The following glossary listing contains some of the definitions/descriptions of terms that are related to Financial Aid programs and/or acronyms. Additional glossary terms can be located online.

The terms are listed according to alphabetical order. You can select the All link to view a listing of all of the glossary terms, or you may select the letter equal to the first letter of the term.

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Academic Year – traditionally defined as being composed of the fall and spring semesters, yet may also include a summer semester at the start of the period.  

Accreditation  – confirms that the college or career school meets certain minimum academic standards, as defined by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools must be accredited to be eligible to participate in federal student aid programs.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)  – your or your family’s wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus certain deductions from income as reported on a federal income tax return. Commonly referred to as AGI.

Alternative Private (Credit-Based) Loans – the term "alternative loan" applies to non-federal educational loans, also often referred to as private loans. Various lenders offer alternative educational loans with varying terms and conditions. Generally, while alternative loans might initially have lower interest rates, they do not offer the flexible repayment options and other benefits typically associated with federal educational loans.

Annual Loan Limit – the statutory maximum a student may borrow at their grade level for one academic year. It varies by grade level, dependency status of borrower, etc.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – amount of interest (fee for borrowing money) associated with a loan. The APR 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.  

Appeal  if a student fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress needed to be eligible for federal and/or institutional aid, then they may submit an appeal. Details on the appeal process are available on our Financial Aid Policies page.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) – an electronic network for financial transactions. Any refund due to the student will be issued through ACH.

Award – payment made to an individual under a scholarship, fellowship or participant support costs in pursuit of the individual's own study or research. An award is not considered compensation for the services expected of an employee.

Aid Offer -  a document sent by a postsecondary institution to a student that outlines the amounts and details of the financial aid being offered to the student, which may include scholarships, grants, loans, employment, or other forms of financial assistance to pay for college expenses. Sometimes schools refer to these as financial aid “awards”, although this term is outdated. Schools should refer to these as financial aid offers.


Billable costs – include any charges that are paid directly to the school.

Budget  see “Cost of Attendance.”


Campus-Based Financial Aid Programs – sources of financial aid which include the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study. These programs have limited funds and are awarded by St. Edward's University based on financial need.

Capitalization – The process of adding unpaid interest to the outstanding principal balance of a loan. This results in an increase in the outstanding principal balance of the loan and may cause an increase in the monthly payment amount.

Contributor – any individual required to provide consent and approval for federal tax information (FTI) along with their signature on the FAFSA form, including the student; the student’s spouse; a biological or adoptive parent; or the parent’s spouse (stepparent).

Cost of Attendance – consists of the sum of educational costs payable to the school (also referred to as direct or billable costs) and costs paid to others (or indirect, non-billable or discretionary) costs. The Cost of Attendance represents the highest dollar amount of financial aid a student can receive during an award year.

Cost Paid to Others – (also referred to as indirect, non-billable, or additional costs), are other expenses not paid directly to the school, but associated with receiving an education. These expenses are estimated by the school and may differ from student to student based on their individual circumstances. These expenses may include books, course materials, supplies, equipment, transportation and parking, personal expenses, childcare costs, computer costs, disability expenses, licensure expenses and off-campus rent and food.

Cost Payable to the School – (also referred to as direct or billable costs) generally include tuition, fees, housing, and meals/food (for students residing on campus), health insurance (if minimum insurance coverage is not documented), or any other expenses paid to the school for enrollment. 

Consolidation Loan – a loan that allows borrowers to lower monthly payments by combining original federal loans into a single loan. You may only consolidate once. More information is available online

Co-signer – a person other than the borrower who signs a credit agreement and is legally obligated to repay the loan if the borrower does not make payments.

Consolidation – the process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan.

Credit Hour – classes are most often measured in credit hours (typically one class or course represents 3.0 credit hours). 

CSS Profile – the aid application used to establish financial need by the College Board. At St. Edward's, the application is for full-time undergraduate International Students only that are seeking consideration for need-based grant funding. Applicants must list St. Edward's University school code 6619.


Default – failure to pay your loan according to the terms disclosed on your promissory note. You are in default on a Federal loan program if your payments are more than 270 days past due or if you fail to comply with other terms of the loan.

Deferment – a period of time during repayment in which the borrower, after meeting certain criteria, is not required to make regular monthly payments. Note: Interest payments may or may not be postponed depending on the type of loan.

