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Financial Terms for University

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Award Letter

The notification of financial aid award. The award letter lists the types and amounts of financial aid the student is eligible for. To finalize the award package, the student must sign and return the award letter to the Financial Aid office.


Cost of Attendance

The total amount to attend a college, including tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and transportation.


Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)

The amount of money that a student's family is expected to contribute to college costs for one year.


FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The application required for US students to be considered for federal student financial aid. (US nationals only).


Required costs in addition to tuition; student activities, parking, registration, labs, health services, etc


Financial Aid Office

Office that decides how much money a student will receive in grants and loans.



The price paid for the use of borrowed money.



A type of financial aid that is available to students and to parents of students. It must be repaid.  This calculator might help get an idea of what repayment might look like for you.


Merit Scholarship

Money which is unrelated to financial need given to a student by a college for special achievement. (grades, skills, activities, etc).


Need-Based Scholarship

Money awarded to a student on the basis of financial need that doesn't have to be repaid.


Net Price Calculator

An online tool that gives you a personalized estimate of what it will cost to attend a specific college. Most colleges in the United States are required by law to post a net price calculator on their websites.


Out-of-State (Non-Resident) Student

Student whose permanent residence is in a different state than that of the college or university which he or she attends or hopes to attend. Out-of-state students generally pay higher tuition than do instate students.


Room and Board

Cost of housing and food while attending college.


Scholarship/ Grant

Money given to students for college from an organization. It does not need to be repaid.


Subsidized Loan

Usually these type of loans are from the government and the interest does not being accruing until you graduate or stop attending school. 



The cost paid for each credit hour of enrollment.


Unsubsidized Loan

These loans may be public or private and the interest begins accruing when the loan is taken out, not when you graduate or stop attending school.  


More questions?  Let us help.  Meet with a counselor or email us at  Our counselors are available to help you feel more confident about the university application process.

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