Financial Aid Glossary

Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

General Financial Aid Terminology

Award Letter – Official notification of the types of aid a student can receive to help pay for school
Award Response Form – Official paper that the student sends back to the FA Office accepting or declining parts of the aid offer
Book Money – Extra money that can be used to purchase books only after Tuition and Fees and Residential Fees (if applicable) are paid
Cost of Attendance (COA) – The maximum amount of aid a student can receive (Includes Tuition, living expenses, and other items such as books, loan fees, travel, and miscellaneous)
Dependent Student – A student who does not meet the requirement to be Independent. The FAFSA will require the use of parental information.
Eligible Non-Citizen – A US Permanent Resident cardholder or someone who has an Arrival-Departure Card (I-94 with certain descriptions.  This person can apply for financial aid. (Must have a social security number that is not “Valid for Work Only.”)
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – The # assigned after the completion of the FAFSA. It represents the amount the students’ family should be able to afford to pay towards the students’ education. The FA Office uses this to determine the aid offer.
FAFSA – Free Application for Financial Aid, Never pay for this.
FSAID (Student) –  A unique username and password used to sign FA items electronically. See
FSAID (Parent) – A unique username and password used to sign FA items electronically. See
Full Time (FT) – 12 credit hours or more in a  semester
Grant – Free funding that is not repaid
Half Time (HT) – 6 to 8 credit hours in a semester. Students must take at least 6 credits to borrow federal student loans.
Independent Student – Someone who is at least 24, married, working on a Master’s or Doctorate degree, veteran, active duty military, orphan or ward of the court, or at risk of being homeless. The school will make the final determination and may request additional information.
Legal Custody – A relationship created by the court system, in which a person’s physical living arrangements should be with someone other than the parent. This student may not be considered an Independent Student. The student should contact the FA office for further assistance.
Legal Guardianship – A relationship created by the court system, in which another person (not a parent) takes care of the minor. This student is Independent for aid purposes.
Less than Half Time (<HT) – 1-5 credits hours in a semester. Students are NOT eligible for federal student loans. Some students may be eligible for a reduced amount of Federal Pell Grant.
Parent  – Mother or father (biological, step-parent, or adoptive) Anyone else IS NOT considered a parent for FAFSA purposes.
Parent Loan – Money that is borrowed by the parent to help pay for school. This has to be repaid with interest.
Refund – The amount of aid left over after Tuition and Fees, and Residential Fees (if applicable) are paid.
Residential Fees – See Tuition & Fees page.
Scholarship – Free funding that is not repaid
School Code – Chowan‘s school code is 002916.
Student Aid Report (SAR) – The students’ copy of the FAFSA. Review to see if any changes need to be made.
Student Loan – Money that is borrowed by the student to help pay for school. This has to be repaid (sometimes with interest).
Three-Quarter Time (3/4 time) – 9-11 credits hours a semester.
Tuition and Fees – See Tuition & Fees page.
Verification – The federal government randomly selects 30% of all FAFSA applications to ‘confirm’ the items they listed on the FAFSA. The FA Office will request certain forms from the student and parent.
Work-Study – A program that helps students obtain part-time jobs, primarily on campus. Funds are very limited.

Loan Terminology

Consolidation – The process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan
Default – 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.
Deferment – A postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions 
Delinquent – A loan is delinquent when loan payments are not received by the due dates.
Disbursement – Payment of federal student aid funds to the student by the school
Disclosure Statement – Provides the borrower with information about the actual cost of the loan, including the interest rate, origination, insurance, loan fees, and any other types of finance charges.
Entrance Counseling – A mandatory information session that takes place before you receive your first federal student loan that explains your responsibilities and rights as a student borrower.
Exit Counseling – A mandatory information session that takes place when you graduate or attend school less than half-time that explains your loan repayment responsibilities and when repayment begins.
Financial Responsibility Night – Annual Event hosted by Financial Aid to bring awareness to student lending.
Forbearance – A period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced. 
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. 
Interest – The percentage at which interest is calculated on your loan(s).
Master Promissory Note – The binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. 
New Borrower – Someone who has no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan when he or she receives a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan on or after a specific date.
NSLDS – National Student Loan Data System Students can view information regarding grants, loans, and their enrollment at any school.
Parent PLUS Loan – A loan available to parents of dependent undergraduate students in which the parent is responsible for paying.
Private Loan – A loan made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, or state.
Servicer – A servicer is a business that collects payments on a loan and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a loan portfolio. 
Subsidized Stafford 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. 
Unsubsidized Stafford 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.