Glossary of Financial Aid Terms and Acronym

These definitions are expressed in common terms, and should not be considered legal definitions. Many are essentially shorthand for very complex programs or terms and are offered to provide a cursory level of understanding.

Academic Year
The period of time between the first day of classes in Fall Semester and the last day of exams in Spring Semester.

Accounting Office
Comprises Student Accounts, Student Payroll and other financial entities. The Accounting Office generates student paychecks and the semester bills (invoices).

If a financial aid package is not as helpful as a student was hoping, he or she can appeal for a reconsideration. This often requires a written statement of appeal and extensive documentation.

The Accounting Office generates semester bills, generally mailed six weeks prior to each term. Also called an invoice.

Bonner Scholarship
These scholarships are awarded to students who are committed to volunteer service and who demonstrate significant financial need. A separate application is required. The scholarship is renewable for four years based on recipient's fulfilling service requirements.

Carleton B. Edwards Chemistry Award
These achievement-based Earlham scholarships provided by a special gift are renewable for four years.

Consumer Debt
Loans other than mortgages (includes personal loans, credit card debt, and auto loans).

Cost of Attendance
A federal term. A school's "cost of attendance" includes the figures for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, travel costs and personal expenses.

Credit (as in "having a credit on your student account," not academic "credits")
A "credit" in a student account occurs when a student's semester charges have been paid and there is still funding left in the student's account. Credits are returned to the student unless he or she requests that the Accounting Office hold any credits in the student account. This credit may be accessed by contacting the Accounting Office. Students sometimes use "credit" monies to help pay for books or living expenses. Many students request that credits be held in account to help pay the next semester's charges.

Cunningham Cultural Scholarship
These achievement-based awards are renewable for four years at Earlham.

Borrowers will be placed in default status if they do not repay student loans on schedule. There are several legal and economic ramifications of being in default.

Borrowers can apply for deferment status, postponing their educational loan payments. Once they are granted deferment, they do not have to make loan payments until the deferment status (like graduate studies or active duty in the Peace Corps) has changed.

Dependency Status
A student may be dependent or independent, based on the student's age, marital status, etc. A student's dependency status can affect the aid available to him/her. For example, independent students are eligible for increased loan amounts.

Direct Loan
A Direct Loan is a Stafford Loan or PLUS Loan which is serviced through a college instead of through a bank. Banks are not involved in the application or servicing process. Funds from a Direct Loan are paid directly to a student's account at Earlham. It is federal policy that first-time student borrowers must complete Loan Entrance Counseling to receive their Direct Loan monies.

A fund is "disbursed" when it is paid to a student account at Earlham.

(see Expected Family Contribution)

Earlham College Grant
Need-based funding provided by Earlham College to financially eligible students.

Determines whether or not a student will receive a certain type of funding. This is usually dictated by a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) although some funding uses other criteria.

Enhancement Award
Need-based funding provided by Earlham College to financially eligible students.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The information families provide on the FAFSA is put through a federally designed computation. The end result is reported on the Student Aid Report as your EFC; this is the figure colleges will use to determine eligibility for financial aid.

(see Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Federal College Work-Study (FCWS)
Employment based on student demonstrating financial need. Eligible students are given priority for on-campus positions. Off-campus community service jobs require the student to be eligible for FCWS.

Federal Pell Grant
Need-based funding provided by the Department of Education.

Financial Need
"Financial need" is a federal term meaning the difference between a school's cost of attendance and a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

First-time Borrower
Any student who is borrowing through the Direct (Stafford) or Perkins Loan program for the first time.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The application for all types of federal student aid. Both the parent and the student must provide information and signatures (unless the student meets the requirements to be considered independent). Available online at:

Freedom of Choice Grant
Need-based funding from the State of Indiana, awarded to Indiana residents attending private colleges in Indiana.

Typically need-based funding that you don't have to pay back; grants can come from a variety of sources.

Higher Education Award
Need-based funding from the State of Indiana, awarded to Indiana residents.

The total amount of loan debt a student incurs while paying for college expenses.

Interest is the cost of borrowing money. Lenders loan you money, and for providing the funding when you need it, they charge you interest. The lower the interest rate, the better.

