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.  

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.

Award Offer  the result of a student applying for financial aid is an award notification. A financial aid “award” is not necessarily a prize or recognition, but rather an offer of the levels of aid for which the student has been determined to be eligible.


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.

Cost of Attendance – combines billable and indirect costs. Tuition and Fees and room and board are considered billable costs. Indirect costs include other possible expenses while in school (such as books and transportation).

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.

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.

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

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.


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 – full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time, or less-than-half-time.

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) – the amount you and/or your parents are expected to contribute toward your educational expenses as determined by a federally-mandated formula, which uses the information you provide on your FAFSA or renewal FAFSA. The EFC is not a measure of cash flow, but a snapshot in time of a family’s financial situation and the funding for education that is determined to be expected.


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.

Federal Pell Grant – the primary federal need-based grant program offered solely to undergraduate students. Award amounts are based on eligibility, enrollment status, and lifetime limits.

Federal Work-Study – the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program offers eligible students the opportunity to work on-campus (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.

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 Award Offer Package – an offer of financial aid usually composed of a combination of aid programs that may include scholarships, grants, loans and/or work-study.

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

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.

Graduate PLUS Loan – the Graduate PLUS or Grad PLUS is a federal student loan program only available to credit-worthy students recognized as being enrolled in a graduate-level degree program. The U.S. Department of Education performs a credit evaluation to determine eligibility and the maximum amount available each loan period cannot exceed the established cost of attendance less other aid received/offered.

Grants – a form of gift aid, often considered awarded on the basis of financial need (such as the Federal Pell Grant). Grants are also often referred to as scholarships.


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.


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

Need-based Aid – aid programs for which you must demonstrate financial need in order to qualify.

Net Price  out of pocket cost after scholarships and grants (typically with loans, savings and income).   

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.

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.


Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) – loans under the Federal program for parents of dependent undergraduate students. A credit check is required. The interest rate is low and repayment begins 60 days after disbursement. If a student’s parent is denied a PLUS loan, then the student may be eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized loan funds.

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

Pell Grant – a grant distributed by the Federal Government and is designed to help students with financial need pay for college. Eligibility determined by the Department of Education upon fling a valid FAFSA. 

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 dollar amount of the loan that must be repaid upon maturity, and upon which interest will be charged.

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). 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. 

SEOG  Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program. Eligibility determined by the Department of Education and St. Edward's University upon filing a valid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

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 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.

Subsidized Loan – for subsidized loans, loan interest is paid on your behalf by the government while you are enrolled as at least a half-time student and during grace or deferment periods. For both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, repayment of principal and interest begins six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time.


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.

Unsubsidized Loan – for unsubsidized loans, loan interest accrues within sixty days of disbursement and can be paid while you are in school, or capitalized until you begin repayment. Capitalized interest is added to the principal amount outstanding. For both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, repayment of principal and interest begins six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time.

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 review process in which the financial aid office requests documentation to verify the accuracy of FAFSA data.

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.