Some basic college financial aid terms

by Grace

FAFSA -Free Application for Federal Student Aid
It’s a form you fill out and submit to the government. The Office of Federal Student Aid determines your eligibility for getting student aid (including PELL grants, and work-study programs). You’ll need your parent or guardian’s help though, because it asks for information such as their income. It is recommended that you fill out the form as close to January 1st as possible. Don’t wait! Completing, and submitting this form should be the first step of your financial aid process.

EFC-Expected Family Contribution
This dollar figure is how much (the government) expects your family to contribute to your education for one year. The figure is calculated from the FAFSA information you provided, and factors such as family size, number of family members in college, family savings, and current earnings affect it. Usually, the lower your EFC, the more financial aid you’ll receive.

SAR-Student Aid Report- (ISIR- The Electronic Version of SAR)
A summary of your FAFSA responses, it’s sent back to the student electronically or in paper version after their FAFSA is processed. The SAR is also sent to the college’s you’ve selected to receive it. The colleges or universities will use this information to determine if you’re eligible for federal-and possibly non-federal-financial aid.

This is an online financial aid application service offered by the College Board, used to determine if you qualify for non-federal student aid. More than 500 colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools use it. It’s an efficient way for students to report their financial data to their schools of choice.

Federal Pell Grants are awarded to (usually) undergraduate students. They are not a loan; they do not have to be repaid. The amount you receive will depend on your financial need, your costs to attend school, whether your a part-time or full-time student, and your plans for length of attending school.

Stafford loans are low-interest loans for (eligible) students to help cover the cost of higher education. You can use it for a four-year school, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. Students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools.

There are two types of Direct Stafford Loans: Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Direct Subsidized Loans, as the ones described above, are for students with financial need. They are not charged interest while in school, as long as it’s part time. For Direct Unsubsidized Loans, you are not required to prove financial need, and interest accumulates on the loan from the first time you borrow the money.

From Noelle Smith, a student at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

3 Responses to “Some basic college financial aid terms”

  1. Finally, a brief and easy to understand glossary of the terms I’ve been forever confused about! Thanks for the clarification, excellent post!



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