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Financial Aid Glossary

By Kay Peterson, Ph. D.

January 04, 2013

Academic Year: The period in which school is in session – typically September through May.

Accrual Date: The date on which interest charges on an educational loan begin to accrue.

Adjusted Available Income: The remaining income after taxes and a basic living allowance have been subtracted (in the Federal Methodology).

Assets: Cash in checking and savings accounts, trusts, stocks, bonds, other securities, real estate (excluding home), income-producing property, business equipment, and business inventory. Considered in determining expected family contribution (EFC).

Asset Protection Allowance: The portion of parents’ assets that are not included in the calculation of the parent contribution (calculated by Federal Methodology formula).

Assistantship: A type of student employment; usually refers to a student teaching or research position.

Associate Degree: A two-year college degree.

Award Letter: Official letter from the college financial aid office that lists all the financial aid awarded to the student.

Bachelor’s Degree" A four-year college degree.

Budget: The estimated cost of attendance for a student at an institution: typically includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, personal expenses and transportation.

Bursar’s Office: The university office responsible for the billing and collection of university charges.

Campus-Based Programs: U.S. Department of Education federal student aid programs administered by colleges and universities. Includes: Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS).

Central Processing System (CPS): The computer system that receives the student’s need analysis data. The Central Processing System performs database matches and calculates the official Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and sends out the Student Aid Report (SAR).

Collateral: Property used to secure a loan which can be seized if the borrower defaults on a loan.

Commercial Lender: A commercial bank, savings and loan association, credit union, stock savings bank, trust company or mutual savings bank.

Commuter Student: A student who lives at home and travels to school.

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