When you’re looking into the expense of college and other options (and how to pay for them), you’ll run into lots of initials, acronyms and words that are new to you. Here are some common ones to be aware of:
Official letter from the college financial aid office that lists all the financial aid awarded to the student.
The university office responsible for billing and collections.
Cost of Attendance (COA)
Usually stated as a yearly figure, it includes tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal and incidental expenses.
Indication of whether student attends full or part time. Typically, students must be enrolled at least half time (and in some cases full time) to qualify for financial aid.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The dollar amount that a family is expected to pay toward a student’s educational costs. EFC is based on family earnings, assets, students in college and family size.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The application students must complete to apply for virtually all forms of financial aid. It is recommended that students begin filling out the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available on October 1 each year. (See more about the FAFSA on page 41.)
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
These are federal grants for students with exceptional financial need (as determined by the college).
Federally sponsored Work-Study (FWS) Program provides undergraduate and graduate students with school-year, part-time employment. Eligibility is based on financial need.
Financial Aid Package
The total amount of financial aid a student receives, including grants, loans, and federal work-study.
The difference between the student’s educational costs and the Expected Family Contribution.
Grants and scholarships that do not need to be repaid.
Financial aid based on academic, artistic, athletic or other merit-oriented criteria (not financial need).
The process used by a college to evaluate an applicant’s financial resources and determine how much the student or family can pay toward the cost of education.
Federal grant program for undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and have not yet completed a baccalaureate degree.
PLUS Loans (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students)
Federal loans available to parents of dependent undergraduate students to help finance their child’s education.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
A school’s policy concerning the minimum number of courses that must be completed each semester, the maximum time frame, and the minimum GPA required to receive financial aid.
A form of financial assistance that does not require repayment or employment and which is usually offered to students who show potential for distinction, or who possess certain characteristics important to the scholarship provider (such as religious beliefs, hobbies, ethnicity, etc.).
Student Aid Report (SAR)
The official notification sent to students after submitting the FAFSA. Students may be required to submit their SAR to the college’s financial aid office.