In the process of paying for college, you're sure to hear words
and acronyms related to financial aid that you've never heard
before. Here are some key terms you'll need to know:
Academic Service Fees: Fees assessed to
students for certain courses of instruction or academic services in
addition to tuition and mandatory fees. These services may include,
but are not limited to, special instruction, testing, and obtaining
laboratory supplies and materials.
AGI: Adjusted Gross Income. Most financial aid
forms require parents or students to state their taxable AGI based
on income minus maximum allowable adjustments.
Alternative Loans: Private student loans, from
banks or other lending institutions, that are not federally
supported or guaranteed. Students must be enrolled to apply for
Capitalized Interest: Unpaid interest that is
added to the original amount of a loan. Capitalized interest
increases the size of a loan, because the borrower is paying
interest on their interest.
Career Schools: Also known as technical,
vocational or trade schools. The schools may be public or private,
although many are for-profit businesses; typically offer programs
that are two years or less; and provide students with formal
classes and hands-on experience related to their future career
interests, from welding to cosmetology to medical imaging.
Technical schools teach the science behind the occupation, while
vocational schools focus on hands-on application of skills needed
to do the job. Students may earn a diploma or a certificate,
prepare for a licensing exam, or study to begin work as an
apprentice or journeyman in a skilled trade.
Community College: Also known as a "two-year
college," an institution that grants associate degrees for transfer
to universities or for career preparation. Community colleges
usually offer flexible class schedules with smaller class sizes.
They are known as open-door institutions because performance
standards (standardized test scores or combination of class rank
and GPA) are not required for admission. The public community
colleges in Oklahoma are:
- Carl Albert State College, Poteau and Sallisaw
- Connors State College, Warner and Muskogee
- Eastern Oklahoma State College, Wilburton and McAlester
- Murray State College, Tishomingo and Ardmore
- Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, Miami
- Northern Oklahoma College, Tonkawa, Enid and Stillwater
- Oklahoma City Community College
- Redlands Community College, El Reno
- Rose State College, Midwest City
- Seminole State College, Seminole
- Tulsa Community College
- Western Oklahoma State College, Altus
Cost of Attendance
(COA): The estimated total cost of attending a college for
one year. This amount includes tuition, fees, room and board,
books, supplies and travel expenses. The amount of your federal aid
can't be greater than your total cost of attendance
Credit (also Credit Hour): Credit given for
attending one lecture hour of class each week for 16 weeks or
equivalent. Most college classes are three credit hours, meaning
the total meeting time for a week is three hours. To calculate the
cost for one course, multiply the number of credit hours the class
is worth by the total tuition and mandatory fees per credit
CSS Profile: The College Scholarship Service
Profile. This is a financial aid form that many colleges and
universities use to determine how much nonfederal financial aid a
student may be eligible for.
Default: Failure of a borrower to repay his or
her student loan according to the terms agreed upon when the
promissory note was signed. Defaulted accounts are reported to the
major consumer reporting agencies, which may affect a borrower's
ability to get credit in the future.
Deferment: An authorized period of time during
which a student loan borrower may postpone principal payments
and/or interest payments. For example, students may seek a
deferment on undergraduate loan payments while in graduate
Dependent Person: One who is under the care,
custody and support of a parent or legal guardian.
Direct PLUS Loan (parent loan): A
non-need-based loan available to parents with a good credit history
to help pay educational expenses of a dependent, undergraduate
student who's enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
Direct Subsidized Loan: A need-based education
loan for undergraduate students for which interest is paid by the
federal government while the student is in school and during
specified periods, such as deferment.
Direct Unsubsidized Loan: A non-need-based loan
for undergraduate and graduate students for which interest isn't
paid by the federal government. Borrowers are responsible for all
interest accrued on unsubsidized loans from the date the loan is
EFA: Estimated Financial Aid. This is the
amount of financial aid a student will likely be eligible for. The
figure is calculated based on all required financial aid forms.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount
a student and his or her family may be expected to pay toward
college expenses for one academic year. This amount is calculated
based on the information supplied by the student and parents on the
FAA: Financial Aid Administrator. An FAA is a
college or university employee involved in the administration of
financial aid. Also known as financial aid advisors, officers or
FAF: Financial Aid Form. This is the generic
term used for any financial aid form.
