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Financial Aid Definitions

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Application Deadline:

The institution's application deadline date for students applying for financial aid.

Books/Supplies (costs):

Average estimated books/supplies cost, determined by the institutions, used to calculate student's cost of attendance (COA). COA is part of the formula that determines student financial need and ultimately student eligibility for financial aid.

Consolidation Loan:

A loan that combines several student loans into one bigger loan from a single lender. The consolidation loan is used to pay off the balances on the other loans.

Cost of Attendance (COA):

The calculated cost of attending the institution, which includes transportation, room/board, tuition/fees, supplies, books and other expenses. COA is then used to determine eligibility for financial aid.

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Deadline:

The institution's application deadline date for students applying for financial aid.

Default:

Defaulting on a loan is when the borrower fails to make an installment payment or meet the terms and conditions of the loan, provided the failure persists for 180 days

Deferment:

When the borrower is allowed to postpone repayment of the loan for a specified period of time.

Dependent Student:

Any student who is listed on the federal or state income tax return of his or her parent or legal guardian or who receives more than half of his or her financial support from their parents or legal guardian.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC):

The amount a family is expected to contribute towards the cost of attendance as determined by the Federal Methodology need analysis formula. 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.

Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDSLP):

A loan provided by the US government directly to students and their parents through their schools. The FDSLP includes the Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) and the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).

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Federal Gift Aid:

The PELL Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, and other federal aid, such as grants and scholarships that need not be repaid back to the government.

Federal Methodology:

A formula used to calculate the amount of money that you and your family are expected to pay for college. This formula, established by Congress, is used nationwide for all students. The most important factors in the formula are: the income, assets and net worth of your parents; your income and assets; and the size of your family.

Federal Plus Loans:

Federal loans available to parents of dependent undergraduate students as a way to help finance the child's education. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of their children's education, less the amount of any other financial aid received. PLUS Loans may be used to pay the EFC.

Federal Subsidized Loan:

A loan where the government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school, during the six-month grace period and during any deferment periods. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need.

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Federal Unsubsidized Loan:

A loan for which the government does not pay the interest. The borrower is responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized loan from the date the loan is disbursed, even while the student is still in school.

FICE Code:

The six-digit institutional identifier assigned to each higher education (two-year and above) institution by the Federal Interagency Committee on Education.

Financial Aid Package:

The total amount of financial aid a student is to receive. It may include grant, work-study, and loan funds from a variety of sources, and is assembled by the school's financial aid office.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA):

A free application that must be completed by all students and parents who apply for federal student aid.

Full-Time Student:

Students enrolled for at least 12 credit hours per semester or its equivalent at the undergraduate level and enrolled for at least 9 credit hours per semester or its equivalent at the graduate level. Does not include audited courses.
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Gift Aid:

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

Graduate Student:

A student who is enrolled in a Master's or Doctoral program at a college or university.

Grant:

A type of financial aid based on financial need that the student does not have to repay.

Independent Student:

Any student whose parents have surrendered the right to his care, custody and earnings, do not claim him as a dependent on federal or state income tax returns, and have ceased to provide him substantial financial support.

Institution Gift Aid:

Financial aid from the college or university, such as tuition waivers, grants and scholarships which does not need to be repaid.

Institution Loans:

Student loans provided by the college or university.
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Interest:

The fee charged to borrow money. Interest charges are in addition to the principal of the loan.

Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP):

The LEAP Program provides grants to states to assist them in providing need-based grant and community service work-study assistance to eligible postsecondary students. Virginia combines LEAP with State dollars to fund the College Scholarship Assistance Program.

Loan:

A type of financial aid which must be repaid, with interest.

Part-Time Student:

Students enrolled for fewer than 12 credit hours per semester or its equivalent at the undergraduate level and enrolled for fewer than 9 credit hours per semester or its equivalent at the graduate level. Does not include audited courses.

PELL Grant:

Federal grant that provides funds based on the student's financial need. This does not need to be repaid.
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Perkins Loan:

Formerly the National Direct Student Loan Program, the Perkins Loan allows students to borrow up to $3,000/year (5 year max) for undergraduate school and $5,000/year (6 year max) for graduate school . The Perkins Loan has one of the lowest interest rates and is awarded by the school's financial aid office to students with exceptional financial need. The student must have applied for a Pell Grant to be eligible. The interest on the Perkins Loan is subsidized while the student is in school.

Personal Expenses:

Part of the calculated student cost of attendance that includes the estimated student cost of personal effects such as laundry, tooth paste, etc.

Plus Loans:

Federal loans available to parents of dependent undergraduate students as a way to help finance the child's education. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of their children's education, less the amount of any other financial aid received. PLUS Loans may be used to pay the EFC.

Principle:

The amount borrowed by the student before interest is charged.
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Private Gift Aid:

Non-institutional gift aid, such as scholarships from community groups and organizations.

Private Loans:

Education loan programs established by private lenders to supplement the student and parent education loan programs available from federal and state governments.

Promissory Note:

The legal document signed by the borrower prior to receiving a loan. Besides containing a promise to repay the loan, it lists the conditions of the loan and terms for repayment.

Remaining Need:

The amount of need remaining after the estimated family contribution and gift aid is subtracted from cost of attendance.
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Room/Board:

The actual on-campus room/board charges or estimated off-campus room/board charges, determined by the institutions, used to calculate student's cost of attendance (COA).

Self-Help:

Financial aid in the form of loans and work-study.

Special Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (SLEAP) Program:

The SLEAP Program assists states in providing grants, scholarships, and community service work-study assistance to eligible postsecondary education students who demonstrate financial need. Virginia uses SLEAP to fund the Higher Education Teacher Assistance Program.

Subsidized Loan:

A loan where the government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school, during the six-month grace period and during any deferment periods. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need.

Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG):

A federal grant program for undergraduate students with exceptional need. These grants are awarded by the school's financial aid office, and provide up to $4,000 annually. To qualify, a student must also be a recipient of a Pell Grant.

State Gift Aid:

State financial aid, such as grants and scholarships, which is not repaid back.

Student Aid Report (SAR):

The SAR summarizes the information you included on the FAFSA. The SAR will tell you your EFC and whether you are eligible for a Pell Grant. You should receive your SAR 4-6 weeks after you submit your FAFSA to the processor.
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Title IV School Code:

The Title IV School code, a six-character college or university identifier.

Transportation (costs):

The estimated transportation costs, determined by the institution, that are used to calculate a student's cost of attendance (COA).

Tuition/Fees:

Amount of money charged to students for instructional or other services. Tuition may be charged per term, per course, or per credit.

Undergraduate Student:

A student who is enrolled in an Associate's or Bachelor's degree program at a college or university.

Unmet need:

The amount of need remaining after estimated family contribution, Gift Aid and self-help are subtracted from cost of attendance.

Unsubsidized Loan:

A loan for which the government does not pay the interest. The borrower is responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized loan from the date the loan is disbursed, even while the student is still in school.

Work Study:

A federal program providing undergraduate and graduate students with part-time employment during the school year.