Glossary - S

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The total amount regularly paid or stipulated to be paid to an individual, before deductions, for personal services rendered while on the payroll of a business or organization.

Salary Workers

Any person who worked one or more days during the previous year and was paid based on a yearly salary is considered a salary worker.


Student aid report. A report, summarizing financial and other information reported on the FAFSA, sent to a student by the federal government. The student's financial aid need or eligibility is indicated by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is printed on the document.

SAR Information Acknowledgement

A non-correctable one-page Student Aid Report composed of Part 1 only; it is sent to students who transmit electronic applications or corrections through their schools.


The Scholastic Aptitude Test, which is used to measure a student's ability in math, verbal comprehension, and problem solving. SATs are administered during the junior and senior years in high school.

SAT II Subject Test

Offered in many areas of study including English, mathematics, many sciences, history, and foreign languages. Some colleges require students to take one or more SAT II tests when they apply for admission.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To be eligible to receive federal student aid, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate. You must meet your school's written standard of satisfactory progress. Check with your school to find out its standard. If you received federal student aid for the first time on or after July 1, 1987, and you're enrolled in a program that's longer than two years, the following definition of satisfactory progress also applies to you: You must have a C average by the end of your second academic year of study or have an academic standing consistent with your institution's graduation requirements. You must continue to maintain satisfactory academic progress for the rest of your course of study.

Savings Plan

A methodical approach to periodically putting money into an account with a financial institution with the goal of reaching a target amount that is to be used for a stated purpose. The account preferably is an interest-bearing account.


Funds used to pay for higher education that do not have to be repaid. Scholarships may be awarded based on any number of criteria, such as academics, achievements, hobbies, talents, affiliations with various groups, or career aspirations. They usually do not provide funds for living expenses.

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)

An examination administered by the Educational Testing Service and used to predict the facility with which an individual will progress in learning college level academic subjects.


A postsecondary educational institution, such as a college, university, or career school. In this handbook, the term "school" refers to such an institution.

School Year

The 12 month period denoting the beginning and ending dates for school accounting purposes, usually from July 1 through June 30.


The body of related courses concerned with knowledge of the physical and biological world and with the processes of discovering and validating this knowledge.

Secondary School

A school that has any span of grades beginning with the next grade following an elementary or middle school (usually grade 7, 8, or 9) and ending with or below grade 12. Both junior high schools and senior high schools are included.

Section 529 Plans

State tuition savings plans, named for the section of the IRS code authorizing their existence.

Secure Sockets Layer

Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private documents over the Internet. SSL encrypts data using two keys to encrypt data - a public key known to everyone and a private or secret key known only to the recipient of the message. All modern and most older browsers support SSL, and many Web sites use the SSL protocol to protect transmission of confidential user information.

Selective Service Registration

If required by law, you must register, or arrange to register, with the Selective Service to receive federal student aid. The requirement to register applies to males who were born on or after January 1, 1960, are at least 18 years old, are citizens or eligible non-citizens, and are not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, or Palau are exempt from registering.)

SFA Programs

The programs administered by the office of Student Financial Assistance Programs within the U.S. Department of Education: Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Stafford Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, and State Student Incentive Grants.

Simple Interest

Interest computed only on the original amount of a loan.

Simplified Needs Test

The primary purpose of the Simplified Needs Test is to make it easier for some students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If a dependent student's parents' income is less than $50,000 and the relevant family members were non-tax filers or were eligible to use a1040A or a 1040EZ to file their taxes, the student completes only the first part of the application; the asset information will not have to be provided.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

A group of scientific fields of study that includes anthropology, archeology, criminology, demography, economics, geography, history, international relations, psychology, sociology, and urban studies.

Social Studies

A group of instructional programs that describes the substantive portions of behavior, past and present activities, interactions, and organizations of people associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.

Socioeconomic Status (SES)

The SES quartile variable used for both High School and Beyond and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 was built using parental education level, parental occupation, family income, and household items. Students were placed in quartiles based on their standardized composite score. By definition, one quarter of each cohort will reside in the bottom SES quartile, even if education levels, income, and the number of persons in more prestigious occupations increase. The terms high, middle, and low SES refer to the upper, middle two, and lower quartiles of the weighted SES composite index distribution.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

A federal output document sent to a student by the application processor. The SAR contains financial and other information reported by the student on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). That information is entered into the processing system, and the SAR is produced. The student's eligibility for aid is indicated by the EFC, which is printed on the front of the SAR. (See Institutional Student Information Record.)

Subsidized Loan

A subsidized loan is awarded based on financial need. You will not be charged any interest before you begin repayment or during authorized periods of deferment. The federal government "subsidizes" the interest during these periods.