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Glossary, A-F

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15 course pattern
The “15 course pattern” or “pattern 15” refers to the 15 year-long courses that students must take and pass with a “C” grade or better to become minimally eligible to apply to the University of California and California State University.  The specific course work is reflected in the school’s or program’s "a-g" list found at  The courses included in the pattern 15 come from the "a-g" subject areas: a. History/Social Science, b. English, c. Mathematics, and so on.  Please see "a-g" requirements for further information.

529 Plan
A 529 Plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. As long as the plan satisfies a few basic requirements, the federal tax law provides special tax benefits to the plan participant (Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code).  529 plans are usually categorized as either prepaid or savings, although some have elements of both. Every state now has at least one 529 plan available. NOTE: Educational institutions can offer a 529 prepaid plan but not a 529 savings plan (the private-college Independent 529 Plan is the only institution-sponsored 529 plan thus far).
California has two types of 529 Plans: the ScholarShare Advisor College Savings Plan AND the ScholarShare College Savings Plan. See California 529 plans at for detailed information.  

Academic Advisor/Counselor
A person who helps students select the correct courses, review the course requirements in the field he/she selected to pursue and help with any academic problems students may encounter. At some colleges, academic advisement is conducted by faculty as part of job duties. Other colleges may designate specific staff as academic counselors.

Academic Probation
Colleges and universities require students to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) to remain in school. Any student not maintaining satisfactory progress toward his/her educational objectives will likely be placed on probation for a semester.

Academic Year
The period of formal academic instruction, usually extending from September to May. Depending on the institution, it may be divided into terms of varying lengths: semesters, trimesters, or quarters.

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Accelerated Study
A program that allows a student to graduate in less time than is usually required. For instance, by taking summer terms and extra courses during the academic year, a student might finish a bachelor’s degree in three years instead of four.

The ability or right to approach, enter, use; admittance. Access to higher education focuses on providing students with the opportunity to pursue a college education. The Lumina Foundation has identified information and encouragement, academic preparation, and financial aid as factors affecting postsecondary access.

Approval of colleges, universities, and secondary schools by nationally recognized professional associations. Institutional accreditation affects the transferability of credits from one institution to another before a degree program is completed and the continuation from one degree level to the next level.

Add/Drop: A process at the beginning of a term whereby students can change their course schedules, adding or dropping classes with the instructor's permission.

Advanced Placement (AP) courses
High-level, quality courses in any of twenty subjects. The AP program is administered through the College Board to offer high school course curriculum equated to college courses and correlated to AP examinations in those subjects. High schools provide the courses as part of their curriculum to eligible students. Based on the composite score on an AP test, which ranges from 0 to 5, a college may award college credit or advanced placement to a participating student. A score of a 4 or 5 on the AP test is usually required by colleges for credit or advanced placement in college courses. A 3 is sometimes acceptable in foreign languages and some other subject areas. Some colleges limit the number of AP credits that they will recognize. Others do not accept AP courses in lieu of college classes, especially in certain majors. Check schools’ policies on AP credits.

Advanced Placement (AP) Test
Test used to earn credit for college subjects studied in high school. They are offered by ETS in the spring. AP tests are scored on a scale from 1 to 5 (the best possible score). See also Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

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Advanced Standing Credit
These are credit hours that an institution accepts toward a degree from courses that the student has earned elsewhere. Such credit may be given for work done at another college, by examination or "testing out," or by military service.

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
A 5th - 12th grade program that encourages largely lower-income, underrepresented, motivated students to achieve their potential and attend a four-year college. AVID requires enrollment in an elective class taught by an AVID-trained teacher, enrollment in a school’s most rigorous courses such as AP, use of AVID methods of writing as a tool of learning, inquiry-based lessons, detailed Cornell note-taking skills, collaborative learning, and extensive reading, AVID is not a curriculum but rather a program of collaboration, support, and teaching methodology that requires a site coordinator, tutors, and staff development. 