Funding that must be paid back.

Loan Entrance Counseling
An information session for first-time borrowers required before the funds can be paid to the student's account. It is the Department of Education's method for ensuring that students know they are borrowing funds for their education, and that the student is expected to repay the loans. Earlham cannot disburse loan funds for first-time borrowers until they have completed Loan Entrance Counseling.

Loan Exit Counseling
An information session for students preparing to leave Earlham, before graduation, or prior to a student's withdrawal date. The student borrower receives information about their total indebtedness and repayment plans available to them.

Loan Origination Fee
A charge for processing your loan. Sometimes it is a flat rate, other times it is a percentage of the amount you borrow.

May Term
A one-month term following Spring Semester.

Merit Scholarship
Funds awarded based on a student's achievements, activities, involvement or credentials as expressed in the admissions application. Admissions staff selects the recipients of all achievement awards at Earlham.

National Merit Scholarship
Funding awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, based on a student's status as a National Merit Finalist.

Need-based Aid
Funding awarded based on financial factors. Earlham students are awarded the maximum need-based aid for which they are eligible, according to federal, state and Earlham policies. This type of funding is awarded by the Financial Aid staff.

Non Work-Study
A few positions on campus are sometimes called "non work-study" positions. These positions are available to students not eligible for Federal College Work-Study.

Off Campus FCWS
A Federal College Work-Study position in a not-for-profit agency in the greater Richmond community.

Origination Fee
(see Loan Origination Fee)

Outside Scholarship
Funding from outside Earlham, federal or state resources. Typically, an application process must be completed (separately from the Earlham aid application process).

Pell Grant
(see Federal Pell Grant)

Perkins Loan
Student loan, awarded to students with the most financial need.

Presidential Honors Scholarship
These achievement-based scholarships are renewable for four years at Earlham.

The actual dollar amount borrowed through a loan program before any interest is calculated.

Promissory Note
A legally binding agreement stating that a borrower understands that he or she is borrowing funds and is promising to repay the principal with interest.

Repayment status describes the period of time in which students are repaying student loans. Repayment often begins after graduation.

Room and Board
Housing and meals.

(see Student Aid Report)

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
A student must maintain satisfactory academic status to receive financial aid funds. The definition of SAP can be found in the Earlham College Curriculum Guide.

(see Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant)

(see State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana)

Typically based on a student's ability or involvement in activities; does not have to be repaid; can come from a variety of sources.

Scholarship Searches
Companies or computer software that search large databases for scholarships for which you may be eligible.

Stafford Loan
(see Direct Loan)

State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI)
Indiana's source and processor of state funding for residents.

Student Aid Report (SAR)
The results of the FAFSA.

Student Employment
(see also Federal College Work-Study and/or Non Work-Study)
Students on campus may earn wages working in jobs on campus to help with college expenses.

Summer Writing Intensive Program
A three-week course for selected first-year students, attended just prior to enrollment for the first semester at Earlham. The Admissions Office selects the participants.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Need-based federal funding; does not need to be repaid.

Supplemental Loan
A non-federal loan available to a student or a parent above and beyond their federal loan eligibility.

Tuition and Fees
Charges for academic credits and other mandatory fees.

Tuition Remission
Employers offer to pay full or partial tuition charges for the children of their employees. Earlham employees benefit from the Great Lakes College Association Tuition Remission program.

Twenty-first Century Scholar Award
Need-based funding provided by the state agency to Indiana residents who complete the requirements of the 21st Century Scholar program, beginning in seventh grade.

Unmet Need
A federal term indicating the amount of financial need remaining after financial aid.
Verification A review process; requires schools to determine the accuracy of information reported on aid applications.

An optional three-and-a-half-week pre-enrollment outdoor experience. Some aid is available for needy participants. The Wilderness Program directors select recipients of this funding.

Wilkinson Award
These funds are awarded to students who are members of The Society of Friends (Quakers).

Work Award
(see also Federal College Work-Study; Non Work-Study)
A generic term for student employment; or the type of work allotment an international student may be awarded by the Admissions Office funded by Earlham College.

(see Federal College Work-Study)

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admissions