Accredited: Accreditation is a major way that students, families, government officials, and the press know that an institution or program provides a quality education. These institutions have been evaluated or reviewed by an outside organization, often the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education, and are “recognized” for their quality.
AGI (Adjusted Gross Income): All taxable income less IRS allowable adjustments to income. This figure is from U.S. IRS tax forms.
Academic Year: The period of time in which an enrolled student is expected to complete their coursework. Generally this period is between September and June but can vary depending on the institution’s structure.
Cost of Attendance: The total cost of attending a post-secondary institution (college, university, vocational & technical schools, or graduate schools) for one academic year. The cost of attendance can include tuition, fees, room, board, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.
EFC (Expected Family Contribution): This number is calculated by the federal government based upon the student’s answers to question reported on the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). This number can be found on a Student Aid Report (SAR). It is an estimate of the parents’ and/or student’s ability to contribute to post-secondary education expenses.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): The form that must be completed by students and/or parents who intend to seek federal student financial assistance and is often required for students seeking state or institutional assistance
Financial Aid: Financial assistance in the form of scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans for education.
Financial Need: The difference between the cost of attendance at a college and the Expected Family Contribution.
For-Profit School: Educational institutions that are run by private, profit-seeking companies or organizations.
Full Time: Generally a college student who is enrolled for 12 credits or more for one semester.
GED: An alternative credential to a high school diploma that is received upon completion of a series of standardized tests. GED is still considered a valid document but has now been replaced by a different test.
GPA: Grade Point Average: The average grade earned by a student, figured by dividing the grade points earned by the number of credits attempted. The college or high school makes this calculation and it appears on a student’s transcript.
Graduate Student: A student who has previously earned a bachelor’s degree and is studying for an advanced degree.
Grants: Financial aid awards that do not have to be repaid. Grants are available through the government, state agencies and colleges.
HiSet: An alternative credential to a high school diploma received upon completion of a series of standardized tests. It now replaces the GED.
Higher Education: Refers to education a student seeks after graduating from high school or obtaining a GED/HiSet. Education sought at this level is completely voluntary.
Loan: A type of financial aid that is available to students and parents that must be repaid. Interest rates as well as repayment structure vary according to the conditions of the loan. The Community Foundation Loan programs are for students, and provided that a student repays the loan according to the payment schedule, no interest is charged.
Less Than Part Time: Generally a student who is enrolled in 5 or less credits for one semester.
Part Time: Generally a student who is enrolled in 6 – 11 credits for one semester.
SAR (Student Aid Report): The document a student receives upon completing the FAFSA. The SAR contains financial and other information reported by the student on the FAFSA. The student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is printed on the front of the SAR and is the figure used by colleges to determine eligibility for financial aid.
SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test: A standardized test some colleges factor into a student’s eligibility for admission.
Scholarships: Money, that is not repaid, given to a student to assist in defraying the cost of higher education and does not need to be repaid.
Scholarship and Loan Acceptance Forms: An official document issued by the CFWM listing all scholarship and/or loan being offered to an applicant. It must be completed and returned to the Community Foundation before the scholarship money will be sent to the institution the student is attending.
Transcript: A list of all the courses that a student has taken at a particular high school or college with the grades that the student earned in each course.
Undergraduate Student: A student in a university or college who has not yet received a bachelor’s degree.
Unmet Need: The Department of Education defines unmet need as the difference between how much college costs and how much you can actually pay for it.
Work Study: The Federal Work Study program (also known as FWS or simply Work-Study) is a federally funded program. The Federal Work Study Program helps students earn financial funding through a part-time work program.