One of many student information systems that school districts use to houses contact information, courses, grades, attendance, and progress toward graduation.

"a-g" Requirements
The sequence of high school courses that are required by the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) college systems to determine eligibility for admission.
   a. History/Social Science–- 2 years required   
   b. English–- 4 years required. No more than one year of ESL-type courses can be used to meet this requirement.
   c. Mathematics–- 3 years required, 4 years recommended
   d. Laboratory Science-– 2 years required, 3 years recommended
   e. Language Other than English-– 2 years required, 3 years recommended
   f. Visual/Performing Arts (VPA)-– 1 yearlong approved course from a single VPA discipline
   g. College Preparatory Elective-– 1 year required

"a-g" Subjects
The "a-g" subjects are history/social science, English, mathematics, laboratory science, language other than English, visual/performing arts, and college-preparatory electives.  The University of California labels them by the letters "a-g" rather than numbers or in some other manner.

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Alternative Admissions Assessment
This method personalizes the admissions process and offers students an opportunity to be viewed more individually and holistically. Less emphasis is placed on standardized test scores and more on the interview, portfolio, recommendations, and essay.

American College Testing Program (ACT)
One of the two national standardized college entrance examinations widely used in the United States. The other is the SAT.  Many universities require either the ACT or the SAT as part of an application for admission. The ACT exams measure level of understanding in four subjects areas: English, Mathematics, Reading (primarily Social Studies), and science reasoning, and an optional Writing Test. These exams average 40 minutes for each subject and are intended to test how well a student will do on the type of academic work expected in college. The score is the average of all four tests; the maximum score is 36.

The procedure/process by which a prospective student submits the required forms and credentials to his/her chosen college/s. Application criteria may include one or more of the following: record of previous academic achievement (transcript/s), test scores, interviews, recommendations, and other information provided by the applicant. Depending on the application requirements of a particular school, the student can gain acceptance to the institution if the decision to accept the application is positive.

Articulation Agreement
A special agreement between colleges that defines how students transfer from a community college to a four-year college or university.

Associate Degree
A degree or certification awarded upon successful completion of a two year course of study at a community or junior college  Types of degrees include the Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.), usually granted after the equivalent of the first two years of a four-year college curriculum, and the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), awarded upon completion of a technical or vocational program of study.

To take a class without receiving a grade or credit toward a degree.

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Award Letter/
Award Package/
Financial Aid Notification (FAN)
An official document issued by a school's financial aid office that lists all of the financial aid awarded to the student. This letter provides details on their analysis of your financial need and the breakdown of your financial aid package according to amount, source and type of aid. The award letter will include the terms and conditions for the financial aid and information about the cost of attendance. You are required to sign a copy of the letter, indicating whether you accept or decline each source of aid, and return it to the financial aid office. Some schools call the award letter the "Financial Aid Notification (FAN)."
Award package — This is the way colleges and universities deliver their news about student eligibility for financial aid or grants. The most common packages include Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and Work Study 

Bachelor of Arts (BA)
A degree awarded by a college or university upon successful completion of a four-year course of study in humanities, social sciences, or related studies.  

Bachelor of Science (BS)
A degree awarded by a college or university upon successful completion of a four-year course of study in science, engineering, mathematics, etc.

Bachelor’s Degree (Baccalaureate Degree)
Degree conferred by an institution of higher learning after the student has accumulated a certain number of undergraduate credits. Usually a bachelor's degree takes four years to earn, and it is a prerequisite for studies in a graduate program. (College Terminology)

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Branch Campus
A campus connected to, or part of, a large institution. Generally, a student spends the first two years at a branch campus and then transfers to the main campus to complete the baccalaureate degree. A branch campus provides a smaller and more persona environment that may help a student mature personally and academically before moving to a larger and more impersonal environment. A branch campus experience may be a good idea for a student who chooses (or needs) to remain close to home or for an adult learner who wishes to work and attend college classes on a part-time basis. (College Terminology)

Bursar’s Office/Student Accounts Office
Office that works with student payments, refund and financial aid checks, payment plans and tuition policies. This is the university/college office that is responsible for the billing and collection of university/college charges.

