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Northwestern University

Glossary

Resources

Assumptions

Items or issues taken for granted during the awarding process which impact a student’s awards. Items include enrollment status, housing status, general terms and conditions, and award-specific terms and conditions.

Award Notification

A method of notifying financial aid applicants of the assistance being offered by an institution. The award notification usually provides information on the types and amounts of aid offered, as well as specific program information, student responsibilities, and the conditions which govern the award. It generally provides students with the opportunity to accept or decline the aid offered.

Capitalization

The addition of unpaid interest to the principal balance of a loan. When the interest is not paid as it accrues during periods of in-school status, the grace period, deferment, or forbearance, your lender may capitalize the interest. This increases the outstanding principal amount due on the loan and may cause your monthly payment amount to increase. Interest is then charged on that higher principal balance, increasing the overall cost of the loan.

Co-signer

A loan applicant other than (in addition to) the primary borrower, who agrees to assume responsibility for repayment in the event that the borrower fails to repay.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

An estimate of a student's total education-related expenses for a given term of enrollment. Generally, this includes tuition and fees, as well as estimated room and board, transportation and commuting costs, books and supplies, and miscellaneous personal expenses. Visit the Cost of Attendance page.

Direct Costs

Educational expenses a student pays directly to an institution, such as tuition and fees, as well as room and board for students living in on-campus housing.

Enrollment Status

Academic workload (or course load), as defined by the institution, that a student is registered for a defined academic period.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The amount a student and his or her family is expected to contribute toward the student’s cost of attendance as calculated by a Congressionally-mandated formula known as Federal Methodology. The EFC is used to determine a student’s eligibility for the student financial assistance programs. Visit the Expected Family Contribution page.

Federal Pell Grant

A grant provided by the federal government to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have an Expected Family Contribution below a threshold designated annually by the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

One of the campus-based programs. A grant for undergraduate students of exceptional financial need who have not completed their first baccalaureate degree and who are financially in need of this grant to enable them to pursue their education. Priority for FSEOG awards must be given to Federal Pell Grant recipients with the lowest EFCs.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

One of the campus-based programs. It provides part‐time employment to students attending institutions of higher education who need the earnings to help meet their costs of postsecondary education and encourages students receiving FWS assistance to participate in community service activities.

Indirect Costs

Educational expenses a student does not pay to an institution, such as books and supplies, transportation, miscellaneous personal expenses, and off-campus living expenses for students not living in on-campus housing.

Net Price

The difference between the cost of attendance and all gift aid. May be covered through a variety of sources, including savings, income, and educational loans.

Repayment

The period during which a borrower is responsible for repaying his or her loan. Depending on the type of loan, repayment can begin either at the end of the grace period or with the very first disbursement of the loan.

Self-Help

Financial aid in the form of loans or student employment. Loans are used to help pay the remaining net costs after gift aid is deducted. Student employment earnings (including work study awards) are not deducted from billed costs but can be used to help cover indirect costs and are paid in the form of wages to the student.

Student Consumer Information

Disclosures institutions are required to make on various issues (e.g., institutional information, financial aid, and campus safety) which are intended to help students make informed decisions regarding their postsecondary education.

Verification

Process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by the applicant on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In order to complete the verification process, students are required to provide certain documents to the school for review. Visit the Verification page.

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