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Skidmore College
Financial Aid Office

Financial Aid Terminology

Financial aid has its own vocabulary, terms and abbreviations.  To help you speak the "language", here are some of the most commonly used terms and abbreviations. 

Academic year: the measure of the academic work to be accomplished by a student each year as defined by Skidmore College, which has two semesters that contain at least 30 weeks of instructional time in which a full-time student is expected to complete at least 24 semester credits.

Award year: the period of time between fall term and the end of the following second summer session.

Award Notification: the offer of financial aid provided to the student based on the aid materials submitted to the college.  Freshmen are conditionally awarded financial aid.  If adjustments to assistance offered are required after the review of submitted tax returns and forms, a revised award notification will be issued.

Accrued interest: interest that accumulates on the unpaid balance of your loan.

Borrower: person responsible for repaying a loan who has agreed to the terms and signed a promissory note.

CSS PROFILE:  the application used to determine Skidmore College's need-based aid. 

Cost of Attendance (COA): Includes tuition, fees, housing, food, transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses.  The COA includes direct costs which are those billed directly by the College as well as indirect costs which are estimated expenses incurred by a student but not billed by the College. Books and supplies are indirect costs as well as a student's travel and miscellaneous expenses.

Custodial Parent:  If a student's parents are divorced or separated, the custodial parent is the one with whom the student lived with the most during the past 12 months. 

Default: failure to repay a loan according to the terms of the promissory note. For a loan repayable in monthly installments, a loan is in default after 270 days of no payment.

Default Fee: A default fee is used by the guarantor to maintain reserve funds to reimburse lenders if a student/parent borrower fails to repay a loan (defaults.) Therefore, guarantors may charge a 1% fee.

Deferment: the temporary postponement of loan payments for a limited period of time. Deferments, allowed for specific borrower activities, extend the loan repayment period by the length of the deferment period.

Delinquency: this occurs when loan payments are late or missed, as specified in the terms of the promissory note and the selected repayment plan.

Dependent student: meets any one of the criteria as defined by the federal government: under 24 years of age; does not have legal dependents other than a spouse; is not an orphan or ward of the court (or was not a ward of the court until age 18);  is not an emancipated minor, is not homeless and is not a veteran. Dependent students must report their parents' income and assets on their financial aid applications.

Disbursement: the release of financial aid funds to individual student accounts. Funds are disbursed when the student's financial aid file is complete and registration has been verified.
Entrance/Exit Counseling: counseling session online that borrowers must complete before receiving their first loan disbursements and again before leaving college.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): a required application for all students who wish to apply for federal financial aid with the exception of the Federal PLUS loan.

Federal Aid:  financial aid that is funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Education.  A FAFSA must be completed annually in order to determine eligibility for federal aid.  The amount of federal financial aid is determined annually based on federal regulations, student eligibility and the availability of funds. 

Federal Pell Grant: a federal grant based on the student's financial need and designed to be awarded to the neediest students.

Federal Perkins Loans: are low interest loans for undergraduate students. Priority is given to students with exceptional financial need, as defined by Skidmore College.

Federal Direct PLUS for Undergraduate Students: are federally low-interest loans available to parents of dependent undergraduate students.  The Federal Direct PLUS Loan allows a parent to supplement his/her student's financial aid package by borrowing money to cover any costs not already covered by the student's aid. 

Federal Direct Student Loan: are funds that a student is required to repay after graduating (or no longer enrolled). The student will have to complete an entrance interview before the loan is certified and an exit interview just before the student graduates so that he/she understands the obligations associated with this loan. The subsidized Federal Direct Student loan means a student shows "financial need" and the Government is paying the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time and during the grace period. The unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loan means a student is not showing "financial need" and the student is responsible for paying the interest but can choose to capitalize the interest.

Federal Work Study: a federal employment program that subsidizes wages for postsecondary students with financial need to help them pay for educational expenses.

Financial Aid: the term for all funds awarded to the student and the family to help them pay for the student's education.  Major forms of financial aid include Skidmore College grant funds, and self-help aid (loans and work).  Funds may be from federal, state, college, and/or private sources. 

Forbearance: an arrangement to postpone or reduce a borrower's monthly payment amount for a limited and specified period, or to extend the repayment period. The borrower is charged interest during forbearance. Forbearance is usually granted at the discretion of the lender to borrowers ineligible for a deferment.

