled at least part-time at an institution of higher education. Top

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)

The feature that allows students and parents who are using FAFSA on the Web and who have already submitted their federal tax return to electronically retrieve certain tax data from the IRS database for entry on their FAFSA. Top





Legal Guardianship

A relationship created by court order, through which the court appoints an individual other than a minor's parent to take care of the minor. A legal guardian is not considered a parent on the student's FAFSA. In fact, a student in legal guardianship does not need to report parent information on the FAFSA because he or she is considered an independent student. Top

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU)

The amount of all Federal Pell Grant aid (in percentage) awarded to you, divided by the amount of Pell Grant aid you would have been eligible to receive based on full-time enrollment. The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds a student may receive over his or her lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Top

Loan Servicer

A company that collects payments, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a federal student loan on behalf of a lender. If you're unsure of who your federal student loan servicer is, you can look it up at the National Student Loan Data System website. Top



Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. The MPN can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years). It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.  It’s important to read and save your MPN because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.  This step is completed on Top



Net Price Calculator

A tool that allows current and prospective students, families, and other consumers to estimate the net price of attending a particular college or career school. Top




Pell Grant

A federal grant for undergraduate students with financial need. Top


A loan available to graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Top

Private Loan

A nonfederal loan made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency, or school. Top




Regular Student

A student who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized education credential offered by that institution. To be eligible for federal student aid, you must generally be a regular student. Top



Satisfactory Academic Progress

A school’s standards for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by that institution. Standards include: Cumulative GPA, Completion Rate and Program Length. Top


Money awarded to students based on academic or other achievements to help pay for education expenses.  Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid. Top

Selective Service

A federal agency system that collects the names of male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 on a list for potential enrollment into the U.S. military. Males in this age group must register with Selective Service to receive federal aid. Top

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

A federal grant for undergraduate students with financial need.  SEOG funds will be awarded to eligible students until the financial aid office has reached the limit of funds given by the Department of Education. Top

Student Aid Report (SAR)

A report provided to a student by the Department of Education showing the student’s FAFSA information and the amount of his or her EFC.  This is not an award letter. Top

Subsidized Loan

A loan based on financial need for which the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status. Top




Unsubsidized Loan

A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan. Top



Variable Interest Rate

An interest rate on a loan that fluctuates over the term of a loan on the basis of changes in an index that reflects changes in market rates. Top

Verification Process

The process by which the Department of Education selects a student’s FAFSA information for review.  The financial aid office collects documentation on behalf of the government to determine that the FAFSA data is accurate. Top




A federal student aid program that provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses.  Work-Study does not pay tuition, fee, book or supply costs. Top








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