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Financial Aid Terminology

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Your or your family's wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus certain deductions from income as reported on a federal income tax return. Commonly referred to as AGI.

The College Access Loan Program is a state loan program that provides alternative educational loans to Texas residents.  The student borrower or cosigner will need a favorable credit evaluation.

 The online application TCU uses to award nonfederal student financial aid.
Expenses that are billed to your student account and paid directly to the school: tuition and fees, on-campus housing and meal plan (if you live on-campus).
 A federal student loan, made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program that eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools. Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans are types of Direct Loans.
A loan made by the U.S. Department of Education to graduate or professional students.  Credit approval or an approved endorser is required.
The mandatory information session completed online through before you receive your first federal student loan that explains your responsibilities and rights as a student borrower.

This is an estimate of the total expenses for attending school for one academic year. This estimate includes both billable and non-billable expenses. 

Billable expenses are those billed by TCU and include tuition, fees, housing and meal plan for on-campus students. 

Non-billable expenses are books and supplies, transportation, other education costs (loan fees and miscellaneous expenses), and housing and food for off-campus students.

This is the number used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA form, the application for federal student aid.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form completed by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.  The FAFSA is required yearly.
A loan based on financial need for which the federal government generally pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status, and during certain periods of repayment under certain income-driven repayment plans.
A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.
A loan made by the U.S. Department of Education to parents of dependent undergraduate students. Credit approval or an approved endorser is required.
A federal grant for undergraduate students with financial need.
An identifier the U.S. Department of Education assigns to each college or career school that participates in the federal student aid programs. In order to send your FAFSA information to a school, you must list the school's Federal School Code on your application. TCU's federal school code is 003636.
Financial aid from the federal government to help you pay for education expenses at an eligible college or career school.  Grants, loans and work-study are types of federal student aid.  You must complete the FAFSA form to apply for this aid.
A federal student aid program that provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses.
Includes money from the federal and state government, the institution of higher education, and private resources that assist a family in meeting the cost of the student’s education.  Financial aid is composed of scholarships, grants, work-study and loans.
An offer from a college or career school that states the type and amount of financial aid the school is willing to provide if you accept admission and register to take classes at that school.
The difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at a school and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The FSA ID is a username and password login to the U.S. Department of Education systems for students and parents, used to:

  • Apply for federal student aid (FAFSA)
  • Apply for PLUS Loans
  • Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)
  • Complete entrance counseling
  • Access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
Funds offered to students that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain terms. 
Financial aid, often based on financial need, that does not need to be repaid (unless, for example, you drop classes or withdraw from school and owe a refund).

These are costs you have to pay for, such as books, equipment, transportation, and off-campus housing and meals (if you don't live on-campus).  These costs vary per student.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board uses manageable debt to determine eligibility for state loans.  This is a measure used to assess the level of debt burden and the ability of a student to comfortably repay the debt without financial strain. The calculation used for manageable debt will be based on your area of study, average annual earnings for a person in your field, and all of your combined educational loan debt accrued (as determined on your credit report). The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board considers 10% to be a reasonable student debt to income ratio. This means that based on a 10-yr repayment plan at an average 5% interest, your loan payment should not exceed 10% of your estimated monthly earnings (based on field of study).

A binding legal document that you must sign to obtain a federal student loan.
A nonfederal loan made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency, or school.  Credit approval is usually required.
Money offered to students based on academic, other achievements or financial need to help pay for education expenses.  Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid.
Financial Aid in the form of loans or student employment. 
Need - based grant available to Texas residents enrolled in approved private or independent Texas colleges or universities.
The process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate.  Your school has the authority to contact you for documentation that supports income and other information that you reported.