Financial aid has a lot of terms, and quite a few acronyms, that are used in a variety of ways.  Please see the below for more definitions and explanations.


ACADEMIC YEAR:  the period of time that our institution uses to show grade level progression.  OUHSC’s academic year begins in the Summer term (June for Summer I and July for Summer II) and ends at the conclusion of the Spring term, in mid-May.

ACCRUAL DATE:  the day interest charges on an educational loan begins to accrue

AWARD LETTER:  the official document, issued by the Office of Student Financial Aid, that lists all the financial aid awarded to the student. The award letter will reflect a student’s estimated cost of attendance and total financial aid package, including any and all scholarships, grants, waivers, loans, third-party funding, etc., that the Office has been made aware of.  Students who have not received access to their HSC user name and password will be mailed a paper award letter.  Students with user name and password information will be emailed an award letter notification, indicating the need to sign into Self-Service to view the financial aid package.

ADDITIONAL LOAN FUNDS:  students whose estimated costs are greater than eligibility from scholarships, grants, Federal Direct Loans, Nursing Student Loans, Health Professions Loans, Lew Wentz Loans, or any other form of aid are eligible to apply for additional loan resources to meet their financial needs.

ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME:  AGI; income figure on federal tax returns used to perform an analysis of a student’s financial need to meet his estimated educational cost.

ALTERNATIVE LOAN: also known as private loans, are non-federal loans borrowed from private lenders


CAPITALIZATION the process of adding unpaid interest to the principal balance of an educational loan, thereby increasing the total amount to be repaid.

CITIZEN/ELIGIBLE NON CITIZEN:  among other requirements to qualify for aid, a student must be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen

COMAKER:  also known as a co-borrower or endorser; a person who is a joint borrower on a loan and who is equally liable for repayment of the loan

CONSOLIDATION:  a loan program that allows a borrower to combine various educational loans into one new loan. Consolidation allows for one monthly payment and often extends the repayment period by reducing the minimum monthly amount required, but can also result in higher total interest costs. Federal loans and private education loans cannot be consolidated together into a federal consolidation loan.

COST OF ATTENDANCE:  also known as the student budget; the student's estimated cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, a computer allowance for first year students, and a standard amount to cover reasonable living expenses for the student while attending school.

COUNSELOR:  a representative in the Office of Student Financial Aid who reviews a student's application, awards aid, processes verification and professional judgment documents, and counsels the student in all aspects of the financial aid process.  Students are assigned a counselor and are encouraged to contact that person, if desired.


DATA RELEASE NUMBER:  DRN; four-digit number assigned to your FAFSA that allows you to release your FAFSA data to schools you did not list on your original FAFSA. You need this number if you contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center to make corrections to your mailing address or the schools you listed on your FAFSA. You find this number below the confirmation number on your FAFSA submission confirmation page or in the top right-hand corner of your SAR.

DEFAULT: failure to repay a student loan according to the terms agreed to when you signed a promissory note. If you default, your school, the organization that holds your loan, the state, and the federal government can all take action to recover the money, including notifying national credit bureaus of your default. Your wages and/or tax returns may be garnished, and you will no longer be eligible to receive federal financial aid.

DEFERMENT:  an authorized period of time during which a borrower may postpone principal and interest payments

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:  ED; the federal agency that administers federal student aid programs

DEPENDENCY STATUS:  when you apply for federal student aid, your answers to questions on the FAFSA will determine whether you are considered dependent or independent. Dependent students must report their own and their parents’ income and assets.  Independent students must report their own and their spouse’s, if applicable, income and assets.

DIRECT DEPOSIT:  when a refund is processed by the Bursar's Office, it is sent to the student's designated bank account or is sent to the student in the form of a paper check via the USPS. Students can sign up for direct deposit here.

DIRECT LOANS:  The Direct Loan program can include the Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Parent Plus, and Grad Plus federal loans and are administered by ED.

DISBURSEMENT:  can have 2 meanings; the release of loan funds to the school or the delivery of funds to the borrower. Disbursements for most loans are made in equal, multiple allocations.


