Helpful Terms

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Need Analysis

A federal financial aid form, called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),  is completed by the student and parents. It is used to determine how much they are expected to contribute towards the cost of education. This form is analyzed and the results are sent to you and the school you indicate. This form must be completed in order to receive most types of financial aid. The Cost of Education minus the family contribution equals a student's financial needs.

Student Aid Report (SAR)

The results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid which are used in calculating the types and amounts of aid.

Cost of Education

The amount of money the parents and student combined are expected to contribute toward the cost of education during a school year. The federal government believes that the student and the family are primarily responsible for financing the student's education. It may be possible to borrow an Unsubsidized Stafford or Plus loan to assist in meeting this contribution.

Family Contribution

Also referred to as Cost of Attendance. This is the total amount it will cost a student to go to school. It usually is expressed as a total for a nine month academic year.

Financial Aid Award Package

An offer to the student from the school's financial aid office. It contains various types of aid to pay for the cost of education.


A type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid.


A type of financial assistance which does not have to be repaid. Funds are provided by a variety of civic organizations, professional groups, etc. and by colleges. Scholarships are based on academic excellence, personal skills, family affiliations, athletic ability, etc.


A type of financial assistance that does have to be repaid. The lender you select has the final approval or denial of this credit based program.

Employment Aid

Aid paid by federal or institutional funds, for hours of work completed by student.

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