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Financial Aid Glossary

Definitions to help you navigate educational financing

FAFSA, Federal PIN, Web Advisor — what does that mean? Don’t get frustrated if financial aid seems like another language. We know there’s a lot of jargon. To make it all more understandable, here is a list of terms to help you translate.

AU Email – email account assigned to all AU students upon registration. Used by the Financial Aid Office to notify current students of financial aid awards and revisions to awards. Check it regularly!

Consumer Information – a listing of information about Ashland University that you have a right to know according to federal law. Click here to read it.

Dependent/Independent Student – Students who cannot answer “yes” to one of the dependency questions on the FAFSA are considered dependent and must include parental information and a parent signature on the FAFSA.

Endowed Scholarships – Scholarships with criteria determined by donors; primarily used to fund the AU Grant Program.

Entrance Counseling – All students receiving a Federal Stafford Loan for the first time or who do not already have Stafford Loans in deferment or repayment must complete loan entrance counseling.

Estimator – The financial aid estimator is an online tool to provide families with an estimate of what financial aid their student may be eligible for during the current academic year at AU. It is only as accurate as the information provided.

Exit Counseling – Federal regulations require that students who have received a Federal Stafford or Federal Perkins Loan complete exit counseling to update their contact and reference information
when they are no longer enrolled at least half-time.

FAFSA – An online tool to provide institutions with an estimated amount of a family’s financial resources that can be expected to be available for college. It is simply an index that allows an institution to fairly compare families when awarding federal, state and institutional financial aid.

Federal Work-Study – A need-based student employment program to provide students with an additional financial resource. Students who do not show federal need may find employment through AU’s regular student employment program.

FSA ID - The FSA ID replaces the Federal PIN. Your FSA ID is used to log on to various Department of Education websites and confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid Documents.

Gift Aid – Scholarships and grants that do not need to be repaid.

Parent Loans or Parent PLUS Loans – a federal loan in a parent’s name. Funds can be borrowed up to the cost of education less other aid. It carries a fixed 8.5% rate and the principal can be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time.

PIN or Federal PIN – An identifier that serves as a student or parent’s electronic signature. It can be used to electronically sign the FAFSA and to access online records. It should never be shared with anyone. Apply for a pin at The Federal PIN was replaced by the FSA ID in May, 2015.

PLUS Loans or Graduate PLUS Loans – Federal loans for graduate students who require funding in addition to their Stafford Loan eligibility. Students must apply for the Federal Stafford loan first. Bachelor’s Plus and Teacher Licensure students are not eligible for this loan.

Priority Date – Although financial aid is processed on a rolling basis throughout the academic year, students who submit their FAFSA by the priority date can be assured of receiving their award in a timely manner.

Private Education Loans – students may borrow funds from private lenders up to the cost of their education less other aid. These loans require that the student be credit-worthy or have a credit-worthy cosigner. The loans carry a variable interest rate, meaning that the interest rate will fluctuate up and down through repayment and will accrue while the student is in school

Promissory Note – The actual contract to accept a student or parent loan.

Regular Student Employment – non-need based student employment program available to AU students who do not show need on the FAFSA.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) – There are two SAP policies at AU that differ. One policy governs academic probation and dismissal and is overseen by the AU Office of Records and Registration. The Financial Aid SAP policy governs whether or not a student may receive financial aid and can be reviewed here. <LINK TO PAGE>

Special Conditions Form – This form is available to families whose current financial situation differs significantly from the financial data submitted on the most recent FAFSA due to extraordinary circumstances such as unemployment, divorce, high medical expenses, etc. Appropriate documentation of the condition must be submitted with the form.

Stafford Loans – Federal student loans with a fixed interest rate up to 6.8% and repayment beginning six months after the student ceases enrollment.

Subsidized/Unsubsidized – A Stafford Loan is subsidized and the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school if the student shows federal need on the FAFSA. If the student does not show need, the Stafford Loan is Unsubsidized and interest accrues while the student is in school.

Verification – The federal government randomly chooses 30% of FAFSAs to be verified. If chosen, the student must submit verification paperwork and tax forms in order to receive federal aid.

WebAdvisor – An AU online program on which students may register for classes, view grades, and view financial aid awards. Its address is

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