Have you come across a word in the program descriptions and you're not sure what it means? Use the glossary below for a short definition.

Cost of Attendance (COA) - Total amount it will cost you to go to school (includes tuition, fees and estimated personal expenses).

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - An estimate of parents' and/or students' ability to contribute to post-secondary expenses. In general, the lower the EFC, the higher the financial aid.

FAFSA - The common name for the free application for federal student aid form prepared annually to determine eligibility for post-secondary financial aid.

Federal Work-Study - A federal program that provides part-time employment opportunities for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses.

Financial need - The difference between the cost of attending a particular school and the expected family contribution.

Grant - Financial awards based on need and generally do not need to be repaid. These awards typically come from federal, state, or university sources.

Loan (Subsidized) - A need-based loan from the federal government, the interest of which is paid for by the U.S. Department of Education while the borrower is in school and during grace and deferment periods.

Loan (Unsubsidized) - A non-need-based loan from the federal government the interest of which is paid for by the borrower.

Scholarship - Money awarded to students to help pay for educational expenses that does not have to be repaid and is based on academic or other achievements.

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