College and Career Planning: FCPS Services

Financial Aid Vocabulary

Award Letter

Notification of the terms and requirements of the financial aid package offered by a college

College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile

A financial aid application required by some schools in addition to the FAFSA

Cooperative Education

A program which allows students to alternate college studies with salaried work experience off-campus

Cost of Attendance (COA)

The annual cost of attending college that is used to determine a student's financial need; includes tuition, books, fees, room and board, transportation and out-of-pocket expenses; also referred to as the student expense budget

Dependent Student

An unmarried student under the age of 24 who has no dependents and who is at least partially dependent on parental support

Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)

The total amount a student and his or her family are expected to pay toward college costs from their income and assets

Federal Methodology

A formula established by Congress that evaluates the expected family contribution to determine eligibility for all types of financial aid

Federal Work-Study Program

A federally sponsored campus-based program that provides employment opportunities for students with demonstrated need

Financial Aid Package

The total financial aid award offered to the student which may include grants, scholarships, loans, and work study

Financial Need

The amount by which a student's estimated family contribution falls short of covering the cost of attendance

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

A form distributed by the federal government for use by students applying for federal financial aid programs; may be mailed or filed electronically using FAFSA on the Web

Gift Aid

Student financial aid, such as scholarships and grants, that does not have to be repaid and does not require a student's being employed


A financial award that does not have to be repaid

Independent Student

A student who is not dependent on parental support and meets one of several conditions established by the federal government

Institutional Methodology

A formula used to determine eligibility for college money


Money borrowed that must be paid back with interest

Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority (PHEAA)

Needs analysis for Pennsylvania state grants and federal student aid


Monetary award that does not have to be repaid

Self-help Aid

Student financial aid, such as loans and federal work-study jobs, that require repayment or a student's being employed

Simplified Needs Test

A formula used by families whose total adjusted gross incomes are under $50,000 and who are eligible to file a 1040EZ, 1040A, or no tax return at all

SREB Academic Common Market

An agreement among fifteen states which enables students to receive a waiver for out of state tuition for specific majors not offered in their home state

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)

Virginia's coordinating body for higher education and financial aid resources

Student Aid Report (SAR)

Summary of information submitted by students using the FAFSA; includes the expected family contribution and a listing of colleges that will receive the report

Tuition Payment Plan

Alternative method of payment designed by colleges, banks, insurance companies and financial management organizations: most offer either prepayment or installment options

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Last Updated

October 13, 2011