Delinquent – if a payment is not received by the due date, it is considered delinquent. Delinquencies greater than 30 days are generally reported to national credit bureaus.

Dependency Status – if you are considered a dependent student, the income and assets of both you and your parents will be considered when awarding financial aid.

Direct Loan – a loan made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

Direct Data Exchange (DDX)– System used to transfer individuals tax information to determine federal aid eligibility (replaces what used to be the IRS data retrieval tool DRT).

Disbursement – delivery of financial aid funds either through a check or transfer of electronic funds to your school.

Discharge – the release of a borrower from the obligation to repay his or her loan.

Disclosure Statement – notification of the actual cost and terms of a loan, which includes the interest rate and any additional finance charges.

Distance Education – training that uses one or more of the technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor.


Educational Loan – Money borrowed from the federal government, a college or university, or a private source like a bank or financial institution to pay for educational expenses and must be paid back with interest.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) – funds are electronically deposited directly to an account at St. Edward's University, which expedites disbursing funds to you. The transfer of funds between parties or depository institutions through electronic data systems.

Electronic Processing – the electronic exchange of information between St. Edward's University, state and federal processors, and the state guarantee agencies.

Eligibility  specific criteria associated with a student being able to be awarded and/or receive a specific type of financial aid. Eligibility criteria may consist of federal regulatory eligibility standards; state eligibility criteria; and institutional eligibility requirements. 

Enrollment Status –The number of credits, clock hours, or classes the student is enrolled in, or whether they have withdrawn, graduated, etc. Enrollment status affects eligibility for and the amount of financial aid a student may receive. It also affects when student loans enter repayment status.

Entrance/Exit Counseling – entrance counseling is required for first-time, first-year Direct Loan borrowers and takes place before the receipt of funds. Exit counseling occurs when the borrower leaves or graduates from school.

Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) – the estimated amount of assistance for a period of enrollment that a student (or a parent on behalf of a student) will receive from Federal, State, institutional, or other sources, including but not limited to: scholarships, grants, the net earnings from need-based employment, or loans.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – is an index, used to determine your eligibility for federal, and in some instances, state and institutional need-based student financial aid. Generally, students with a higher EFC are eligible for less need-based financial aid. It is based upon the information provided by the student and their family on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 


FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application that a student must complete each year in order to be considered for all federal student/parent aid programs. The FAFSA is available online. St. Edward's University federal school code: 003621 must be entered in order for St. Edward's University to receive your FAFSA data.

FAFSA Submission Summary – Output document providing a summary of data input on the FAFSA form received after completing FAFSA application (replaces what used to be known as the student aid report (SAR)).

Federal Loan – also known as the Direct Loan Program, which allows eligible students and parents to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating colleges or universities. Federal student loans include Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized and the Direct PLUS programs for parents of dependent students and graduate or professional students

Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan – an undergraduate federal student loan based on financial need and offers students a reduced, fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms. Interest is subsidized, meaning it does not accrue to the borrower, while in an in-school, grace, or deferment period. Annual and aggregate limits apply.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan – a loan offers students a fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms. It is not based on financial need. Interest begins to accrue when the loan is disbursed and can be paid while the student is enrolled or when loan repayment begins. Annual and aggregate limits apply.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan a loan that graduate or professional students use to help pay for education expenses. A credit check for adverse credit history is required for eligibility. Interest begins to accrue when the loan is disbursed and can be paid while the student is enrolled or when loan repayment begins.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan – a loan that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for education expenses. Parents must pass a credit check for adverse credit history to qualify for PLUS loans.  

Federal Pell Grant – is a federal grant program designed to assist undergraduate students in low- and moderate-income households to pay for college. The award amount is based on the cost of the institution, EFC, and enrollment status, and is subject to an aggregate limit.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) – is a federal grant provided by the institution to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and does not need to be repaid. The amount of funding from this program varies by institution. 

Federal Work-Study – the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program offers eligible students the opportunity to work on-campus part-time (or at a limited approved off-campus community service locations) to earn funds towards their educational expenses. The FWS program is awarded on the basis of need and availability of funding. An offer of FWS does not guarantee a job. Students can seek employment opportunities through Hilltop Careers. Unlike grants and loans, FWS is paid to students as they earn the funds by working.

Fellowship – see “Award.”

