Terms and Definitions

Alternative Education Loans
Loans that are designed specifically for students enrolled in college. Terms differ between lending institutions, but most offer deferred principal payments while student is enrolled in a college.

Cost of Attendance (COA)
The approximate total amount it may cost a student to attend a college. This can include tuition, room, boards, fees, travel, books, personal and other miscellaneous charges. The COA is determined by the college and every college is different.

Dependent Student
If you do not meet the terms of the Independent Student, you are considered a dependent by federal guidelines.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
EFC is the amount a family is expected to contribute to the student’s education. The amount is determined by the federal methodology as determined by Congress.

Federal Need
Federal need is determined by taking the COA and subtracting a student’s EFC. The federal need helps determine the student’s financial aid package.

Federal Work-Study
Federal program that provides eligible students with part time employment. Students are paid directly. Students have the ability to complete a payroll deduction form to have a portion or all of their work-study paycheck applied to their student account.

Full Time Student
As an undergraduate, a student must be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester to be considered full time.

Independent Student
In order for a student to be considered an independent student, the student must be able to answer “Yes” to at least one of the following:

  • Will you be 24 years of age as of January 1 of the academic year?
  • Are you enrolled in a graduate program? (You must have already received a bachelor’s degree)
  • Do you have children you support?
  • Are you a Veteran of the US Armed Forces?
  • Are you an orphan or ward of the court?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training?

Outside Scholarship
A scholarship that comes from a source other than the federal or state government or institution.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
In order to continue receiving financial aid from one year to the next, a student must maintain SAP.

Undergraduate Student
A student who is enrolled in an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree program.