Financial Aid

Financial Aid Jargon

1040 Form, 1040A Form, 1040EZ Form

The federal income tax return form. Most people who have received income during the previous year must file a form 1040 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 15.

Academic Year

The period during which school is in session, including fall, spring and summer terms (i.e. the 2011-12 academic year includes Fall 2011, Spring 2012, and Summer 2012).

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

Taxable income as reported on a federal 1040 form. Both the student and parent AGI’s are reported on the FAFSA (if tax returns were filed).

Adverse Credit History

A modest credit check required with a Parent PLUS loan application, which does not include any kind of a debt-to-income ratio or FICO score. According to the regulations at 34 CFR 682.201(c)(2), a borrower is considered to have an adverse credit history if a recent credit report shows that:

  • the borrower has a current delinquency of 90 or more days on any debt, or
  • the borrower had certain derogatory information (e.g., default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a Title IV debt) in the credit history during the five years preceding the date of the credit report

Award Letter

Also called a Financial Aid Award Notification, the award letter is an official notification listing the student’s financial aid eligibility available to view on STARS. This letter provides a breakdown of your financial aid package according to amount and source (view Understanding Your Award Letter). The award letter will include requirements needed to receive aid, and additional information related to University costs.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

The total estimated amount it should cost the student attend a specific school, which includes tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal and miscellaneous expenses. Additional required expenses may also be included at the discretion of the financial aid advisor. The cost of attendance can vary greatly for students based on enrollment, living expenses, and other indirect costs.