FERPA – the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. When a student turns 18 years old or enters a post-secondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to a parent under FERPA transfer to the student.

Financial Aid Offer -  a document sent by a postsecondary institution to a student that outlines the amounts and details of the financial aid being offered to the student, which may include scholarships, grants, loans, employment, or other forms of financial assistance to pay for college expenses. Sometimes schools refer to these as financial aid “awards”, although this term is outdated. Schools should refer to these as financial aid offers.

Financial Need – the difference between your cost of attendance (budget), as established by St. Edward's University and your expected family contribution (EFC).

FSA ID  – the FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms.

Forbearance  a period during which a borrower may temporarily stop making loan payments, temporarily make smaller payments, or extend the time for making payments. A borrower who does not meet the eligibility requirements for a deferment may, at the discretion of the loan holder, receive a forbearance if the borrower does not meet the eligibility requirements for a deferment but is temporarily unable to make loan payments for reasons including, but not limited to, financial hardship or illness. Borrowers also are entitled to receive forbearance if they meet certain regulatory eligibility criteria.


Guarantee Agency – an agency which acts as an intermediary for the federal government in providing guarantees to repay lenders if the borrower defaults.

Gift Aid – financial assistance, such as grants and scholarships, that do not need to be repaid.

Grace Period – a period of time following a borrower's period of enrollment and preceding the repayment period start date for a loan during which the borrower is not required to make payments.

Grants & Scholarships  – Any money provided to students that does not have to be repaid. They can be called grants, scholarships, tuition remissions, gift aid, or tuition waivers. Grants and scholarships are provided based on many different factors. 


Homeless   –  an individual is considered homeless if he or she lacks fixed, regular and adequate housing. You may be homeless if you are living in a shelter, park, motel or car, or temporarily living with other people because you have nowhere else to go. Also, if you are living in any of these situations and fleeing an abusive parent you may be considered homeless when completing your FAFSA even if your parent would provide support and a place to live.

Homeschool  –  a school in which children are educated at home either by parents, legal guardians, or tutors, rather than traditional public or private school.


Independent Student  –  an independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Get additional information to determine your dependency status.

Interest/Interest Rate – an amount charged for borrowing money calculated as a percentage of the principal loan amount.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant – a Title IV Grant for dependents of soldiers who died as a result of service in the U.S. military in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.


Legal Guardianship   a relationship created by court order, through which the court appoints an individual other than a minor’s parent to take care of the minor. A legal guardian is not considered a parent on the student’s FAFSA. In fact, a student in legal guardianship does not need to report parent information on the FAFSA because he or she is considered an independent student.

Lender  the entity that loans funds to a borrower. The lender of federal student loans is the U.S. Department of Education (referred to as Federal Direct Loans since funding is coming directly from the federal government). Private loans are offered by a variety of different lenders (many are for-profit entities, although some may be non-profit), and schools offering their own loan programs may also serve as lenders.

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) – the sum of all annual Eligibility Used (EU) percentages for Pell Grant and Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant recipients. The maximum a student may receive is the equivalent of 12 full-time semesters or 6 scheduled awards.

Loan  a legal obligation to repay a specified amount that has been borrowed over a specified period of time generally at a specified interest rate.

Loan Disclosure Statement  a document that provides a loan borrower with important loan-specific information, such as the anticipated loan disbursement amounts, the anticipated loan disbursement dates, and the amount of the borrower's loan fee. It is provided to the borrower before or at the time of the first disbursement of a loan.

Loan Limits  educational loans often include limitations to the total amount that may be borrowed during a specific period of enrollment or over a borrower’s lifetime. Federal Loan limits are available online.  

Loan Servicer  the loan servicer is the entity who services the loan, meaning the entity who collects repayments, processes repayment options, and who communicates with borrowers on loan statuses (such as deferments, grace periods or forbearances). 


Master Promissory Note (MPN)  a promissory note that can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years). An MPN lists the terms and conditions under which the borrower agrees to repay the loan and explains the borrowers’ rights and responsibilities.

Merit Scholarship – gift aid awarded by an admissions office upon review of an applicant’s admission records.

Multiple Disbursements – loan proceeds that are paid in more than one check or electronic transaction. For example, a portion of a loan may go toward the first semester of school and the balance for the second semester.

myHilltop – the student information system at St. Edward's University integrates all of your student information into one database. A web interface allows you immediate access to your student information (e.g. grades, enrollment; financial aid awards and disbursements, account information, etc.).