Cal Grant A, B, C
State-funded grants given to students to help pay for college expenses. Cal Grant Awards do not have to be paid back. Each Cal Grant has different criteria. To apply, students must follow the instructions and complete the appropriate sections of the FAFSA, including “yes” to question 33 and completing all of section 1 State information. Students should see school counselors or other appropriate school and/or college outreach personnel for additional information and materials needed. File the FAFSA form between January 1 and March 2.  (Financial Aid)

California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE)
All California public school students must pass the CASHEE exams, as well as meet all other state and local requirements, in order to receive a high school diploma. According to the California Department of Education, “the purpose of the High School Exit Examination is to significantly improve student achievement in public high schools and to ensure that students who graduate from public high schools can demonstrate grade level competency in reading, writing and mathematics.”  The CAHSEE has two parts: English-language arts (ELA) and mathematics.

California State University (CSU) Eligibility Index
The CSU Eligibility Index Table shows the combination of test scores and grade point averages required to meet minimum eligibility requirements. The CSU does not use the SAT Writing section or the ACT Writing score to calculate the CSU Eligibility Index.

Or, if you took the ACT, multiply your grade point average by 200 and add ten times the ACT composite score. The ACT composite score can be calculated using the best scores earned in individual test dates. ACT Writing score is not considered in the composite score.

You can calculate your eligibility index by multiplying your grade point average by 800 and adding your combined score on the SAT, using the combined scores earned on the critical reading and math sections. California Residents: Students with GPAs of 3.0 or above automatically qualify for CSU while students with GPAs below 2.0 do not qualify for regular admission. For students whose GPAs fall between 2.0 and 3.0.

If you are a California high school graduate (or a resident of California for tuition purposes), you need a minimum eligibility index of 2900 using the SAT combined score for critical reading and math sections or 694 using the ACT.   Nonresidents of California are required to have a minimum eligibility index of 3502 (SAT) or 842 (ACT).

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Candidates Reply Date Agreement (CRDA)
If admitted to a college, a student does not have to reply until May 1. This allows time to hear from all the colleges to which the student applied before having to make a commitment to any of them. This is especially important because financial aid packages vary from one school to another, and the CRDA allows time to compare packages before deciding.

Class Rank
A measure of a student's academic performance compared to all other students in the same grade at the same school.

A number or ratio indicating a student's academic standing in his or her graduating class. A student who ranks first in a class of 100 students would report his or her class rank as 1/100, while a student ranking last would report 100/100. Class rank may also be expressed in percentiles (for example, the top 25 percent, the lower 50 percent).

See College Level Examination Program

An institution of higher learning that offers undergraduate programs, usually of a four-year duration, that lead to the bachelor's degree in the arts or sciences (B.A. or B.S.). The term "college" is also used in a general sense to refer to a postsecondary institution. A college may also be a part of the organizational structure of a university. 

an institution of higher education that grants degrees and certificates. The term is also used to designate the organizational units of a university such as the College of Education or the College of Engineering.

College Board
College Board   A nonprofit educational association of colleges, universities, educational systems and other educational institutions. The College Board oversees AP, SAT, and other college-related programs and initiatives. For more information, see College Board Online (CBO).

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College Catalog
An official university/college publication (often also an online document) that provides all types of information parents and students need to know about a college. The catalog describes, for example: the institution's history and philosophy, policies and procedures, its accreditation status, courses of study/academic programs, degrees and certificates offered, physical facilities (laboratories, dormitories, libraries, etc.), entrance requirements, admission and enrollment procedures, financial aid, student life activities, etc.

