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~ Financial Aid Terms ~
Financial Need: The difference between a student's educational costs and the EFC (Expected Family Contribution: amount a student's family is expected to pay).
Financial Aid Package: The total financial aid a student is offered, including scholarships, grants, work-study and loans.
FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The form the federal government uses to determine the amount of aid for which a student is eligible.
Federal Aid: Aid that comes from the U.S. government. This aid is sometimes disbursed through your college.
Private Aid: Financial aid that comes from sources that are non-government related.
Award Letter: List of aid that the school is offering to you. You are not required to accept all aid.
Dependency Status: Based on government standards, if you are considered a dependent student, colleges will consider parent financial resources when awarding financial aid.
Gift Aid: Financial aid that does not need to be paid back:
Grants: Typically based on financial need.
Scholarships: Typically based on achievement or talent.
Annual percentage rate (APR): Amount of interest (fee for borrowing money) associated with a loan. It can change or remain the same during the year and term of the loan. if the interest rate is variable, the rate can change; if it is fixed, the rate will not change.
Commercial lender: A financial institution that lends loaned funds to students and their families.
Consolidation loan: Loan that allows borrowers to lower their monthly payments by combing their original federal loans into a single loan. you may only consolidate once. visit your financial aid office for more information.
Co-signer: A person besides the borrower who signs a credit agreement and is legally obligated to repay the loan if the borrower does not make payments.
Default: Failure to repay your loan; it may lead to legal action to recover the money and can affect your credit rating.
Delinquent: When at least one loan payment is late or missed. Serous delinquency results in default.
Disbursement: The release of funds by a lender.
Grace period: the time between when you leave school and before repayment begins.
Principal: The full amount borrowed. During repayment, it refers to the portion of the original amount still owed (not including interest).
Promissory note: A contract between the borrower and lender that reflects the terms and conditions under which the borrower promises to repay the loan.
~ Financial Aid Tips ~
Do remember to file on time. Students who file as soon as possible after January 1st many times are given priority if funds are scarce.
Do take the time to read the instructions and answer questions carefully.
Do sign the application. If you are filling as a dependent student, make sure your parents sign too.
Do use the 1040 Federal tax return for reporting income and taxes paid, not the W-2. If this is not available, estimate your income using paycheck stubs and asset information.
Do include yourself in your parents' household size.
Don't leave a field blank. Use zero if the question does not apply to you.
Don't forget to report ALL required sources of untaxed income: e.g., Social Security or child support.