National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)  the Department of Education's central database for student financial aid. It contains student-level data received from schools, the Direct Loan Program, the Pell Grant Program, and other ED programs and offices. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of federal student aid loans and Pell grants and tracks them through their entire cycle.

Need The student's Cost of Attendance minus their Expected Family Contribution

Need Analysis Formula – a federally-mandated formula used to objectively determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Need-based Aid – financial assistance provided to students based on their financial situation, determined by completing the FAFSA. Need-based financial aid can take different forms, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and low-interest loans, like the federal direct subsidized loan.

Net Price – the difference between the cost of attendance and all grants and scholarships. Net price reflects what the student is expected to pay for their education on their own and can be covered through a variety of sources, including savings, student employment, institutional payment plans, or education loans. 

Net Price Calculator – an online tool providing estimated net price information to current and prospective students and based, as much as possible, on their individual circumstances. Net price is defined as the cost of attendance minus the average yearly grant and scholarship aid.

Non-degree seeking  a student who is not pursuing a designated degree or credential. Non-degree seeking students are ineligible for aid.

NSLDS – the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) serves as a central national depository of all federal student loan details for every borrower. Data also includes Federal Pell Grant information. Individuals may use the same secure credentials used when filing the FAFSA to access their respective NSLDS loan records.


Office of the Inspector General (OIG) – an office within the Department of Education. Within the office, Investigation Services (IS) is responsible for all investigative activities relating to the Department's programs and operations and the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse in these programs and operations.

Origination Fee – a fee that is applied to Federal Loans which may be combined with an insurance premium. This fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is deducted from the amount approved before the lender disburses the loan.

Other Funding Options – funding options outside of grants and scholarships that a student and their family may use to pay any remaining costs or expenses. This may include loans, student employment, institutional payment plans, or personal savings

Outside Scholarship – a scholarship provided by an entity outside of St. Edward's University. Students are required to report their receipt of all outside scholarships to the Student Financial Services office.

Over Award  A over-award occurs when a student has received a level of aid in excess of what they are eligible. The funds received are “over” and above what is allowed, and action must be taken to resolve the situation in order to eliminate the overage.


Payment – the posting of funds associated with an award to a student’s account.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII)  PII means information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. Some information that is considered to be PII is available in public sources such as telephone books, public websites, and university listings. This type of information is considered to be Public PII and includes, for example, first and last name, address, work telephone number, email address, home telephone number, and general educational credentials. The definition of PII is not anchored to any single category of information or technology. Rather, it requires a case-by-case assessment of the specific risk that an individual can be identified. Non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available, in any medium and from any source, that, when combined with other available information, could be used to identify an individual.

PIN – Personal Identification Number.

Principal – the amount of money borrowed or remaining unpaid on a loan. Interest is charged as a percentage of the principal. Insurance and origination fees will be deducted from this amount before disbursement.

Private Loan – A student or parent loan from a bank, credit union, private company, a nonprofit or state-affiliated lender, or from the college or university directly to pay for educational costs. Interest begins to accrue when the loan is disbursed, and repayment begins while the student is still enrolled in school.

Private Outside Aid – financial aid that comes from non-government sources.

Professional Judgment  a professional judgment refers to the provision under federal law whereby a student financial services counselor is authorized to make adjustments to the data elements on the FAFSA in order to compensate for special circumstances on a case-by-case basis with adequate documentation. Such authority does not allow for changes to the need analysis formulas itself or to make direct adjustments to the expected family contribution (EFC) or Student Aid Index (SAI). Instead, only changes to the inputs to the formula are allowed upon review of the special circumstances on the student and/or family income and assets; or to the cost of attendance.


Reconsideration – opportunity to request a review of one’s financial aid award offer. 

Refund – is the release of funds to a student (via direct deposit or check) when the student’s account is a credit balance state.

Renewal FAFSA – a renewal FAFSA will be generated for most students who completed a FAFSA this year. It is a simpler method of applying for federal financial aid. Much of the required information will be preprinted for you. All you have to do is verify the preprinted information and make any necessary corrections. If you receive a renewal FAFSA, you may complete it instead of a FAFSA.

Repayment Period – the amount of time during which you repay the money borrowed plus interest.