College-Going Culture

The environment, attitudes, and behaviors in schools and communities that support and encourage students and their families to obtain the information, tools and perspective to ensure access to and success in postsecondary education.
Elements of a College Going Culture: College Talk, Clear Expectations, Information and Resources, Comprehensive Counseling, Testing and Curriculum, Faculty Involvement, Family Involvement, College Partnerships, Articulation.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
An exam or series of exams that can be administered to students who desire to obtain college credit by taking proficiency tests in selected courses. If the student scores high enough on the test, college credit can be awarded. There is a charge for each test taken. Information concerning an individual institution's policies toward CLEP Tests can be found in the institution's catalog.

College Preparatory
That which prepares one for college. The term is typically used to describe the type of curriculum, instruction, classes and/or materials provided at an institution.

College Preparatory Courses
Courses taken in high school that are viewed by colleges and universities as a strong preparation for college work. The specific courses are usually in the five majors area of English, history, world languages, mathematics, and science. The courses may be regular, honors-level, or AP (IB) offerings, and the latter two categories are often weighted when calculated in the GPA.

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Common Applications (Universal Applications)
These college application forms can save students hours of work. The Common Application is presently accepted by about 150+ independent colleges, while the Universal is used by 57 colleges. The colleges and universities that accept these standardized forms give them equal weight with their own application forms. Students complete the information on the standardized form and then submit it to any of the schools listed as accepting it. Some schools will return a supplementary form to be completed by the applicant, but most schools base their decisions on these documents alone. Both the Common Application and the Universal Application are available on line.   

Community College/Junior College
A two-year institution of higher education. Course offerings generally include a transfer curriculum with credits transferable toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college, and an occupational or technical curriculum with courses of study designed to prepare students for employment in two years.

A commuter is a student who lives off-campus and drives to class, or commutes.

Concurrent Enrollment
A student can enroll and attend two educational institutions at the same time provided that certain criteria are met. For example: A high school senior can concurrently enroll in high school and in college provided he/she meets established criteria. A college student can concurrently enroll at two higher education institutions provided that certain criteria are met. Permission for concurrent enrollments are generally made in advance.

Core Curriculum/ Core Requirements
The body of knowledge that all students are expected to acquire. These are compulsory courses required for completion of the degree

A condition of enrollment involving a course that a student is required to take simultaneously in order to enroll in another course.

Cost of Attendance (COA)/Cost of Education
This includes the total amount it should cost the student to go to school, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal and incidental expenses. Loan fees, if applicable, may also be included in the COA as may child care and expense for disabilities (however, these are at the discretion of the financial aid administrator (FAA). A student’s financial aid eligibility is the difference between the cost of education and the Expected Family Contribution as computed by the federal government using the FAFSA. Cost of Attendance (COA)  (Also known as the cost of education or "budget") Typically, colleges establish different standard budget amounts for students living on-campus and off-campus, married and unmarried students,  and in-state and out-of-state students.

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Regularly scheduled class sessions of one to five (or more) hours per week during a term. A degree program is made up of a specified number of required and elective courses and varies from institution to institution. The courses offered by an institution are usually assigned a name and a number (such as Mathematics 101) for identification purposes.

Course Load
Course load — The number of course credit hours a student takes in each semester. Twelve credit hours is the minimum to be considered a full-time student. The average course load per semester is 16 credit hours.

Course Number(s)
All college courses are identified by numbers usually containing 3 or 4 digits, for example Freshman English might be 1113.  In this case, the first digit indicates the class year in which the subject is usually taken, the middle 1 or 2 digits identify the course within the subject field, and the last digit indicates the number of credit hours the course carries. A course number beginning with a "0" indicates that it does not carry credit hours applicable to a degree.

A unit by which an institution measures its courses. Credits are the means by which colleges record the completion of courses of instruction (with passing or higher grades) that are required for an academic degree. The number of credits assigned to a course is determined by the number of class hours per week.
Credits: The catalog of a college or university defines the number and the kinds of credits that are required for its degrees and states the value in terms of degree credit —"credit hours" or "credit units" — of each course offered.

