Many acronyms exist in the financial aid (or “finaid”) industry. In case you encounter one of these, we’ve provided the list below to help you understand the language.
ACT – A college entrance exam that assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. Preparing for the ACT
COA (Cost of Attendance) – The total cost of attending a post-secondary institution which includes items such as: tuition, room and board, books, transportation and personal expenses.
DRN (Data Release Number) – This unique number appears on a students SAR and must be provided to any school wishing to receive FAFSA data that was not originally listed on the form.
ED (U.S. Department of Education) – Government agency that oversees all federal aid programs.
EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) – A transfer of funds that is made electronically rather than in paper form like a check.
EFC (Expected Family Contribution) – Amount of money that student and his or her family is expected to contribute toward educational costs. Determined by the data provided on the FAFSA.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – The form that must be completed to determine a student’s eligibility for federal aid.
FAT Financial Aid Transcript) – A record of all aid received by a student at a particular school.
FDLP (Federal Direct Loan Program) – Also known as DL. DL or FDLP are commonly used acronyms used in referring to the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. A school typically makes Stafford and PLUS loans available through either this program or the FFELP. Under the FDLP, loans are made directly from the government rather than through commercial lenders.
FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) – Also known as SEOG. A federal grant awarded to the neediest undergraduate students. Amounts can range from $100 to $4,000 per year.
FWS (Federal Work Study) – Federal aid program that provides on and off campus jobs to undergraduate and graduate students.
FFELP (Federal Family Education Loan Program) – Guaranteed, federal loan program where Stafford and PLUS loans are made by commercial lenders rather than the government as in DL.
FAA (Financial Aid Administrator) – College employee working in the financial aid office.
GED (General Education Development) Certificate – A certificate received by a student who passes an approved high school equivalency test.
GPA (Grade Point Average) – An average of a student’s grades that have been converted into numeral form. Usually 4.0 = A, 3.0 = B, 2.0 = C.
ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record) – Electronic output data that is sent to schools listed on a student’s FAFSA.
LEAP (Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership) Program – The LEAP Program provides grants to states to assist them in providing need-based grants and community service work-study assistance to eligible postsecondary students.
MPN (Master Promissory Note) – The promissory note a student or parent signs when taking out a Stafford or PLUS loan. It is promise to repay the loan.
PIN (Personal Identification Number ) – A number used to authenticate a user of computer or telephone system.
PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) – Federal, guaranteed loan for parents of dependent undergraduate students
SAT – A college entrance exam that assesses high school students’ general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work.
SAR (Student Aid Report) – A student’s EFC is presented on the SAR. It is the federal output document that results from completing the FAFSA.
SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) – Every student must maintain satisfactory academic progess toward their degree or certificate in order to remain eligible for federal aid. Every school will create a quantitative and qualitative measurement. Typically, a student must have a C average by the end of their second year if in a four-year program.
SSN (Social Security Number) – This is a unique nine-digit number assigned to every U.S. citizen that identifies location of birth or registration.
W-2 – All employers are required by the IRS to report wages earned by their employees through the W-2.