EDUCATIONAL COMPUTER SYSTEMS, INC:  ECSI; the third-party vendor with whom OUHSC contracts to service Nursing Student loans, Health Professions Loans, and some HSC institutional loans.  Students will e-sign promissory notes with ECSI at the start of the loan process and will then work with ECSI in repayment of those loans.

ELIGIBLE PROGRAM:  a program of organized instruction or study that leads to an academic, professional, or vocational degree or certificate or other recognized educational credential.

ENTRANCE/EXIT INTERVIEWS:  counseling sessions are required of a student prior to receiving his first loan disbursement and again once he graduates or his enrollment drops below half-time.  These are opportunities for a potential and/or current borrower to become more educated about the obligations of being a student loan borrower.   

EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION:  EFC; an amount a student (and parents, for dependent, undergraduate students) can reasonably be expected to contribute toward educational costs. The EFC is calculated by the congressionally set guidelines when the FAFSA is completed.  The EFC is subtracted from total cost of attendance to estimate a student's demonstrated need.


FEDERAL DIRECT LOAN PROGRAM:  see Direct Loans above

FINANCIAL AID PACKAGE:  federal and non-federal aid such as grants, loans, and scholarships are combined into a package to help meet the student's cost of attendance; the student’s total financial aid packaged will initially equal the cost of attendance.

FINANCIAL AWARENESS COUNSELING:   tool created by ED for borrowers to understand the many effects of borrowing, to provide suggestions for handling student loan debt successfully, and to provide tools such as repayment calculators

FINANCIAL NEED:  the difference between cost of attendance and Expected Family Contribution.

FORBEARANCE:  is a temporary postponement or reduction of payment when a borrower does not qualify for a deferment. Interest will accrue on all loans during periods of forbearance. Forbearances can be granted in intervals up to 12 months at a time for up to 3 years. Borrowers must continue to make payments until the forbearance has been granted.

FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID:  FAFSA; the application must be completed annually by all students who wish to be considered for financial aid

FSA ID: the FSA ID is the personal identifier that parents and students will need when signing the FAFSA, logging into NSLDS or to view loan history data, to sign into to complete MPNs or complete entrance counseling, or to sign Agreements to Serve.


GRAD PLUS LOAN:  Federal Direct Grad Plus Loan; an unsubsidized federal loan available to graduate or professional students without adverse credit

GRANT:  a type of financial aid award based on need or merit that does not require repayment.  The most common grants are Federal Pell Grants and FSEOG.

GRACE PERIOD:  the period between the time a borrower leaves school or drops below half-time and the time he is obligated to begin repaying his loans.  Many loans’ grace periods are 6 or 9 months, depending on the type of loan.


HEALTH PROFESSIONS STUDENT LOAN:  HPSL; loans available to eligible dental or pharmacy students.  While these students are independent and, under all other circumstances, parents’ income is not applicable, these funds are administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the collection of an applicant’s parents’ income information is required.


INCOME BASED REPAYMENT:  IBR; a repayment plan based upon a borrower’s income and family size; to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, borrowers have to make 120 on-time payments and work in public service during that entire time.

INCOME CONTINGENT REPAYMENT:  ICR; a repayment plan based upon AGI, family size, and Direct Loan debt total; for Direct Loan borrowers only

INSTITUTIONAL STUDENT INFORMATION REPORT:  ISIR; the electronic version of a SAR delivered to schools by the FAFSA processor

INTEREST:  a fee charged for the use of borrowed money. Interest is calculated as a percentage of the principal loan amount. The rate may be constant throughout the life of the loan (fixed rate) or it may change at specified times (variable rate).

INTEREST RATE:  the percentage at which interest is calculated on a loan

INTERSESSION:  a brief period of enrollment between regular semesters, usually only 2 weeks long.  Financial aid is not disbursed specifically for intersession terms, but aid intended to be used for intersession related expenses are awarded in the semester prior to that intersession term, for example, May intersession expenses are estimated in the Spring term and aid is awarded and disbursed with Spring term funds.

IRS TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT:  A detailed document obtained from the Internal Revenue Service which lists most line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules.


LEAVE OF ABSENCE:  LOA; a temporary interruption in a student’s enrollment. For aid purposes, a Return of Title IV calculation is necessary, based on the date the student began the LOA.  During a period of an approved LOA, for loan repayment purposes, a student is considered in-school.  Failure to return from LOA requires the school to update a student’s last date of attendance to the date the LOA began, and depending on the length of the LOA, this could significantly impact the student’s grace period and/or repayment timeline.