Credit Hours
Courses taken in college are measured in terms of credit hours. To earn one credit hour, a student must attend a class for one classroom hour (usually 50 minutes) per week for the whole semester (usually 16 weeks). Most classes meet 3 hours a week; however, classes are offered in 1 - 5 credit hour increments, and sometimes larger amounts.
NOTE: The number of hours per week that courses meet are counted as equivalent credits for financial aid and used to determine student status as a full- or part-time student.

The practice, through agreements between colleges, of permitting students enrolled at one college or university to enroll in courses at another institution without formally applying for admission to the second institution. This can be an advantage for students in a smaller college who might like to expand options or experience another learning environment.

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Diploma or title conferred by a college, university, or professional school upon graduation from college/upon completion of a prescribed program of studies.

Degree Plan
A specific list of required courses and electives to be completed for a degree.

Degree Requirements
Those requirements prescribed by other institutions for completion of a program of study are generally termed degree requirements. Requirements may include a minimum number of hours, required GPA, prerequisite and elective courses within the specified major, and/or minor areas of study.

The basic organizational unit in a higher education institution, and is responsible for the academic functions in a field of study. It may also be used in the broader sense to indicate an administrative or service unit of an institution.

Discussion classes/sessions
Discussion classes/sessions often accompany large lecture courses and provide students the opportunity to talk about material being taught, ask questions, and discuss material with their classmates. Discussion classes are often taught by Masters or Doctoral students.
The process by which financial aid funds are made available to students for use in meeting educational and related living expenses.

This term may have several meanings: an administrative unit of an institution, usually consisting of more than one department… a unit of an institution based on the year-level of students - i.e., lower and upper division… or a branch of the institution, instructional or not - i.e., the Division of Student Affairs.

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Doctorate (Ph.D.)
The highest academic degree conferred by a university on students who have completed at least three years of graduate study beyond the bachelor's and/or master's degree and who have demonstrated their academic ability in oral and written examinations and through original research presented in the form of a dissertation.

Double Major
Available at most schools, the double major allows a student to complete all the requirements to simultaneously earn majors in two fields.

Dual Enrollment
This policy/practice allows a student to earn college credit while still in high school. Many of these course credits can be transferred to a degree-granting institution, especially if the student maintains a minimum B average. A college, however, may disallow courses taken in the major field of concentration at another institution because its policy dictates that all courses in the major must be taken at the college. When considering dual enrollment, students should talk with admissions offices at the colleges they are considering enrolling in to make sure that they will accept credit transfers.

Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP)
A college-preparatory program geared toward helping middle and high school students with demonstrated potential get to college. Student services include an array of academic-enrichment activities and programs that include challenging courses, academic advising, preparation for standardized tests, on-campus residential programs, Saturday Academies, and educational programs for families. The goal of EAOP is to increase opportunities for participating students to prepare for and successfully apply to University of California. The website has a program overview, an online library, a college planning calendar, and descriptions of the various UC campus school-based programs.

Early Action Program (EA)
A program with earlier deadlines and earlier notification dates than the regular admissions process. Students who apply to an early action program do not commit to attending the school if admitted, unlike an early decision program. Early Action option allows students to receive a decision by December 15 without committing to attending that college. In other words, the application is non-binding, so it allows students to apply to other colleges as well. Applications for Early Action must be completed generally by November 15; however, the deadlines for some colleges vary, so make sure you find out each college's deadline. Colleges that offer Early Action option will notify you of your acceptance early (usually by December 15). Your deadline for notifying them of your decision to attend, however, remains the regular May 1 deadline.  NOTE: Ivy League schools do not allow you to apply to more than one Ivy early action.