FAFSA: See Free Application for Federal Student
Direct Student Loan Program. Through this program, student loans
are provided directly to the student from the federal government,
rather than through commercial lenders.
Federal Direct Loan: Loans offered to eligible
students by the U.S. Department of Education. To qualify, students
must be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program at
least half-time. The loans may be subsidized (need-based, typically
for low-income students) or unsubsidized (not need-based, so any
student is eligible). Students apply by filling out the FAFSA.
Federal School Code (also Title IV Institution
Code): The six-character institution code for each
college, campus or program. Students must include the codes related
to each of their college applications when filling out the FAFSA.
These codes are available by contacting the school or checking an
Federal Student Aid: The U.S. Department of
Education's website, StudentAid.gov, allows students to submit a
FAFSA, learn about the types of financial aid they may be eligible
to receive, and manage student loan repayment.
Federal Work-Study (student
employment): A program providing part-time jobs for
undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing
them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. The program
encourages community service employment and work related to each
student's course of study.
FFELP: Federal Family Education Loan Program.
This federally guaranteed student loan program ended June 30, 2010.
All new loans are through the Department of Education's Direct Loan
Financial Aid: Money provided to the student
and/or parents to help pay for the student's education. Major forms
of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and
self-help aid (loans and work-study).
Financial Need: The difference between the
college's cost of attendance and the expected family contribution,
minus any other financial aid received, is the student's financial
need. Financial aid packages are based on the amount of financial
need calculated or determined.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA): A federal form required each year to apply for
federal student aid. Forms are available online at FAFSA.gov. The
information provided on this form is used to determine the
student's expected family contribution (EFC), which allows
financial aid offices to identify the types of aid the student is
eligible to receive.
FSEOG: Federal Supplemental Educational
Opportunity Grant. This federal government program provides
need-based grants to low-income college students and is
administered through the school's financial aid office.
Full-Time Student: An undergraduate student
enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester in an
academic year or a minimum of six credit hours in a summer session
or a graduate student enrolled in a minimum of nine credit hours
per semester in an academic year or a minimum of four credit hours
in a summer session. The definition of full-time summer enrollment
for financial aid purposes may be different, so check with the
financial aid office at the college or university you're
Grace Period: A transition period - generally
six months following the date a borrower leaves school or drops
below half-time enrollment status - during which the borrower isn't
required to make student loan payments. This period is designed to
help the borrower prepare for repayment.
Grant: Aid that's usually based on financial
need and doesn't have to be repaid.
GSL: Guaranteed Student Loan. Now called a
Federal Direct Loan.
Half-Time Student: An undergraduate student
enrolled in at least six credit hours or a graduate student
enrolled in at least five credit hours, or the equivalent, in one
semester or academic term.
One enjoying majority privileges (or legally emancipated from
the parental domicile) and who is responsible for his or her own
care, custody and support.
Interest: A fee charged for the use of borrowed
money. Interest is calculated as a percentage of the principal loan
amount. The rate may remain constant throughout the life of the
loan (fixed rate) or it may change at specified times (variable
Lender: A financial institution (e.g., bank,
savings and loan or credit union) that loans funds to students and
parents for educational costs through the private or alternative
loan program. These loans typically have higher interest rates and
less favorable repayment options than federal loans.
Loan: Borrowed money that must be repaid with
Mandatory Fees: Fees required of all students
for enrollment at an Oklahoma higher education institution.
Master Promissory Note (MPN): A legal agreement
that lists conditions under which a federal student loan is
borrowed and the terms under which the borrower agrees to repay the
loan with interest. It allows a borrower to receive loans for
either a single academic year or multiple academic years.
National Merit Scholarship Program: Program
that administers the PSAT/NMSQT exam. Students who do well on the
PSAT/NMSQT may qualify for scholarships. A few students receive
full scholarships. (see PSAT/NMSQT)
Need-Based: Financial aid reserved for
Nonresident: Students who do not live in the
state where the school they are applying to, or attending, is
located. It also includes students who haven't lived in the state
long enough to be considered residents.
NSLDS: National Student Loan Data System.
Students can access their Title IV federal student loan and grant
information in their Federal Student Aid accounts at StudentAid.gov
in a section now called Aid Summary.
