Financial Aid Glossary

Below, you will find a glossary of commonly used terms regarding financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Review the glossary to if you have questions about what certain terms mean when it comes to financial aid. You can also review the official Federal Student Aid glossary of terms for more information. 

Cost of attendance (COA)
The total cost of going to a particular college for one academic year. It includes the cost of tuition, fees, housing and meals as well as allowances for the cost books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Demonstrated financial need
The difference between total college costs (COA) and the student’s ability to pay as calculated by the expected family contribution (EFC).

Direct cost of attendance
Charges that are billed directly to a student’s account. These could include tuition, fees, housing and meals, books and supplies, and other miscellaneous fees.

Direct PLUS Loan
Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required.

Direct Subsidized Loan
The Direct Subsidized Loan is a federal need-based loan awarded to students based on their FAFSA results. Students do not pay interest on subsidized loans while enrolled at least part-time. Direct Loans have a one-time six month grace period before repayment begins after graduation or once the student ceases to be enrolled at least part-time.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan
The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a non-need-based loan awarded to FAFSA filers. Interest begins to accrue once the loan amount is disbursed. Direct Loans have a one-time six month grace period before repayment begins after graduation or once the student ceases to be enrolled at least part-time.

Enrollment deposit
Payment confirms a student’s intent of attending a particular university. At Augustana, the enrollment deposit is applied to the student’s account as a prepayment towards their first semester. It is refundable prior to May 1.

Expected family contribution (EFC)
A measure of a family’s financial ability to pay for college as calculated by the FAFSA. The Expected Family Contribution is an index number ranging from 000000 to 999999. Colleges and universities as well as state grant programs and private organizations use this number to help determine a student’s eligibility for need-based aid.

Federal Pell Grant
Undergraduate students working on their first degree are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated by the FAFSA. Federal Pell Grant does not need to be repaid. Federal Pell Grant eligibility is determined annually by the FAFSA.

Federal School Code
Every school has a unique FAFSA filing code. Students can list up to 10 schools at one time to receive their FAFSA results. Augustana University’s federal school code is 003458.

Federal SEOG Grant
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) may be available to Federal Pell Grant eligible students. FSEOG does not need to be repaid. Grant amounts range from $100 to $4,000 annually and are determined by the college/university as these are considered campus-based funds.

Financial aid
Money given or loaned to students to help pay for college. Financial aid can come from federal and state governments, colleges and universities, or private and community organizations.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an online form administered by the Federal Department of Education. The FAFSA provides students access to federal financial aid programs such as the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, Federal Work Study and Federal Direct Loans. Information from the FAFSA may also qualify students for state-sponsored financial aid. Augustana’s federal school code is 003458.

Gift aid
Financial aid that doesn’t have to be paid back. Usually in the form of grants or scholarships.

Financial aid that doesn’t have to be paid back. Grants are generally awarded based on financial need.

Indirect costs
Costs that are not charged to a student’s university account, but are still part of life as a college student. This includes books and supplies, transportation, and personal or miscellaneous expenses.

Money borrowed from the government, a bank or another source. Loans need to be paid back, usually over an agreed period of time. Most loans accrue interest over the life of the loan.

Merit-based aid or non-need-based aid
Financial aid offered without regard to financial need. It can be based on academic achievement, individual talents (i.e. sports or music), leadership skills or other characteristics.

Need-based aid
Financial aid offered to students based on their demonstrated need. Need-based aid may come in the form of grants or scholarships, but it can also be a job on or off campus or loans.

Net price
The amount a student will actually pay for a college after tuition discounts, scholarships, and grants are accounted for. For private colleges like Augustana,  this amount is usually far less than the advertised ‘sticker’ price.

Net Price Calculator
An online tool that gives a personalized estimate of what it will cost to attend a specific college. Most colleges are required by law to post a net price calculator on their website.

Offer of Financial Aid
The document sent from a college that explains the terms of the financial aid that the college is offering a student. The information includes the types and amounts of financial aid offered, and instructions for accepting the offer.

Outside scholarship
Also called “private scholarship.” A scholarship offered by a private organization — not the government or a college/university. Outside scholarships are offered by all kinds of groups, individuals, corporations, churches, and nonprofit organizations.

Renewable financial aid
Financial aid that will be available to a student each consecutive year they attend a college. Most forms of financial aid have basic eligibility criteria that must be maintained in order to continue receiving the aid.

Room and board
Room and board is terminology that refers to the cost of campus housing and a campus meal plan while attending a college.

Financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Scholarships are usually awarded based on certain characteristics or qualities of the student and can be merit-based or need-based. Scholarships may be offered directly to the student by the college or university or they may be offered by an outside/private organization.

Student Aid Report (SAR)
The Student Aid Report is a paper or electronic document provided to each FAFSA filer. The SAR lists the submitted answers to the questions on the FAFSA and provides some basic information about federal aid eligibility. The SAR includes the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Work study
Federal Work Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate or graduate students with financial need. Work study jobs are typically on-campus jobs, but may be off-campus jobs. Students must file the FAFSA to be considered for Federal Work Study.