Full-time student: an undergraduate student taking a minimum of 12 credits per semester.  

Grace period: the period between the time borrowers leave college or drop below half-time study and the time they must begin repaying their loans, usually six to nine months, depending on the type of loan.

Income: amount of money received from any or all of the following: wages, interest, dividends, sales, or rental of property or services, business or farm profits, certain public assistance programs, disability, inheritance, gambling or contest winnings, or retirement benefits and other types of taxable and nontaxable income.

Independent student: must meet any one of the following criteria as defined by the federal government: 24 years of age; married; have status of a graduate or professional student; have legal dependents other than a spouse; be an orphan or ward of the court (or have been a ward of the court until age 18); is an emancipated minor, is homeless or a veteran. Independent students report only their own income and assets (and those of a spouse) when applying for financial aid. A Skidmore College student who enters as a dependent and later becomes independent per federal regulations, will still be considered dependent for Skidmore College grant assistance.

Interest rate: cost paid to borrow money. This rate may be fixed or variable.

Legal dependent (for dependency determination): a child or other person (other than a spouse) who lives with and receives more than half of his or her support from the student and will continue to receive that support during the school year.

Legal guardian: a court-appointed individual whose guardianship responsibilities include using personal financial resources to support the person in his or her charge. This person is not considered a parent when completing the FAFSA.

Lender: an entity offering loans to students. It can be a private company or bank, the government or an educational institution (Perkins Loans).

Master Promissory Note (MPN): a binding, legal document that you must complete for your student loan. By signing the MPN, you are allowing Skidmore College to award your student loans for multiple years based upon that one application.  You only need to complete one MPN during your educational career at Skidmore College. 

Need: the difference between the Skidmore College cost of attendance and a student's (and family's) ability to pay.

Need analysis: the process of determining a student's financial need by analyzing the financial information provided by the student and his or her parents.  

NYS Merit (New York State Merit Scholarships): Scholarships for Academic Excellence are awarded to outstanding graduates from registered New York State high schools. Awards are based on student grades in certain Regents exams.

NYS TAP (New York State Tuition Assistance Program): the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), New York's largest grant program, helps eligible New York residents attending in-state postsecondary institutions pay for tuition. TAP grants are based on the applicant's and his or her family's New York State net taxable income. Students must file a FAFSA each year to apply and complete the Express TAP Application (ETA).

Origination fee: a fee charged by the federal government and deducted from the loan proceeds before disbursement to help reduce the cost of supporting low-interest loans; currently assessed on Federal PLUS and Direct Loans, but not on the Federal Perkins Loan.

Rhode Island State Grant: The Rhode Island State Grant Program is designed to provide grants (non-repayable financial assistance) to those students whose family resources are not sufficient to meet the costs of higher education. Applicants for the Grant program must file a complete FAFSA. Grants are eligible to be used out of state.

Satisfactory academic progress: the academic standard, as determined by Skidmore College, in compliance with federal regulations that a student must meet to continue receiving financial aid.

Scholarships: educational funds that do not require repayment from present or future earnings and are usually awarded on the basis of merit.

SEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant):  federal grant program for undergraduate students with exceptional need. SEOG grants are awarded by the school's financial aid office and provide up to $4,000 per year.  To qualify, a student must also be a recipient of a Federal Pell Grant. 

Servicer: a company employed by a lender to perform administrative tasks involved with loans, such as the processing of deferments and collection of payments.

Skidmore Grant: a type of financial aid based on financial need that the student does not have to repay. 

Skidmore Work Study: - a Skidmore employment program which is available to both aided and non-aided students.

Student Aid Report (SAR): produced by the federal government in response to a student filing the FAFSA.  This information is sent to the student after he/she completes the FAFSA.  The report contains all the information supplied on the FAFSA.  The Office of Financial Aid receives the same information electronically.
Unmet need: Due to budget constraints the Office of Financial Aid may provide the student with less than the student's need (as determined by the Office of Financial Aid).  This gap is known as the unmet need.  

Vermont Student Assistance Grant: Any Vermonter accepted or enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program who will be attending college full-time, and doesn't already have a bachelor's degree, is eligible to apply for a Vermont Incentive Grant. They can be used at schools either within Vermont or out-of-state. To apply, complete a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and a Vermont Grant Application.

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