Glossary of Financial Aid Terms
Assets - Property that has an exchange value. The purpose of collecting asset information is to determine whether your family's assets are substantial enough to support a contribution toward your cost of attendance (COA). Only the net asset value is counted in the need analysis. To determine the net value of any asset, you first determine the market value of the asset and reduce the value by the amount of debt against that asset. The result is the net value of the asset.
Award Letter - Describes the types of financial aid offered. The awards shown are based on full-time (12 units or more) enrollment; if fewer units are taken, the amounts will be prorated.
Budget – The total amount it will cost you to go to school – usually expressed as a yearly figure. It’s determined using rules established by law- is also known as Cost of Attendance.
CADAA - California Dream Act Application. Under the California Dream Act Laws AB 130 and AB 131, undocumented students who qualify for a non-resident exemption under Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) can apply for financial aid by filling out a California Dream Act and potentially be eligible for several types of financial aid.
Cal-ISIR – The Cal-ISIR contains all information reported on the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). This version of your CADAA is sent to your schools to review.
Cost of Attendance - Cost of attendance (COA) is the estimated amount it will cost to attend college each year. The COA includes estimated enrollment fees, room and board, book allowances, supplies, transportation, etc. See our Net Price Calculator
Default – Failure to repay or otherwise meet the terms and conditions of a loan. The consequences of default are severe. In many cases, default can be avoided by submitting a request for deferment, forbearance, or discharge and by providing the required documentation.
Deferment – A temporary postponement of Direct Student Loan payments that must be approved by the lender.Dependent – If you’re a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information to determine financial aid eligibility. You may be considered dependent even if you live away from home or if your parents don’t claim you on their income taxes. Dependency is determined by answers provided on the FAFSA or CADAA.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – The amount a student and parent(s), if a dependent is expected to pay towards the cost of attending college. It is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid.
FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid. To be considered for federal student aid, state, and institutional aid, you must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year that you attend college. The application opens each academic year on October 1st, with a priority deadline of March 2nd.
Federal Work-study – Money you may earn from on-campus employment while enrolled in college that will help pay your educational expenses. Work-study positions. To be considered for Federal Work-Study, students must complete the FAFSA and a Federal Work-Study Employment Packet. This award is contingent upon the availability of funds.
Fee Waiver – The California Community College system offers a fee waiver program known as the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governors Enrollment Fee Waiver or BOGW) for eligible California residents. The program may waive the enrollment fees for an eligible student. For eligible California residents, allows a waiver on enrollment fees.
Forbearance – Permission from a lender to temporarily postpone repaying the loan. Interest will continue to accrue while on forbearance.
Grace Period – the short time period after graduation (or falling below half-time) during which the borrower is not required to begin repaying a student loan.
Grant – Money that, generally, does not have to be repaid, usually based on need.
Independent - If you’re an independent student, you will report your own information (and, if you’re married, your spouse’s) to determine financial aid eligibility. Dependency is determined by answers on the your financial aid application. Dependency is determined by answers provided on your financial aid application.
Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) – The ISIR contains all information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This version of your FAFSA is sent to your schools to review.
Interest - The fee charged to borrowers by lenders for using loan money.
Master Promissory Note (MPN) - A promissory note under which the borrower may receive loans for either a single period of enrollment or multiple periods of enrollment.
Master Promissory Note (MPN) – The loan contract. A written promise to repay a sum of money to the holder of the loan within a specified time period.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)– refers to the standards a student must meet and maintain to be eligible for financial aid.
Untaxed Income - All income received that's not taxed or may not be reported to the IRS. Reported on Worksheets A and B on our financial aid application.
Verification - A review process through which a college checks the information you report on your financial aid application. A college may ask for any supporting documentation necessary to complete the verification process.