Parent Contribution: The amount of money
parents are expected to be able to contribute to their child's
Part-Time Student: A student who is enrolled in
a certain number of course credits or hours which are less than
full time. For an undergraduate student, this is usually less than
12 credits or hours. For a graduate student, it is usually less
than nine credits or hours.
Pell Grant: The federal program that provides
need-based educational grants for low-income students. Because they
are grants, they do not have to be repaid.
PLUS: Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students.
These federally guaranteed loans are available for parents of
Private (Independent and Proprietary) Colleges and
Universities: Schools not affiliated with a government
organization. They may be nonprofit colleges, such as those run by
private foundations or religious denominations, or they may be
for-profit businesses, such as many career, online or technical
schools. Since private schools receive less or no money from the
state and local government, they usually cost the same whether you
live in or outside of the state. This cost is often higher than the
cost of attending a public school in your state.
Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is
used to determine the recipients of National Merit Scholarships. It
is also a practice test for freshmen, sophomores and juniors for
the SAT, like the PSAT. Only juniors may qualify for
Public Liberal Arts University: An institution
that grants bachelor's degrees in arts and science fields,
including humanities. A public liberal arts university tends to
have smaller class sizes that facilitate close interaction between
faculty and students. Oklahoma's public liberal arts university is
the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, located in
Regional University: A university that offers
bachelor's and master's degrees, and in some instances, associate
or professional degrees. While regional universities focus
primarily on instruction, they are also responsible for extension
and public service, as well as some research. They tend to have
mid-sized student populations and campuses. The public regional
universities in Oklahoma are:
- Cameron University, Lawton and Duncan
- East Central University, Ada
- Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa
- Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Broken Arrow and
- Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, Enid and
- Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Goodwell
- Rogers State University, Bartlesville, Claremore and Pryor
- Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant and Idabel
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford and
- University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond
Research University: A university that grants
bachelor's, graduate and professional degrees and offers a wide
variety of courses and degree programs. Along with instruction,
research institutions also focus on research, extension and public
service. Research universities usually have large student bodies
and expansive campuses. Oklahoma's two research universities are
Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and the University of
Oklahoma in Norman.
Resident (Oklahoma): One who has lived
continuously in a state for at least 12 months duration and whose
domicile is in that state. A person's domicile is his or her true,
fixed, permanent home or habitation. It is the place where he or
she intends to remain and to which he or she expects to return. A
person can have more than one residence, but only one domicile.
Domicile has two components: residence and the intention to remain.
When these two occur, domicile is established.
ROTC: Reserve Officers Training Corps. In this
program, the military pays a student's tuition or other expenses.
The student takes part in summer training while in college, and
commits to military service after college.
SAR: Student Aid Report. This report summarizes
the information entered on your FAFSA form, and shows the amount of
your Expected Family Contribution.
Scholarships: Financial awards given for a
variety of reasons, such as good grades, special talents or career
plans. Scholarships don't have to be repaid.
State (Public) Colleges and Universities:
Colleges and universities that receive funding from state taxes to
pay part of operating costs.
Student Contribution: The amount a student is
expected to contribute to his or her educational expenses.
SUB: Subsidized Federal Direct Loan. (see
Federal Direct Loan)
Technical Branch: Institution that has a
special emphasis on education and training in technical fields.
Some technical branches offer academic courses and programs, but
not all institutions offer two-year programs (nontechnical) that
lead to an associate degree that transfers to universities.
Oklahoma's two technical branches are Oklahoma State University
Institute of Technology in Okmulgee and OSU-Oklahoma City.
Technology Center: A school that prepares
students to enter a specialized career, trade or vocation.
Title IV Institution Code: See Federal School
Tribal College: A college controlled and
operated by a Native American tribe that provides accredited
degrees and/or vocational training for both Native American and
non-Native American students. Tribal colleges include Native
American culture, language and/or traditions in their course
Tribal Grant: Financial assistance given by
many Native American tribes to help their members pay college
expenses. Qualifications and grant amounts vary by tribe.
Tuition: Payment that students make to cover
costs of their classes at public and private colleges and
universities. Other fees may be also required.
UNSUB: Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. (see
Federal Direct Loan)
U.S. Department of Education: A government
agency that oversees education and federal student aid in the
Work-Study Programs: Provide students with
part-time jobs during the school year as part of their financial
aid package. The jobs are often located on campus.