FAFSA and Other Daunting Financial Aid Acronyms
Financial Aid Acronym Overview
There is an overwhelming amount of information available while researching financial aid options. Most students applying for financial aid are often overwhelmed by financial aid terminology, and acronyms used in the information. Before reading the financial aid information provided in this article, here are acronyms to know:
- FAFSA = Free Application For Student Aid
- FSA = Federal Student Aid
- EFC = Expected Family Contribution
- FPL = Federal Perkins Loan Program
- FSEOG - Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
- FWS = Federal Work Study
- PLUS = Parent Loans For Undergraduate Students
- COA = Cost of Attendance
- FFEL = Federal Family Education Loan
- LEAP = Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership
- SSIG = State Student Incentive Grant
- CPS = Central Processing System
- SAR = Student Aid Report
Where to Begin
To begin applying for financial aid fill out the FAFSA. You must submit a FAFSA to qualify for federal funding . After sending in your FAFSA, the Central Processing System verifies your information. The Central Processing System consists of government agencies such as Social Security Administration and the Department of Immigration. After your information has been evaluated, the government determines your level of need and, the amount of aid you can receive, and where the money will come from. The formula for determining financial need is COA – EFC = Financial Need. FAFSA gives parents and students access to available FSA funds. FAFSA is not financial aid, it is the form used to request financial aid. In order to receive financial aid from the federal government, you must submit your FASFA.
Available funds are always less than the level of financial need. Federal funding also fluctuates every year. Fluctuations in funding are caused by the state of the economy and college tuition rates.
Behind the Scenes
After submitting your FAFSA form, the government controls how much aid you qualify for, and where the money comes from. Financial aid comes from multiple assistance programs. The federal government also expects that students or parents are able to take out student loans. A typical financial aid package includes a Pell grant, a need-based state grant, a SEOG, FWS, a direct loan and, a Perkins Loan. Grants are not repaid, however funds supplied by the FSL must be repaid.
Federal Student Loan Programs
Take advantage of FSA programs by through assistance from FFEL or a Direct Loan, whichever is designated by your university.
FFEL program subsidies are through private lenders such as a banks or credit unions. A Direct Loan subsidies are directly through the government.
Pell grants are gifts from the federal government. All students with unmet financial need qualifies for the program, however qualifying does not guarantee you will receive a Pell grant. The amount in the grant is determined by the cost of education, the student’s enrollment status, and the EFC. Part-time students are also eligible. Pell grants are available to undergraduates without a degree.
Financial assistance through the state is provided by LEAP. In this program, the financial contributions of the state are matched by the federal government. The grant money is accessed through campus-based programs.
Campus-Based Financial Aid Programs
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded to students with considerable need for financial aid. The amounts awarded range from $100 to $4,000 dollars per year. The amount depends on the financial need and available funding that academic year.
Federal Perkins Loan Program: Federal Perkins Loans are for students with exceptional financial need and are available to both undergraduates and graduates. There is no accumulative interest while the student is in school. Loan repayment does not start until nine months after graduation.
Federal Work Study: Federal Work Study is available to both undergrads and grad students. Students who participate in this program earn money toward education expenses through a campus job. Students work up to 10 hours a week and earn at least minimum wage.
There is a difference between federal aid and campus-based aid. If you are eligible for federal aid, that does not guarantee your eligibility for campus-based aid. Financial need is calculated differently for each program. For example, the federal government does not include home equity in the EFC resulting from your FAFSA, but campus programs do, affecting your eligibility for financial aid The difference in this calculations is to separate the needy from the extremely needy.
If you are over the age of 24, married, or have children, you are an independent. Independent students do not qualify for the Federal Student Aid program. Veterans and wards of the state, are also excluded from the FSA program. FSA is only for dependent students needing resources for college. There are other forms of student loans and scholarships available for independent students who need help paying for tuition. Also understand that drug abuse effects your financial aid eligibility. Drug related convictions disqualify you from the FSA program, unless you have gone through rehab at a state-approved institution.
Last Reviewed: May 2017
- FAFSA and Other Daunting Financial Aid Acronyms
- FAFSA on the Web
- FAFSA on the Web Provides Speedy Financial Aid Processing
- Federal Grant Programs: Pell and FSEOG
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Student Financial Aid for College
- Federal Work Study
- FSEOG: Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
- The FAFSA: New Year Means New Application
Latest College & Financial Aid News
May 23, 2017
by Susan Dutca
The U.S. Department of Education will offer a contract to a single loan servicer to manage its $1.2 trillion student loan portfolio, which contains over 43 million borrowers. Instead of keeping its current contract with four different services, the ED will award Navient, GreatNet or the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) the contract. What exactly does this mean for borrowers? [...]
May 16, 2017
by Susan Dutca
The chances of getting into a private college at a significantly discounted price are fairly high these days, according to a new report by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. But have students always paid those crazy expensive college tuition costs? [...]
May 8, 2017
by Susan Dutca
Roughly half of foster youth graduate high school or receive a high school equivalency diploma by age 19, and less than four percent of foster children earn a bachelor's degree. Getting into college and paying for it is already difficult, so how do foster youth in higher education overcome seemingly impossible obstacles? [...]