Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

When navigating the world of financial aid, you will encounter terms and acronyms that may be unfamiliar. We’ve defined a few of the most important terms here. You may also want to review the types of aid available at Menlo. For a comprehensive list of financial aid terms, visit the Federal Student Aid Glossary.

If you have any questions not answered here, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

Your or your family’s wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus allowable deductions as reported on a federal tax return.

Award Letter

An offer from a college or career school that states the type and amount of financial aid the school is willing to provide if you accept admission and register to take classes at that school.

COA (Cost of Attendance)

COA includes direct costs (tuition and fees, room and board) and indirect costs (books and supplies, travel and personal expenses). You cannot receive more financial aid than your total Cost of Attendance.

Dependent Student

A student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student. An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Disbursement

Payment of the loan funds to the borrower by the school. Students generally receive their federal student loan in two or more disbursements.

EFC (Expected Family Contribution)

EFC is the minimum amount of money you and your family are expected to contribute to Cost of Attendance. The EFC is calculated based on the information you report on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Eligibility

Eligibility for financial aid is based on your calculated Need. Every college uses this basic formula to calculate your need: COA – EFC = NEED. The Cost of Attendance will vary from school to school, so your Need will also vary.

FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid, used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study.

Federal School Code

An identifier that the U.S. Department of Education assigns to each college or career school that participates in the federal student aid programs. In order to send your FAFSA information to a school, you must list the school’s Federal School Code on your application. Menlo’s school code is 001236.

Federal Student Aid PIN

Your electronic personal identification number that serves as your identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as your digital signature on some online forms. If you do not already have a PIN, you can request one online at www.pin.ed.gov.

Federal Verification

The federal government selects some FAFSAs for verification. If your FAFSA is selected, you will be required to submit the following documents to Menlo’s Office of Financial Aid: a Federal Verification Worksheet; verified tax information from the IRS using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA website or by providing IRS tax return transcripts and, if applicable, your W-2s and Schedules. (If you are a dependent, your parent will need to submit signed tax return, W-2s and Schedules as well.)

Financial Aid Offer

The total amount of financial aid (federal and nonfederal) a student is offered by a college or career school. The school’s financial aid staff combines various forms of aid into a “package” to help meet a student’s education costs.

Financial Aid Office

The office at a college or career school that is responsible for preparing and communicating information on financial aid. This office helps students apply for and receive student loans, grants, scholarships and other types of financial aid.

Financial Aid Package

The total amount of financial aid (federal and nonfederal) a student is offered by a college or career school. The school’s financial aid staff combines various forms of aid into a “package” to help meet a student’s education costs.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FREE application used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study.

Grant

Financial aid, often based on financial need, that does not need to be repaid (unless, for example, you withdraw from school and owe a refund).

Independent Student

An independent student is one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Merit-based

Based on a student’s skill or ability. Example: A merit-based scholarship might be awarded based on a student’s high grades.

Need

In the world of financial aid, “need” is the difference between what you can afford to pay and the cost of attending your college. Your calculated Need is the maximum amount of need-based financial aid you are eligible to receive. Menlo uses the FAFSA to determine your need. Note that your Need will usually be covered in part by student loans.

Net Price

An estimate of the actual cost that a student and his family need to pay in a given year to cover education expenses for the student to attend a particular school. Net price is determined by taking the institution’s cost of attendance and subtracting any grants and scholarships for which the student may be eligible.

Net Price Calculator

A tool that allows current and prospective students, families, and other consumers to estimate the net price of attending a particular college or career school.

Regular Student

A student who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized education credential offered by that institution. To be eligible for federal student aid, you must generally be a regular student.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

A school’s standards for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by that institution. Check with your school to find out its standards.

Scholarship

Money awarded to students based on academic or other achievements to help pay for education expenses. Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

A summary of the information you submitted on your FAFSA. You receive this report (often called the SAR) via e-mail a few days after your FAFSA has been processed or by mail within 7-10 days if you did not provide an e-mail address. If there are no corrections or additional information you must provide, the SAR will contain your EFC, which is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

Verification

The process your school uses to confirm the data reported on your FAFSA. Your school has the authority to contact you for documentation that supports income and other information that you reported.

More Questions?

Contact us any time:

financialaid@menlo.edu
650.543.3880