Financial Aid Jargon
You’re going to be introduced to new words and acronyms in the next few months. Stay ahead of the curve by becoming acclimated to their meanings – It will make you that much more prepared for college.
FAFSA – The full name is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, but everyone just calls it the FAFSA. It’s a that needs to be filled out in order to determine your eligibility for financial aid.
Expected Family Contribution – How much the college has determined your family will contribute to the cost of attendance. This number is calculated through the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.
CSS Profile – The full name is the College Scholarship Service Profile, but everyone calls it the CSS Profile. It’s an additional form to the FAFSA that some schools require to take a closer look at a family’s finances and determine financial aid eligibility.
Grant – Money that does not have to be repaid, given to a student to cover some portion of the cost of college.
Pell Grant – Federal money awarded to students for need-based financial aid. The maximum amount of money awarded for a Pell Grant in 2017 will be $5,920, and can cover any of the expenses related to attending college.
Cal Grant – A financial aid program providing aid to California families whose kids attend California schools. To be eligible, there is a family income and GPA requirement that needs to be met. In 2017, with up to $12,240 of annual aid provided to students, the Cal Grant is the largest source of California state-funded student aid.
Perkins Loan – Awarded by the school, these loans have exceptionally low interest rates (5%) for both undergraduate and graduate students
Work-Study Programs – Often part of the financial aid package, this program allows students to work part-time on campus in order to pay a portion of the cost to attend college.
Merit-Based Financial Aid – Financial Aid based off a student’s merit, which can include exceptional academic performance as well as any other criteria the school can recruit for (sports, theatre, etc.). This kind of financial aid is usually given in the form of scholarships and grants and does not have to be repaid.
Need-Based Financial Aid – Financial aid awarded to students based on their eligibility and need for aid due to their family’s income and assets. This kind of financial aid can include scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study.
Loan – Usually part of the need-based financial aid award, a loan is a sum of money awarded to students to pay for college that needs to be paid back, along with the interest it acquired over the period of the loan.
Stafford Loans – There are two kinds of Stafford Loans: Subsidized Stafford Loans do not need to be paid off until the student graduates from college and are usually factored into a school’s award letter. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans start accumulating interest from the first day and is usually not awarded on the basis of need.
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