Glossary of financial aid terms
A special reduction that student-loan lenders offer in order to help lower the cost of borrowing.
The federal student aid programs that are administered by participating colleges:
- Federal Perkins loans (low-interest loans for students with exceptional financial need)
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (grants for low-income undergraduate students with priority given to Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contributions)
- Federal Work-Study (see below)
Your status as a student, determined by the number of credit hours for which you register. In most cases:
- full-time students are enrolled for 12 credits or more per semester
- part-time students are enrolled for six to eight credits per semester
- quarter-time students are enrolled for fewer than six credits per semester
The result of a federal formula that uses the family’s income and assets to determine the amount that a family can reasonably be expected to contribute toward education expenses. The EFC is reported on the Student Aid Report (see below).
Low-interest Stafford loans for students, and PLUS loans for parents and for graduate/professional students. Loans are obtained through a student’s school and repaid to the federal government.
Low-interest Stafford loans for students, and PLUS loans for parents and for graduate/professional students. Loans are obtained from private lenders such as VSAC.
Need-based grants for low-income undergraduate students. You must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for a Pell Grant and most other forms of aid.
Grant amounts are dependent upon:
- a student’s expected family contribution (see above)
- the cost of attendance (as determined by the school)
- the student’s enrollment status (see above); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less
Letters from the colleges to which you have applied for financial aid; these contain details regarding the individual award that each school is offering to you. Review all award notifications carefully, as each is likely to offer a different combination of grants and loans.
The document that must be completed in order to apply for federal and/or state financial aid, and institutional aid from your school. All students must complete this application to be considered for financial aid. It must be completed every year you are in school.
Volunteering opportunities around the country; eligible students can work in exchange for a portion of their loans being forgiven, or a portion of their higher education/training being financed. For more information, visit the Corporation for National Service Web site.
Notification from VSAC, or from the schools you’re applying to, that you need to supply additional information or verify information reported on the FAFSA or other documents in order for your financial aid application to be processed.
Gifts of money to students from state, federal, or private sources. While state and federal grants are based on financial need, scholarships may be based on a variety of factors, including need, academic excellence, leadership qualities, heritage, or extracurricular interests.
Unexpected family circumstances or changes in your family situation that were not on your FAFSA, but which you would like VSAC and the colleges to consider in determining your eligibility for aid. A letter of explanation, detailing events, expenses, etc., that warrant special attention, should be sent to each office reviewing your application(s) for aid.
A compilation of all the data you provided on your FAFSA, it includes your family’s expected family contribution (see above). Every school you listed on your FAFSA will receive a copy, which it will use to determine the financial aid package it will offer you.
(also referred to as the Vermont State grant) Money that is awarded to Vermont residents for college or training after high school. Vermont grants are based on financial need and enrollment status. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funding is available. Learn more.
The form used to apply to VSAC for a Vermont grant, whether you are a full- or part-time student. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and must be filled out every year. To apply, complete a FAFSA and a Vermont grant application. You can complete both the FAFSA and the Vermont grant application online.
The form used to apply to VSAC for a Vermont Non-Degree grant. Applications are processed on a first come, first-served basis and must be filled out every year. You can complete the application online.
Information that VSAC sends to you to inform you of your eligibility for a Vermont grant or Vermont Non-Degree grant.
Jobs arranged by colleges, usually in offices or departments on campus, to provide students with income up to a specific dollar amount each semester.
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