Financial Aid Glossary
The following list contains many of the terms you might encounter as you explore the process of financial aid:
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): All taxable income minus deductions. Does not include standard and itemized deductions or personal exemptions.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The APR is the overall cost of borrowing money, expressed as and annual percentage of the loan balance. The APR calculates the combined impact of the interest rate, loan fees, capitalization of interest (the addition of unpaid interest to the principle) and other repayment terms.
Assets: Savings and checking accounts, the value of a business, stocks, bonds, real estate (other than your primary place of residence), trust funds, and so on. Cars are not considered assets, nor are retirement accounts or personal possessions such as stamp collections or musical instruments.
California Aid Report (CAR):The report from the California Student Aid Commission summarizing the information you provide on your FAFSA: estimates your Cal Grant award.
Cancellation: Some loan programs provide for cancellation (forgiveness) of the loan under certain circumstances, such as death or total and permanent disability for the borrower.
Capitalization: When interest is added to the principal balance of a loan rather than being paid as it accrues: any future interest is based on the higher loan amount. For more on capitalized interest see the table on our loans page.
Co-signer: This is a credit worthy individual, usually a parent, spouse or relative who has agreed to share the responsibility for repayment of a student loan with the borrower.
Cost of Attendance (COA): The total amount it will cost a student to go to school. Typically included are such items as actual tuition and fees, room and board, and estimates of such expenses as books, transportation and personal expenses.
Default: Being delinquent in repaying a student loan more than a certain number of days or failure to comply with any of the other terms of the promissory note. Defaulting may result in legal action to recover the money and can negatively affect your credit.
Deferment: Temporary postponement of the student loan payment for a specified time. Interest may be accruing on the loan and must still be paid or it is added to the principal. This means the loan will cost the borrower more in the long run, but it may make the loan easier for the borrower to repay.
Delinquency: The act of missing a scheduled payment on a student loan. If delinquency persists, default will occur.
Disbursement: This refers to the literal crediting of money to a student's account. Disbursement occurs after the first day of school and only if the student's registration (i.e. number of units) matches expectations.
Exclusions from Gross income: Benefits received by the tax filer that don't have to be included in his or her gross income for tax purposes. Examples are grants and scholarships; employer provided educational assistance, student loan debt forgiveness, and tuition reductions for college employees and their families.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC): A calculation of how much of a family's resources should be available to pay toward the price of attending college, based on the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) analysis.
Federal processor: The federal government's computer system that analyzes the information on your FAFSA, calculates your expected family contribution and send out the Student Aid Report (SAR).
Financial Aid Administrator (Counselor): A professional employee at each postsecondary institution with special knowledge and background in student financial aid, who is designated to exercise professional judgment when necessary.
Financial Aid Package: This is the total amount of financial aid a student is to receive. It may include scholarship, grant, work-study, and loan funds from a variety of sources, and is assembled by the school's financial aid office.
Financial Need: The difference between the price of attending a postsecondary institution and the family's projected ability to pay (i.e. EFC) for those costs.
Forbearance: Temporary postponement or reduction of your monthly payment; often extends the repayment term. Interest continues to accrue, increasing the loan balance. Forbearance must be approved by the Direct Loan Servicing Center, and/or your private student loan lender.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The form that must be completed by all students and parents who apply for federal student aid. It is the only form that Pacific uses in considering student aid eligibility, with the exception of merit scholarships.
Grant: An outright award to the student, usually based on financial need. This money does not have to be repaid.
Half-time: At schools measuring progress by credit hours and academic terms, an undergraduate and professional Pharmacy students must be enrolled in at least six semester units to qualify for financial aid. Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 4 semester units to qualify for financial aid.
Interest: This is the fee charged to borrow money. Interest charges are in addition to the principal of the loan. Interest on subsidized Direct Stafford Student Loans is paid by the U.S. Department of Education as long as the student remains enrolled in school at least half-time.
Loan (Educational): Money borrowed from a source to supplying funding for your educational expenses. Money borrowed must be repaid. For more information about loans, including the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans, please see out loans page.
Master promissory note (MPN): A legally binding contract between a borrower and the U.S. Department of Education listing all terms and conditions of a loan; federal student loans require an MPN.
Merit-based aid: Financial aid based on grades, test scores, athletic ability, talents or other criteria, not income or assets.
Need Analysis: A procedure used to estimate a student applicant's need for financial assistance to help meet his or her educational expenses. It consists of two major components; an estimate of the applicant's and/or the family's ability to contribute to educational expenses, and an accurate estimate of the educational expenses themselves.
Need-based aid: Financial aid that is based on your own or your family's income or assets; most financial aid offered by the government is need-based aid. Pacific's UOP Grant is an example of need-based grant.
Origination Fee: Once a loan has been approved, some lenders may charge a fee for processing the loan application and setting up the actual loan for disbursement to the borrower.
Parent Contribution (PC): The amount a student's parents can be expected to contribute to their son or daughter's education; based on analysis of their income and assets.
PIN: Personal identification number from the U.S. Department of Education that serves as your e-signature on the electronic FAFSA; also can be used to check on the status of your FAFSA, correct or print your Student Aid Report, sign your master promissory note and view your federal financial aid records at www.nslds.ed.gov.
Principal: This is the full amount borrowed by the student before interest is charged/accrues.
Professional Judgment: A Financial Aid Administrators ability to make determinations or adjustments based on circumstances that may not be reflected on the FAFSA.
Promissory Note: The legal document signed by the borrower prior to receiving a loan. Besides containing a promise to repay the loan, it lists the conditions of the loan and terms for repayment.
Satisfactory academic progress (SAP): The progress you must maintain toward obtaining a degree to continue receiving financial aid, and the GPA you must maintain.
Scholarship: An award to students based on personal achievement i.e. Athletics, Grades or Musical ability. It is sometimes based on financial need. The student does not have to repay this money.
Student Budget: The amount of money the student will need to pay tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation, also known as the cost of attendance (COA). These figures will be determined by the financial aid administrator and in conjunction with the cost analysis provided by CSAC (California Student Aid Commission).
Student Aid Report (SAR): Report containing results of student's need analysis based on information supplied on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Student Contribution (SC): The amount that a student/spouse can be expected to contribute to the price of attendance based on need analysis of income and assets.
Tax Credit: As in the federal American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits, means a credit against a tax liability. The tax filer is able to subtract the amount of credit from tax liability. The tax filer must have tax liability to receive the Lifetime credit (this is what is meant by a "nonrefundable" credit). However, a portion of the American Opportunity tax credit is refundable.
Tax Deduction: Tax deductions are subtractions from income. In the case of student loans, some tax filers may be able to deduct some interest from income. Some tax filers will do this when they "itemize" their tax deductions. However, tax filers who do not itemize will also be able to deduct interest on student loans.
Untaxed income: All income you receive that's not taxed or may not be reported to the IRS.
Verification: The procedure by which Pacific checks the information reported on the FAFSA, usually by requesting a copy of your (and/or your parent's) signed tax return and other documentation.