Student Financial Services Center

Words to Know

Charting the financial aid waters can be a challenge, at times. Please use definitions below to better understand words commonly used in the financial aid process.

Additional Resources—Any expected scholarship, aid, or benefit that is not already included in the student's financial aid package. This includes direct-to-consumer private loans.

Cost of Attendance—is the total academic year cost, including tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, travel, and personal expenses.

EFC or Expected Family Contribution—(found on the Student Aid Report), is the amount students and their parents are expected to pay toward the cost of attendance.

Need—is the difference between the EFC and the cost of attendance.

FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid—is the form that must be filed to determine eligibility for grants, loans, work-study, and need-based scholarships. File annually.

Financial Aid Package—is the total financial aid a student receives, including scholarships, grants, loans, and employment.

Grants—are gift awards based on financial need.

Loans—are borrowed money that must be repaid. Many student loans defer interest and principal repayment until after graduation or termination of studies.

Merit-Based Awards—are for students who excel in academics, sports, leadership, or the arts.

Need-Based Awards—are for students who demonstrate that they and their parents can not pay for the entire cost of attendance on their own.

SAR or Student Aid Report—is a summary of the information contained on the FAFSA and is sent to students up to four weeks after filing the FAFSA .

Scholarships—are gift awards based on merit alone or need and merit, as well as many other selection criteria.

Work-Study—is student employment based on financial need.