Student Financial Services


Glossary of Terms

Some financial aid terms need further explanation.

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  • Admissions

    The department responsible for providing information about the school to prospective students, reviewing applications for acceptance to the university, and determining a student’s eligibility for admission.

  • Award Letter

    The official document sent by the Financial Aid Office which lists all awards—grants, loans, and scholarships—which are offered to the student for an academic year. It should also list the terms and conditions required for each program. It may also list the cost of attendance.

  • Bursar (Cashier’s Office)

    The department responsible for the administration of the student’s charges and payments.

  • College Scholarship Services (CSS) Profile

    Alternative application for financial assistance used by some schools to determine eligibility for school funds. May not be used in place of the FAFSA, but may be required in addition. This form is not required by Adelphi.

  • Cost of Attendance (COA)

    Those costs directly or indirectly associated with the pursuit of higher education. It may include tuition, fees, room and board which are billed by the University, but will also include allowances for books, supplies, personal expenses, transportation, loan origination fees, and at some schools may include computers, dependent child care costs, etc., which are not billed by the school.

  • Credits

    The unit of measurement of the value of course work.

  • Department of Education (ED)

    That part of the federal government charged with the administration of all federally funded sources of financial assistance and the determination of regulatory compliance by all schools which offer those funds.

  • Direct Costs

    Expenses the student/family pays to the college.

  • Educational Loan

    A form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Educational loans have varying interest rates and repayment terms. Students and/or parents are required to sign a promissory note when accepting an educational loan.

  • Enrollment Level

    Level of the degree-granting program in which a student is enrolled. Basic levels of enrollment include: undergraduate (students seeking an associate’s degree, a certificate, or a baccalaureate degree); post-baccalaureate (such as teacher certification); graduate (students working on a master’s degree or professional degree); and post-graduate (such as students enrolled in a doctoral program). The amounts and types of financial aid a student is eligible for is determined, in part, by their enrollment level.

  • Enrollment Status

    Full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time, or less-than-half-time, depending on a student’s credit-hour work load per academic term, at an institution using semesters, trimesters, quarters, or other academic terms and measuring progress by credit hours.  All levels are relative to full-time. At an institution using clock hours, 24 hours a week is full-time and 12 hours a week is half-time.

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

    The amount calculated by the federal government using the Federal Methodology as the minimum amount the student and/or family is expected to pay toward the cost of education each year.

  • Express TAP Application

    Application required to determine eligibility for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grant.


    Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the form that must be filed annually by all college students seeking financial assistance. It is used to calculate the EFC (see above) and determine eligibility for federally based sources of funding.

  • Family Financial Responsibility

    Many schools award institutional scholarships and grants based upon a more comprehensive calculation of family financial circumstances using information provided on the CSS PROFILE or the College’s own financial aid form. This can result in a higher (or lower) financial responsibility for the student (and his/her family) than the FAFSA might indicate with its Expected Family Contribution (EFC) estimate.

  • Federal Parent Loan (PLUS)

    A federal loan program that allows parents who have no adverse credit history to apply for up to the Cost of Attendance each year, less any financial aid. PLUS loans must be repaid with interest.

  • Federal Work Study (FWS)

    Federally funded program administered by the school within federal guidelines whereby the student seeks employment either in or through the school and is paid for hours worked.


    Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (1974 as amended). The laws which protect a student’s right to privacy in all aspects of their education and govern the manner in which schools disseminate information to students and their families.

  • Full-time

    Registration for a minimum of 12 credits per semester (Department of Education definition which is used to determine eligibility for financial aid).

  • Gift Aid

    Funds awarded to the student that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain terms, such as a service requirement, specified as a condition of the grant. Gift aid includes awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based upon many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic, musical, and theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups, or career aspirations.

  • Grace Period

    The period between separation (graduation or enrollment for less than 6 credits per semester) and the commencement of repayment of loan obligations.

  • Grad PLUS Loan (Federal Graduate PLUS Loan)

    Loan funds provided to graduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. This federal loan program allows graduate students with no adverse credit history to apply for up to their Cost of Attendance each year, less any financial aid. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program of study and first borrow the maximum allowable through the Federal Direct Student Loan program. Repayment of principal and interest begins 30 to 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed with deferment and forbearance options available.