Reimbursement – is a payment to a student for direct expenses.

Requirements – necessary documents that an aid applicant must provide or complete before a particular financial aid action can occur. Students can identify needed requirements by logging into the myHilltop portal, Financial Aid tab. 

Resource – any financial assistance a student receives towards educational expenses. All resources must be reported to the Student Financial Services office.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) – a required measurement of a student's academic progress towards their academic goal. Progress must be measured by both grade-based (qualitative) and time/pace of completion (quantitative) standards. In order to be eligible to receive financial aid, you must meet and maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate program.

Scholarship – Scholarships, like grants, are a form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. These are available from many sources including community groups, schools and private corporations. Scholarships can be awarded based on a variety of criteria including scholastic achievement, hobbies and college majors.

Selective Service – a federal agency system that collects the names of male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens between the ages of 18 and 25 on a list for potential conscription into the U.S. military. Males in this age group must register with Selective Service to receive Title IV aid.

Self-help – term associated with these loans and/or employment.

Shopping Sheet  the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is a standardized form that is designed to simplify the information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid. Students can view their respective Shopping Sheet via the myHilltop portal, Financial Aid tab, at the time of the award offer. 

Sticker Price – a college's published price (tuition and fees, room and board, etc.)

Stipend – see “Award.”

Student – a matriculated student at the university currently enrolled.

Student Account – an account to which your financial aid is disbursed. These funds pay your tuition and fees or receivables you owe St. Edward's University. If funds remain after fees are paid, the balance is provided through ACH or mailed to you in the form of a refund check.

Student Aid Index (SAI) – the SAI will replace the EFC starting with the 2024-25 FAFSA as the eligibility index used to determine your eligibility for federal, and in some instances, state and institutional need-based student financial aid. Generally, students with a higher EFC are eligible for less need-based financial aid. It is based upon the information provided by the student and their family on the FAFSA. 

Student Aid Report (SAR) – after completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a report summarizing the data reported on the FAFSA, displays the calculated federal expected family contribution (EFC), indicates if the student has been selected for federal verification, and identifies other messages.

Study Abroad  a student enrolls/studies in a program of study outside of the United States. Students enrolled in abroad programs associated with St. Edward's University.


Tax Return Transcript  IRS document required when selected for federal verification. The tax return transcript shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income, and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return. 

Terms & Conditions – specific details regarding a financial aid award offer. A recipient most often must review and accept in order for accepted aid to disburse.

Title IV – Title IV is a term that refers to federal financial aid funds.


Unmet Need the difference between a student’s determined level of need and the amount of aid offered.

Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) – the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has established regulations to prevent fraud and abuse in the Federal Pell Grant program by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories. DOE reviews enrollment patterns to identify those who have received a Federal Pell Grant at multiple institutions during the past three academic years. Once a student is identified as having an unusual enrollment history, Student Financial Services must review the academic history in order to determine if a student is eligible for federal student aid.


Variable Interest – interest rates that change periodically (e.g. quarterly, annually, etc.). The interest rates for Federal Loans are set by the government each year and change annually on the first of July.

Verification – .a federally mandated process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by selected applicants on the FAFSA. To complete the verification process, the student, their parent(s), or spouse, if applicable, are required to provide certain documents to the school for review. If the documentation the student provides the institution doesn't match what was reported on the FAFSA, verification can result in changes to the student's financial aid eligibility, and/or financial aid offers.

Veteran – any individual who has engaged in the active duty in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard (other than for training purposes); and was released under a condition other than dishonorable.

Veterans' Benefits – benefits associated with their service that a student who is also a veteran will receive during the award year. For a detailed explanation of Veterans' Education Benefits see the Higher Education Act, as amended, Part F, Section 480(c).

Verification of Enrollment – certification by the school registrar that you are attending full-time, quarter-time, part-time, or less than part-time.


W-2 Form – IRS tax document issued by an employer to an employee which details annual earnings and withholdings. 

Withdrawal – to cease attendance in all Title IV eligible classes in a payment period or period of attendance, as applicable.

Withdrawal Date – the date a student ceases attendance (drops or withdraws) from all their Title IV eligible courses in a payment period or period of enrollment. 


Yellow Ribbon – additional funding available for students using the Ch.33 Post-9/11 benefit at the 100% eligibility level.