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1040 Form, 1040A Form, 1040EZ Form: The federal income tax return that is required to be filed by each person who received income during the previous year.

Academic Year: The period of time school is in session, consisting of 30 weeks of instruction.

Appeal: A formal request made by the student to have a financial aid administrator review his/her aid eligibility and possibly use professional judgment to adjust the figures. In the event of the death of a parent, unemployment or other unusual circumstances, he/she should file an appeal.

Award Letter: An official letter issued by the Financial Aid Office that lists the financial aid awarded to the student. Students are required to either accept or decline the awards they wish to receive, sign the award letter and return it to the Financial Aid Office. Award information is also available on our Student Self Service website at:

Bursar's Office: The University office responsible for the billing and collection of University charges.

Cost of Attendance (COA): The total amount used to calculate a student's aid eligibility (also known as the cost of education or budget). This amount includes tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal and incidental expenses.

Commuter Student: A student who resides at home with his/her parents and commutes to school daily.

Dependent Student: A student who is 23 years old or younger and is supported by his/her parents. A parent refusing to provide support for his/her child's education is not sufficient for the child to be declared independent.

Disbursement: The release of loan funds to the school for delivery to the borrower.

Disclosure Statement: A statement from the lending institution that provides the borrower with information regarding the approval amount of the loan, interest rate, origination and insurance fees, and any other finance charges incurred.

Electronic Funds Transfer: Used by some lenders to wire funds for Stafford Loan proceeds directly to participating schools without requiring a check for the student to endorse.

Enrollment Status: Indication of total credits scheduled for an enrollment period. For financial aid purposes, a student must be enrolled at least half-time to receive aid.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount of money the family is expected to contribute to the student's education. Congress bases this on the Federal Methodology need analysis formula dictated.

Financial Aid Transcript: A record of any federal aid received by the student at each post-secondary school attended.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Used to apply for all need-based aid.

Financial Aid Package: Includes any aid such as grants, scholarships, loans and work-study offered to the student to assist in the funding of his/her education.

Gift Aid: Financial aid that is not repaid, such as scholarships and grants.

Grant: Type of financial aid based on financial need that a student does not repay.

Independent Student: An independent student must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Age 24 or older
  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Enrolled in a graduate or professional program beyond a bachelor's degree
  • Married
  • Orphan or ward of the court or a ward of the court until age 18
  • Legal dependents other than spouse for which the student is responsible

Loan: A type of financial aid that must be repaid with interest to a lending institution of the student's choice.

Need: The difference between the Cost of Attendance and the Expected Family Contribution.

Scholarship: A scholarship is gift aid that is not repaid.

Stafford Loan: A Stafford Loan comes in two forms, unsubsidized and subsidized. Students are required to pay interest on an unsubsidized loan, whereas the government pays the interest on a subsidized loan while the student is in school, during the six-month grace period and during any deferment periods.

Subsidized Loan: A subsidized loan is a loan on which the government pays the interest while the student is in school, during a six-month grace period and during any deferment periods. Subsidized loans are based on need, and may not be used to finance the family contribution.

Unmet Need: Unmet need is the difference between the student's award and the full cost of tuition.

Unsubsidized Loan: An unsubsidized loan is a loan that the government does not pay the interest on. The borrower is responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized loan from the date the loan is disbursed, even while the student is still in school.

Untaxed Income: Contribution to IRAs, Keoghs, tax-sheltered annuities and 401(k) plans, as well as worker's compensation and welfare benefits.

U.S. Department of Education: The federal agency that administers several federal student financial aid programs, including the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Work-Study Program, the Federal Perkins Loan, the Federal Stafford Loan and the Federal PLUS Loan.

Verification: A review process in which the Financial Aid Office determines the accuracy of the information provided by the student and parents on their FAFSA. During this process, the student will be required to submit requested documentation.