LENDER:  a financial institution (ED, a bank, credit union, or sometimes a school) that provides the funds for students and parents to borrow educational loans

LOAN ORIGINATION FEE:  A charge for processing your loan. Sometimes it is a flat rate, other times it is a percentage of the amount borrowed.

LOAN SERVICER:  the entity with whom a lender contracts to collect repayment from a borrower and with whom the borrower then coordinates loan repayment, deferments, or any other issues after the loan has disbursed

LEW WENTZ the Lew Wentz Loan program is one in which the University of Oklahoma is the lender.  The Lew Wentz loan is available for application for all students and is not based upon financial need.  Receipt of funds depends on availability of funds and awarding preference is given on a first-come, first-served basis.


MERIT-BASED AID:  financial aid that is awarded based on a student's academic, leadership, or artistic merit, or some other criteria, and does not depend on financial need. Merit-based awards may look at a student's grades, test scores, special talents, or extracurricular activities to determine eligibility.

MASTER PROMISSORY NOTE:  MPN; the legal document between a borrower and a lender in which the terms and conditions are disclosed and the borrower agrees to repay the amount borrowed; Direct Loan MPNs can often be made for multiple loans, and for up to 10 years


NEED-BASED AID:  financial aid that is awarded based on a student's financial need and can be awarded in the form of grants or loans

NEEDS ANALYSIS:  the process of reviewing a student's aid application to determine the amount of financial aid for which a student is eligible

NEW BORROWER:  a borrower who has no outstanding loan balance on the date he signs the promissory note for a specific educational loan. New borrowers may be subject to different regulations than borrowers who have existing loan balances.

NATIONAL STUDENT LOAN DATA SYSTEM:  NSLDS; the national database of information for loans and grants awarded to students under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants during their complete life cycle, from aid approval through disbursement, repayment, delinquency, and closure.  Aid recipients must have a FSA ID to access their historical aid information.

NON-RESIDENT OF OKLAHOMA:  a student who has not been granted the status of being an Oklahoma resident and will be assessed both resident and non-resident rates of tuition

NURSING STUDENT LOAN:  NSL; the Nursing Student Loan program is administered by the University of Oklahoma and only undergraduate nursing students are eligible to apply.  Receipt of funds depends on availability of funds and awarding preference is given on a first-come, first-served basis.


OKLAHOMA’S PROMISE:  eligible Oklahoma students enroll in the Oklahoma's Promise program in the 8th, 9th, or 10th grade if their family's income is $55,000 or less at the time the student applies. There will be a second income verification at the time the student begins college that may not exceed $100,000. Oklahoma's Promise students must take specific courses in high school, must maintain good grades, and must stay out of trouble. Students receiving Oklahoma's Promise will receive free tuition at the Oklahoma institution they choose to attend.

OKLAHOMA TUITION AID GRANT:  OTAG; recipients must be a legal resident of Oklahoma and enrolled in at least 6 hours, pursuing a first undergraduate degree. OTAG awards are determined by the Oklahoma State Regents based on information from the FAFSA, with the Regents Office notifying students and OUHSC of eligibility.


PARENT CONTRIBUTION:  the portion of the EFC that is derived from the parents' income, asset, and tax information, as reported on the FAFSA, that is expected to be contributed toward the cost of education.  The formula allows for family living expenses and the costs of other family members in college; is only used for dependent undergraduate students.

PARENT PLUS LOAN:  Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan; an unsubsidized federal loan available to parents of dependent undergraduate students

PAY AS YOUR EARN REPAYMENT:  PAYE; a repayment plan based upon discretionary income and family size

PELL GRANT:  federal grant money for undergraduate students who have not yet earned a first bachelor’s degree and demonstrate financial need; award amounts range from $623 to $6,195, are subject to Congressional appropriations, and are prorated based upon enrollment

PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER:  PIN; until May 10, 2015, this was the unique number assigned to an aid recipient, parent, or endorser. Since this date, the PIN has been replaced by the FSA ID.

