Glossary of Important Terms
Academic Year- beginning the first day of classes in the fall semester and concluding the last day of exams in the spring semester.
Award Letter- the official document, issued by the office of financial aid, which lists all the financial aid awarded to the student.
COA (cost of attendance)- the budgeted amount of attendance for a college or university and includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, and miscellaneous expenses. Generally this estimate is higher than the published cost to attend a school, and is used in conjunction with a student’s EFC to determine the student’s aid eligibility.
Dependent Student- student who does not meet the criteria to be independent. (See Independent Student)
Disbursement- the act of placing funds in the student’s account.
EFC (expected family contribution)- when the FAFSA has been processed, the federal government uses a formula to determine the amount a student and his/her family are expected to contribute toward the student’s education for an academic year.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)- the federal application required for all need-based grants, loans, and work study, as well as non-need based unsubsidized federal Stafford loans and PLUS loans.
Grants- financial aid a student does not have to pay back later.
Independent Student- a student who meets at least one of the following criteria:
• Is 23 years of age or older
• Is married
• Has legal dependents other than spouse
• Is an orphan or ward of the court (or was ward of the court until age 18)
• Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (this does not include students in ROTC or the Reserves).
SAR (student aid report)- four to six weeks after a student sends his/her FAFSA to the government, the student receives this form in the mail. Included in the form is the student’s EFC. Copies of the SAR are also sent to the schools the student lists on the FAFSA.
Verification- when a student completes the FAFSA, it may be randomly selected for a process called verification. In this process, the government asks the student and the student’s family to submit copies of their tax return to the schools to which the student has applied. In order for the student’s financial aid to be processed at any school, these copies must be submitted as promptly as possible.
Work Study- this type of need-based aid allows a student to work and earn money to help pay for school.
Capitalized- with an unsubsidized loan, the interest will be added to the principal amount of the student’s loan and additional interest will be based upon the higher amount. This increases the amount the student has to repay. The student can choose to pay the interest as it accumulates, which saves the student money in the long run.
Consolidation- a process that allows a borrower to combine various educational loans into one loan. By extending the repayment period and allowing a single monthly payment, consolidation can make loan repayment easier for some borrowers.
Default- a class of loan repayment status for individuals who do not repay their loans. Severe legal and economic repercussions are involved.
Deferment- an authorized period during which a borrower may postpone principal and interest payments. Deferments are granted for graduate studies, Peace Corp work and a limited set of other situations. Contact your lender for details.
Entrance Interview/Counseling- information provided to first-time borrowers within the first 30 days of classes. It ensures that the student knows he/she is borrowing money to finance his/her education and explains the borrowers rights and responsibilities. It is required by the Department of Education and federal loan funds cannot be disbursed until it is completed.
Exit Interview/Counseling- an information session for students preparing to leave college before graduation, leave of absence or withdrawal. Information about total indebtedness and repayment is provided to the student. Exit Counseling is required by the Department of Education.
Grace- the period between the time a borrower leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment and the time they are obligated to begin repayment of their loans- usually six or nine months, depending on the loan type.
Loans- with this aid, students borrow money that they later repay with interest. Several types of loans exist, and amounts and terms differ.
Promissory Note- a legally binding agreement stating the amount an individual borrows and promises to repay the principal with interest.
Repayment- the period when you are repaying the principle and interest of borrowed money. It usually begins after graduation for students with federal loans.
Subsidized Loan- this loan is awarded on the basis of need. The student will not be charged any interest before he/she begins repayment, as the federal government will pay this interest.
Unsubsidized Loan- this loan is not awarded on the basis of need. The student will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the student allows the interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized.
Useful Financial Aid Links
Links directly the Free Application for Federal Student Aid so students may apply via the Internet. However, students must print the signature page, sign and mail it to the federal processor or sign electronically using their PIN before the application can be processed.
Offers help in completing the FAFSA
Links directly to the Department of Education Pin Request. Your PIN serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records.
Information about the Federal TEACH Grant.
Provides information about Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) programs and services, federal programs and general financial aid information.
Comprehensive source of financial aid information. Includes scholarship searches, estimators and other useful links.
Kentucky’s Education Excellence Scholarship (KEES) information.
Electronic version of the Department of Education’s Student Guide, a handbook for student financial aid.
Searches database of more than 180,000 private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans. Provides useful information to students and parents.
A free database search by the College Board. Focuses on all aspects of college life.
Free search sponsored by the CollegeNet. Contains links to colleges throughout the country.