SPA System
Welcome to SPAS

Glossary of Terms


Cooperative Education Programs
    Cooperative Education is a unique plan which integrates classroom study with planned and supervised work experience. Unlike other work/study programs, it allows you to acquire academic skills while being exposed to the practical realities of the work place.

Cost of Attendance (COA)
    COA includes tuition, fees, room and board, transportation, personal expenses, loan, fees, and other expenses. In the past 15 years, college costs have risen by over 200% while family income has only grown by 93%. At this pace, a student entering a 4-year college in 2015 can expect to pay anywhere from $80,000 to over $220,000 for four years.

College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile
    The CSS Profile is required by many public and private universities and is used to determine a student's eligibility for non-federal aid such as institutional grants, loans, and scholarships. This form has over 200 questions and is filed directly through the College Board.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
    The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by Congress and is a measure of a family's financial strength. Financial aid eligibility or need is determined by this number and is used by schools in determining how much federal aid a student can receive.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    This is an 8-page form that asks about your family and child's income and assets. The FAFSA form has over 100 questions and is used to apply for federal and state grants for each year that a student attends college.

FAFSA Personal Identification Number (PIN)
    A 4-digit numeric code generated by FAFSA for both students and parents (guardians). A student PIN is used to confirm the login for a student's FAFSA web-based application form. This code can be used to renew a FAFSA, make corrections to an existing FAFSA, or view the status and/or results of a submitted FAFSA. Normally, a FAFSA PIN must be generated for both student(s) and parent(s).

Federal Pell Grant
    is an award to help undergraduates pay for their education after high school. You are eligible if your EFC (expected family contribution) is under 5,350. The maximum award for this school year is $5,350.

Federal Perkins Loan
    is for a low-interest (5 percent) loan to help you pay for your education after high school. These loans are both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional need as determined by the school. You can borrow up to $4000 for each year of undergraduate study with a maximum debt of $20,000. Graduates may borrow up to $5000 per year with $30,000 as the limit.

Federal PLUS Loans
    are loans that enable parents with good credit histories to borrow for each child who is enrolled at least half-time, and is a dependent student. The annual limit is the child's cost of education minus any estimated financial aid received.

Federal Stafford Loans
    are low interest loans made to students attending school at least half-time. Loans are made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, or savings and loan association. Sometimes the school acts as the lender. These loans are insured by the guaranty agency in each state and re-insured by the federal government. You must repay this loan.
    Students can qualify for a Federal Stafford Loan regardless of their family's income or assets. If you have a need-based Federal Stafford Loan, (a subsidized loan), the government pays the interest while you are in school or in deferment. If you have a non-subsidized Stafford loan, you are responsible for the interest both during in-school and during deferment periods.
    The interest rates are variable, but cannot exceed 9 percent. In addition, there is a fee of 0-2.5 percentand an interest rate of 6.8percent on the subsidized loan. The non-subsidized loan carries a fee of 0-2.5 percent and an interest rate of 6.8 percent.
    You can borrow up to $2625 if you are a first year student, up to $4500 if you've completed your first year of study, and $5500 a year if you've completed two years of study. Graduate students may borrow up to $8500 per year. The limits are $19,000 for undergraduate study and $65,000 for graduate study. You cannot borrow more than the cost of education minus any other financial aid you receive.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
    Federal Work-Study (FWS), and Federal Perkins Loans are called "campus-based" programs because they are administered by the Financial Aid Administrator at each participating school.
    Even though each program is different - FSEOG offers grants, FWS offers jobs, and Perkins provides loans - they have these two characteristics in common: How much aid you receive depends on your financial need, on the amount of other aid you'll receive, and the availability of funds at your school. Unlike the Federal Pell Grant program, which provides funds to every eligible student, each school participating in any of the "campus-based" programs receives a certain amount of funds for each program. When that money is gone, there are no more awards from that program for that year.

Federal Supplemental Loans (SLS)
    are for student borrowers who may borrow up to $4000 a year for the first and second years of undergraduate study, $5000 for the third and fourth years of undergraduate study, and $10,000 for each year of graduate study.

Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant
    is a grant for undergraduates with exceptional financial need, as determined by the school. Priority is given to Pell Grant recipients. You can get up to $4000 per year, and the money does not have to be repaid.

Federal Work-Study
    program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students who have financial need. FWS encourages community service type work. Your pay will be at least federal minimum wage or higher, depending on the type of work you do and the skills required. You may work either for the school on campus, or off campus for a local, state, or federal public agency.

Financial Aid Award Letter
    An official document issued by a school's financial aid office which lists all the financial aid packages offered to the student.

Financial Need or Remaining Need (RN)
    Amount of aid a family is eligible to receive. This is calculated by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the college's Cost of Attendance (COA).

Student Aid Report (SAR)
    The SAR is generated after a FAFSA is processed and is issued by the Department of Education. The SAR details all the information provided on a FAFSA and will contain a family's EFC. The SAR is automatically sent to all the colleges chosen by a student within the FAFSA.

The Hope Scholarship
    This isn't really as much a scholarship as a good-sized tax credit. It is subtracted directly from the amount of taxes you pay. It could save you up to $1,500 per year. However, it is only good for the first two years, and it phases out at the higher income levels - between $80,000-$100,000 for married persons filing jointly and $40,000-$50,000 for single filers. Married persons filing separately lose out completely. The good news is the increase in disposable income, but it is somewhat tempered by increasing EFC.

The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
    This became available after June 30, 1998. The credit is good for up to 20% of the first $10,000 as of 2003. It has the same phase-out schedule as the Hope Scholarship. It cannot be used in conjunction with the Hope Scholarship.