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Early Admission Program
A program that allows exceptional high school juniors to skip their senior year and enroll instead in college. The students are enrolled full-time and do not complete their senior year of high school. Colleges usually award high school diplomas to these students after they have completed a certain number of college-level courses.
NOTE: The term "Early Admission" is sometimes used to refer collectively to Early Action and Early Decision programs.

Early Decision Program
A program with earlier deadlines and earlier notification dates than the regular admissions process. Students who apply to an early decision program commit to attending the school if admitted (thus, early decision can be applied to only one school). Unfortunately, this means the student has accepted the offer of admission before they find out about the financial aid package. You should only participate in an early decision program if the school is your first choice and you won't want to consider other schools.

Educational Guidance Center (EGC)
EGC targets low-income, first-generation college students and provides college advising and support services to high school students.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
A program which assists low income, economically disadvantaged students with admissions, academic support services, and financial aid at University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges. Services include tutoring, counseling, and cultural/social activities. Criteria for eligibility may vary at different campuses.  Contact the campus of your choice for more information.

Educational Testing Service (ETS)
This organization administers the SAT I and SAT II exams provided by the College Board.. Although ETS is a separate organization, most of high school work is carried out under contract with CEEB (REDO). ETS is responsible for development of test materials, security of test materials, organization of test centers, and reporting of test scores. (College Entrance Exams)

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Courses that students may "elect," or choose, to take for credit toward their intended degree, as distinguished from courses that they are required to take.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Used by some schools and lenders to wire funds for Stafford and PLUS loans directly to participating schools without requiring an intermediate check for the student to endorse. The money is transferred electronically instead of using paper, and hence is available to the student sooner. If you have a choice of funds transfer methods, use EFT.

Eligibility/Competitive Eligibility
Eligibility to apply to U.C.’s and C.S.U.’s means that you have been taking a-g classes and will have completed the minimum number of courses (15) by the time you graduate, passing all with a C grade or better.  Competitive eligibility means that you have surpassed most or all of the minimum requirements (for example, you took 4 years of Spanish in stead of the minimum 2 years) and you have passed all with a C grade but more likely with B’s and A’s.  Competitive eligibility is also described by The Regents of the University of California ‘s Committee on Educational Policy in January 14, 1999: “The term competitive eligibility is used to indicate the high level of preparation and achievement needed for a student to be admitted to the most selective campuses.”

Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC)
One of three paths to freshman eligibility at the University of California. Under ELC, the top 4 percent of students in each California high school class are designated UC-eligible based on completion of high school coursework.

An area of concentration within a major or minor; for example, an English major may have an emphasis in creative writing.

Funds owned by an institution and invested to produce income to support the operation of the institution. Many educational institutions use a portion of their endowment income for financial aid. A school with a larger ratio of endowment per student is more likely to give larger financial aid packages.

English Language Development (ELD)
Category of language arts courses that are to supplement the usual course of study in English for students who do not speak English as a primary language

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Enrollment/Enrollment Status
This is the process by which students choose classes each semester. Enrollment also includes the assessment and collection of fees.  Pre-enrollment is the method by which students select courses well in advance of the official enrollment date of the next term.

Enrollment Status: An indication of whether you are a full-time or part-time student. Generally you must be enrolled at least half-time (and in some cases full-time) to qualify for financial aid.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The amount of financial support a family is expected to contribute to their student’s college education. This amount is part of a needs analysis formula used by the federal government to determine financial aid eligibility using the FAFSA form. The EFC is calculated based on a formula that takes into account the student's dependency status, family size, income, assets, expenses, and number of family members enrolled in a higher education institution. Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

If a student has unusual financial circumstances (such as high medical expenses, loss of employment or death of a parent) that may impact his/her/the family’s ability to pay for a college education, a student should tell her/his financial aid administrator (FAA). An FAA can use professional judgment to adjust the COA or EFC to compensate.

