Alternative Loans

Student loans provided by private lenders – not the federal government.
The lender determines the interest rate and repayment terms.

Award Notification

A document issued from the college financial aid office to a student indicating the type and amount of financial aid the college will award.

Cost of Education

The cost of attending college for one year. This includes tuition/fees, books and supplies, room/board, personal expenses and transportation.

Direct PLUS Loan (Graduate Students and Parents)

A federal loan that allows graduate students, or parents of a dependent student, to borrow up to the cost of education minus other types of financial aid.

Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan

A need-based federal student loan in which the government pays interest while the borrower is attending college, in the grace period or in deferment.

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

A federal student loan in which the borrower is responsible for all accrued interest.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Determined by the FAFSA, this is the amount a family is expected to contribute toward their student’s college expenses.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the required application to apply for any type of federal financial aid including grants, work-study and student loans.

FAFSA Priority Filing Date

The recommended date set by colleges by which students should file the FAFSA
to receive the maximum amount of funds.

Financial Aid Package

The type and amount of financial aid a student can expect from the college. This can include a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study and student loans.

Financial Need

The maximum amount the college may award in need-based federal financial aid according to the following standard calculation

Cost of Education
Expected Family Contribution (FAFSA results)
= Financial Need


A username and password that will serve as your identification for the FAFSA, IRS Data Retrieval, and when applying for federal student loans.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

The federal report generated from filing or updating your FAFSA.
The SAR summarizes your FAFSA information and provides the Expected
Family Contribution amount. The SAR is either mailed to you or provided online
via a secure Web link.