This glossary will help you to understand the common terms used in both the financial aid and loan processes. We understand that some of the lingo can get confusing for students and families and want to help you better grasp these frequently used words.

Award Notice
An offer from USF (or other institution) that states the type and amount of financial aid that you are eligible for if you accept admission and register to take classes at USF (or other institution). The award notice will typically include federal, state, and institutional based funds based on eligibility. Award notices are subject to change based on verification or other outside resources.

Cost of Attendance (COA)
The total amount it will cost you to go to school—usually stated as a yearly figure. COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (or a housing and food allowance); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses. The COA is not the direct costs you will be paying to USF, but includes the overall, estimated costs to attend college. The actually COA will be different for each student and situation depending on enrollment, living arrangements, etc.

  • Direct Expenses: These are the expenses that you be be billed for at USF. These expenses include tuition, fees, room and board (if on-campus), and other applicable fees/charges by the University.
  • Indirect Expenses: These are expenses that you will occur while attending college, but are not paid directly to USF. These include books and supplies, transportation, and other personal expenses.

Enrollment Status
Reported by the school the student attended, indicates whether the student is (or was) full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, less than half-time, withdrawn, graduated, etc. The below enrollment statuses are for financial aid purposes and may differ from academic standards of your school or department.

Full Time – 12 or more units             Half Time – 6-11 units       Less-than-Half Time – 5 or fewer units
Full Time – 6 or more units                Half Time – 3-5 units         Less-than-Half Time – 2 or fewer units

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
This is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA®, the application for federal student aid. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
USF uses the EFC from the FAFSA to determine need-based aid for first-year, transfer and continuing students.

Financial Need
The difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a school and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU)
The amount of all Federal Pell Grant aid (in percentage) awarded to you, divided by the amount of Pell Grant aid you would have been eligible to receive based on full-time enrollment. The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds a student may receive over his or her lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding.

Based on a student's financial need. Example: A need-based grant might be awarded based on a student's low income.

Net Price
An estimate of the actual cost that a student and his or her family need to pay in a given year to cover education expenses for the student to attend a particular school.  Net price is determined by taking the institution's cost of attendance and subtracting any grants and scholarships for which the student may be eligible.

The process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA is accurate. Your school has the authority to contact you for documentation that supports income and other information that you reported.

Loan Related Glossary

A postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. All other federal student loans that are deferred will continue to accrue interest. Any unpaid interest that accrued during the deferment period may be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of the loan(s).

An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if the borrower does not repay it. An endorser is only needed if the borrower has adverse credit history.

A period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced. Your lender may grant you a forbearance if you are willing but unable to make loan payments due to certain types of financial hardships. During forbearance, principal payments are postponed but interest continues to accrue. Unpaid interest that accrues during the forbearance will be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of your loan(s), increasing the total amount you owe.

Grace Period
A period of time after borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment where they are not required to make payments on certain federal student loans. Some federal student loans will accrue interest during the grace period, and if the interest is unpaid, it will be added to the principal balance of the loan when the repayment period begins.

Loan Servicer
A company that collects payments, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a federal student loan on behalf of a lender. If you're unsure of who your federal student loan servicer is, you can look it up in My Federal Student Aid.

Sourced from the Federal Student Aid Glossary.