Extracurricular Activities
Pursuits outside the regular curriculum of the educational institution. These endeavors can take place in school and/or in the community. Some extracurricular activities involve sports teams, student clubs, student government, performing arts, church leadership, volunteer opportunities, recreational and social organizations, service projects, and any other positive learning experience.  

Federal Pell Grant
An award to help undergraduates pay for their education after high school.  See: Pell Grant

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Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Loans
This loan is made to the parent by a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association. Interest rates are linked to the 52-week treasury bill rates, but may not exceed 12 percent. May be used to replace the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Federal Perkins Loan
A low-interest loan to help students pay for their education. These loans are for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need, as determined by the school. For undergraduate students, priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients. Federal Perkins Loans are made through a college's financial aid office.

Federal Stafford Loan
Low-interest loans that are made to students attending college at least half-time. Loans are made by a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association. These loans are insured by the guaranty agency in each state and reinsured by the federal government. The federal government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in college (subsidized), or the student is responsible for paying the interest (unsubsidized). Repayment rates will vary between the subsidized and unsubsidized loans under this program.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
One of the campus-based programs for undergraduate students of exceptional financial need who have not completed their first baccalaureate degree and who are financially in need of this grant to enable them to pursue their education. Priority for FSEOG awards must be given to Pell Grant recipients.

Additional charge(s) not included in the tuition. Fees may be charged to cover the cost of materials and equipment needed in certain courses, and they may be assessed for student events, programs, and publications.

Final Exams (Finals)
End of course exams that are usually given during the last week of classes each semester. The type of final administered in a course is left to the discretion of the instructor.

Financial Aid/Financial Assistance
Money provided to the student and the family to help them pay for the student's education. Major forms of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and work). Aid is made available from from federal, state, institutional, and private sources. Awards from these programs may be combined in an "award package" to meet the cost of education. The types and amounts of aid awarded are determined by financial need, available funds, student classification, academic performance, and sometimes the timeliness of application.

Financial Aid Administrator (FAA)
A college or university employee who is involved in the administration of financial aid. Some schools call FAAs "Financial Aid Advisors" or "Financial Aid Counselors."

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Financial Aid Form (FAF)
The financial aid form required by most-out-of-State colleges/ universities. Students should check applicant information for the colleges to which they are applying concerning the type of form required. (Financial Aid)

Financial Need
The calculated monetary need for financial aid determined by the following equation:  Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

Financial Aid Notification (FAN)
Financial Aid Notification (FAN)  See Award Letter.

First-Generation Student
A student who will be the first person in their immediate family to attend and/or graduate from college.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid  (FAFSA)
FAFSA is the student aid form required for California colleges and universities. Complete between January 1 and March 2. The FAFSA form is then processed and your financial need is determined in the form of eligibility index.

The form that must be completed and submitted to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. The FAFSA must be submitted every year that financial aid is needed.

This is the federal government’s instrument for calculating need-based aid. It is available from high school guidance departments, college financial aid offices, and the Internet ( The form should be completed and mailed as soon after January 2 as possible.

Federal Perkins Loan
Low interest loan sponsored by the federal government. A student applies by using the FAFSA (or FHA) form and checking the appropriate box, indicating a preference for a loan.

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Federal Stafford Loan
These loans are administered by the California Student Aid Commission and are for students who demonstrate financial need. Interest rate for new borrowers is variable (approximately 8%).

Financial Aid Package

The complete collection of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study employment from all sources (federal, state, institutional and private) offered to a student to enable them to attend the college or university. Note that unsubsidized Stafford loans and PLUS loans are not considered part of the financial aid package, since these financing options are available to the family to help them meet the EFC.

Flex Classes
College courses that are offered in formats other than in the traditional full semester (weekend college, online, blend of online and face-to-face, fast forward).

Full-Time Enrollment/Full-Time Student

A student enrolled in 12 or more credit hours in a semester (full-time status for a Summer term is usually 6 credit hours).


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Last modified on 1/14/2010

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