Financial Aid Vocabulary

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount that the federal government believes your family can contribute to one year of college. Colleges use this, among other things, to determine financial need.
  • Cost of Attendance (COA): An estimate of how much it costs to attend school of enrollment.
  • Financial Need: The difference between EFC and COA
  • Subsidized Loan: type of federal student loans where a borrower isn’t generally responsible for paying interest while in an in-school, grace*, or deferment period.
  • Unsubsidized Loan: An unsubsidized loan offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a low, fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms. Financial need is not required to qualify. The borrower is generally responsible for paying all the accumulated interest, until the loan balance is paid off.
  • Scholarship or Grant: Monetary gift that does not require repayment; may be a one-time or renewable based on set criteria.
  • Work Study: part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. To receive funds, you will need to be awarded work study and secure a job. The funds you earn are not applied directly to your tuition.
  • Entrance Counseling: explains your rights and the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of accepting a Direct Loan.
  • Exit Counseling: provides important information that you need as you prepare to repay your federal student loan(s).