  • Grants

    Gift aid offered by schools and other groups. May be based on need. No repayment is required for these awards.

  • Half-time

    Registration for 6 to 8 credits per semester.

  • Indirect Costs

    Expenses incurred as a result of attendance that the student/family may pay to a third party (merchant, landlord, etc.) other than the college.

  • Less than Half-time

    Registration for fewer than six credits per semester.

  • Merit-based Awards

    Financial aid given to students who have outstanding abilities, talents, and/or achievements. Financial situation is not considered.

  • Need

    The remainder calculated by taking the ‘budget’ and subtracting the ‘EFC‘ and the ‘financial aid’ (budget – EFC – financial aid = need).

  • Need-based Awards

    Financial aid awarded to students whose families do not have sufficient financial resources to pay for college. Academic performance, talent, and abilities are not considered. These awards may or may not meet all of a student’s needs.

  • Net Cost

    Amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all gift aid (scholarship and grant) is subtracted.

  • Out-of-pocket Cost

    Difference between the cost of attendance and all gift aid. Out-of-pocket cost can be covered through a variety of sources, including: savings, income and educational loans.

  • Packaging

    The process whereby a financial aid officer determines the financial aid awards and amounts for which the student is eligible each year. The amounts are subject to change from year to year, and within any given year if factors affecting eligibility change.

  • Pell Grant (Federal Pell Grant)

    Federally based grant with an annual maximum of $5,775. Eligibility based on the EFC.

  • Perkins Loan (Federal Perkins Loan)

    Federally based loan program administered by the school within federal guidelines. Funds are awarded at the discretion of the school within federal guidelines. Payment of principle and interest (5%) begins 9 months after separation.

  • Private Loan (Alternative Loan)

    A loan from a commercial, state-affiliated or institutional lender used to pay for up to the annual cost of education, less any financial aid received. Private loans usually require the applicant to be creditworthy or have a co-signer and have varying interest rates, fees and repayment options. Repayment of interest (and often principal) generally begins immediately, with some lenders offering deferment options for in-school periods.

  • Registrar

    The department responsible for the administration of course registration, room assignments, determining eligibility for graduation, and the production of transcripts and diplomas.

  • Scholarship

    Gift aid offered by federal and state governments, schools and other groups. No repayment is required for these awards. They are usually based on academic performance, talent, athletics, school, or community involvement.

  • Self-help

    Financial aid in the form of loans or student employment. Loans are used to help pay the remaining net costs after gift aid is deducted. Student employment earnings (including Work-Study awards) are generally not deducted from billed costs but can be used to help cover indirect costs and are paid in the form of wages to the student.

  • Separation

    Reduction of enrollment to less than 6 credits per semester, leave of absence, graduation, or failure to register in consecutive terms. This may initiate repayment of loans.

  • Student Aid Report (SAR)

    Summary of information submitted on the FAFSA which is sent to the student for his or her review. It should be checked each year for accuracy and completeness.

  • Student Loan

    Funds awarded to the student that must eventually be paid back to the lender by the student.

  • Subsidized Federal Direct Loan

    Federally based loan program with eligibility determined based on cost of attendance and need. Maximum eligibility is set by the federal government based on grade level. Interest rate is fixed and set each year.  Interest is paid by the federal government while the student is in attendance taking at least 6 credits. Repayment begins 6 months after separation.

  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

    Federally based grant.  Eligibility is tied to the Pell Grant. Funds are awarded at the discretion of the school within federal guidelines.

  • Three-quarters time

    Registration for 9 to 11 credits per semester.

  • Title IV

    That part of the Higher Education Act which regulates the administration of, and refunds for the following sources of financial aid: Pell Grants, SEOG Grants, Subsidized Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, and Federal Work Study.

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan

    Federally based loan program with eligibility NOT tied to need. Maximum eligibility is set by the federal government based on grade level. Interest rate is variable and set each year.  Interest payments are the responsibility of the students as soon as the funds are disbursed, but may be deferred until separation. Repayment begins six months after separation.

  • Verification

    The process by which randomly selected FAFSA records are checked for accuracy by the financial aid office.

The information contained on this site is subject to change without notice.

For further information, please contact:

Office of Student Financial Services
Levermore Hall, Lower Level
p – 516.877.3080
p – ext. 2240 (on campus only)
f – 516.877.3380
e –

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