PLUS LOAN:  see Grad Plus loans or Parent Plus loans

PRINCIPAL:  the amount of a loan that is borrowed. Interest is charged on this amount, and fees may be deducted prior to disbursement or added to the repayment amount, depending on the terms of the loan

PRIVATE LOAN: also known as alternative loans, are non-federal loans borrowed from private lenders

PROMISSORY NOTE:  the legal document a borrower signs when he obtains a loan.  It lists conditions under which the money is borrowed and the terms under which a borrower agrees to repay the loan with interest. A borrower should keep the borrower copy of the promissory note until the loan is fully repaid

PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS:  PSLF; a loan forgiveness program for qualified borrowers who work in public service for a 10 year period, making on-time loan payments during that time


REFUND:  the portion of financial aid that remains after a student's financial aid (or a parent's aid, in the case of a parent of a dependent undergraduate student who as borrowed a Parent Plus loan) after the Bursar's account balance has been paid in full.  The refund is intended to be used for educational purposes only.  Refunds will be sent to the student via direct deposit or a check via the USPS if direct deposit has not been set up by the student.

REPAYMENT:  loans are debts that must be repaid to the loan servicer who is contracted to service the debt; federal loans have many repayment options that determine the length of time until payoff, the monthly amount required, and the interest paid over the life of the loan; deferment and forbearance options are often available

RESIDENCY:  residency status of students at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is determined by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Policy Statement on Residency Status for Tuition Purposes

RETURN OF TITLE IV FUNDS:  upon withdrawal, the Office of Student Financial Aid must determine how much of the disbursed federal aid the student has “earned.”  Based upon the date of withdrawal and the aid the student has received, the student may be responsible for returning “unearned” funds to OUHSC.


SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS:  SAP; measure of progress towards degree completion and maintaining an institution’s standards of SAP is required to remain eligible for most types of financial aid

SCHOLARSHIP:  financial aid that is usually based on merit or ability and does not have to be repaid

SEPARATION DATE:  the date a borrower graduates or stops attending school at least half-time, triggering the start of the grace period or repayment

SERVICER:  see loan servicer

SOONER HERITAGE:  a scholarship (or tuition waiver) program administered by the University of Oklahoma

SOONER PROMISE: students who receive Oklahoma's Promise may be eligible for Sooner Promise. The funding commitment includes the Oklahoma's Promise award plus $5500 for the award year. To be eligible to receive Sooner Promise at OUHSC, students had to be Sooner Promise recipients while on the OU Norman Campus.

STUDENT AID REPORT:  SAR; the summary results of the data submitted on the FAFSA

STUDENTLOANS.GOV:  using your FSA ID, borrowers can complete Entrance, Exit, and Financial AwarenessCounseling, sign MPNs, complete the Direct Plus request process, endorse a Direct Plus, or complete IBR/PAYE/ICRRepayment Plan request.

SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT:  SEOG; federal grant for undergraduate students pursing first bachelor’s degree

STUDENT CONTRIBUTION:  the portion of the EFC that is derived from the student’s income, asset, and tax information, as reported on the FAFSA, that is expected to be contributed toward the cost of education; formula used will depend on student’s dependency status

SUBSIDIZED LOAN:  subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need and the federal government subsidizes the interest on the principal balance of the loan while the student is in school, in grace, and during any deferment periods.  Direct Subsidized Loans are examples of subsidized loans.


TITLE IV AID:  The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, authorized aid programs:  Pell Grant, SEOG, and Direct Loans.

TITLE VII AID:  Title VII funds include Health Professions LoansNursing Student LoansPrimary Care Loans, Loan for Disadvantaged Students and are programs administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration


UNSUBSIDIZED LOAN unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and the borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues on the principal balance.  Examples of unsubsidized loans are Direct Unsubsidized LoansDirect Grad Plus LoansDirect Parent Plus Loans, and Lew Wentz Loans

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:  See Department of Education above


VETERANS ADMINISTRATION: VA; veterans enrolled need to contact a Veteran Student Advisor for processing education benefits

VERIFICATION:  the process of reviewing the accuracy of the information on a student's financial aid application.  Students selected for verification will be contacted regarding required documentation.


WITHDRAWAL DATE:  the date of used for a withdrawn student; also considered the separation date