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A GLOSSARY OF COLLEGE TERMS 


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Are you confused about such terms as "AP" or "4-1-4"? Do you know whether to answer "yes" or "no" when asked if you are an "independent student"? The following definition of terms will help to answer these and other questions you may have as you prepare for college.

ACT or SAT: The ACT and the SAT are the examinations most frequently recommended or required for college admission or placement. Many colleges also require one or more SAT Subject Tests.

Advanced Placement (AP): College-level courses offered in high schools for which students pay a fee to take the exam. (Grades on a scale of 1 to 5). Scores of 3 and above may be eligible for credit and advanced standing at many colleges.

Calendar Plan: Describes the number and length of terms per year: semester (2 terms), trimester (3 terms), quarter (4 terms, 1 a summer session), and various plans such as "4-1-4" (a 4-month term, followed by a 1-month term, followed by another 4-month term), etc.

College Board: A not-for-profit membership association responsible for administering SAT, SAT Subject Tests, PSAT/NMSQT, AP, and CLEP tests.

College Work-Study Programs: The program providing part-time jobs to assist students who need help to pay college costs. A maximum of 10 to 15 hours of work per week is recommended. Jobs are arranged through the school's financial aid office.

Cooperative Education: Terms of study alternated with terms of work with an outside employer.

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: A financial aid application service used by colleges and scholarship programs to help them award nonfederal student aid funds.

Deferment: A policy by which a college will allow you to defer your enrollment for one year if you notify them accordingly, reserve a space with a tuition deposit, and do not use the year for academic study elsewhere.

Dependent Students: Those who are at least partially dependent on their parents for financial support. Parents of a dependent student must submit parental information on the FAFSA for the student to be considered for financial aid.

Early Decision: Although dates vary from college to college, in general all credentials must be in by November 15. The admission and financial aid decision is given by December 15; the reply date from candidate is January 1.

Equivalency Examination: A test (e.g. GED) which measures competencies equal to high school graduation. Can be used in lieu of a diploma or graduation certificate.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The amount, determined by a formula established by the U.S. Congress, a student and family are expected to contribute toward the student's education. The EFC is used to determine student's financial need and aid eligibility.

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the only application used by the federal government for awarding federal student financial aid. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Information is available at www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov or by calling 1-800-4-FEDAID. Hearing impaired: call 1-800-730-8913.

Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program: A Federal program whereby subsidized or unsubsidized low interest loans are provided by private lenders.

Federal Pell Grant: Financial assistance from the Federal government, based on the Expected Family Contribution as demonstrated on the FAFSA. Award is either paid directly to the student from the school or credited to tuition.

Federal Perkins Loans: Loans funded by the Federal government and processed by the educational institution. The loans have low interest rates and are repayable over an extended period of time.

Federal Stafford Student Loan: A loan whereby the Federal government pays the interest while the student is in school. The student assumes the responsibility for repayment of the loan six months after leaving school.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Federal funds available through institutions to a limited number of undergraduate students with extreme financial need.

GPA: Grade Point Average; numerical average of accumulated grades.

Grant: A form of financial aid that does not have to be repaid.

Independent Student: One who is: (1) at least 24 years old; (2) an orphan or a ward of the court; (3) a veteran; (4) a graduate, professional or married student not claimed on a parental tax return; (5) a student who has legal dependents.

Interview: Recommended but not required part of the admission process. An opportunity to exchange information with an admissions officer.

Need (Financial): Determined by information presented on FAFSA. This figure is used to prepare student's financial aid package.

Parent Loan to Undergraduate Students (PLUS): A loan made to parents of financially dependent undergraduate or vocational school students. The parents assume the responsibility for repaying the loan.

PSAT: A test available at high schools to give students preparation for the SAT. Test score results determine National Merit Award finalists. Must be taken junior year for National Merit consideration.

Recommendation: Evaluations by teachers, counselors, headmasters, etc., which are an important part of the admission decision.

Rolling Admission: Admission is offered as the decision is made.

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language. Required of foreign students who are overseas at the time they apply.

Waiting List: A list of candidates who do not receive an initial offer of admission but who may be admitted later, after initial acceptances have been received by the college.

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