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Help - Glossary


The following glossary listing contains definitions/descriptions of terms that are related to Federal student aid Title IV programs and/or acronyms..

The terms are listed according to alphabetical order. You can select the All link to view a listing of all of the glossary terms, or you may select the letter equal to the first letter of the term.

Glossary

  • Campus

    Any building or property owned or controlled by an institution within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the institution in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the institution's educational purposes, including residence halls; and any building or property that is within or reasonably contiguous to the school's campus that is owned by the institution but controlled by another person, is frequently used by students, and supports institutional purposes (such as a food or other retail vendor).
  • Campus-Based Programs

    Federal student aid programs under which funds are provided to participating institutions for awards to eligible students. The Campus-Based Programs include: the Federal Perkins Loan Program, the Federal Work- Study (FWS) Program, and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program.
  • Campus Security Records

    The records created and maintained by a school's law enforcement unit or whatever office or school official is designated to be responsible for referring potential violations of law to local police authorities. Such records are exempt from the privacy restrictions of FERPA. A school may disclose information from these "law enforcement unit records" to anyone—including parents or federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities—without the consent of the eligible student.
  • Cancellation

    In the Perkins Loan Program, the forgiveness of a portion of a loan debt for a borrower who meets certain regulatory criteria (usually service). In the Direct Loan Program, loan "cancellation" refers to the borrower's request to have all or a portion of a loan cancelled (i.e., when the borrower decides that he or she no longer wants or needs all or a portion of the loan). In the Direct Loan Program, cancellation of a loan debt in exchange for the borrower performing certain types of service is called "forgiveness," and cancellation of a loan due to death, total and permanent disability (TPD), school closure, etc. is called "discharge."
  • CAP

    Corrective Action Plan
  • Capitalized Interest (Capitalization)

    Unpaid interest that has been added to the principal balance of a loan.
  • Carry Forward/Carry Back

    A school may spend up to 10% of its current year's FWS or FSEOG allocation (initial and supplemental) in the following award year (carry forward). A school is also permitted to spend up to 10% of its current year's FWS or FSEOG allocation (initial and supplemental) for expenses incurred in the previous award year (carry back).
  • Cash Account

    The general ledger account that reports currency, coins, undeposited checks, and the checking accounts of a company.
  • Cash Basis for Accounting

    A system of accounting in which revenues are recorded when received in cash and expenses or expenditures are recorded when cash is disbursed.
  • Cash Management

    The rules and procedures a school must follow to request, maintain, disburse, and otherwise manage FSA funds. A school's responsibilities are described in Subpart K of 34 CFR 668.
  • Cash Management Regulations

    Those sections of 34 CFR (34 CFR Subpart K) that address the rules and procedures under which participating institutions request, maintain, disburse, and otherwise manage federal student aid program funds.
  • Cash On Hand (COH)

    The amount available in the federal funds account at the payee's financial institution. Cash on hand is calculated as the total funds received less the Federal share of disbursements made, plus refunds received. The balance does not include accruals, accounts payable, or funds belonging to the Department of Education (e.g., interest earned), See also excess cash.
  • CB

    Campus-Based
  • CBO

    Congressional Budget Office
  • CBT

    Computer-Based Training
  • CCA

    Cash Control Account
  • CCR

    Central Contractor Registration
  • CDR

    Cohort Default Rate
  • CDRG

    Cohort Default Rate Guide
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

    Legislation from 1998 that prohibits any entity, including a government agency, from electronically conducting business or communicating with a person under age 13. Because of COPPA, applicants who are 12 or younger cannot complete FAFSA on the Web and must instead submit a special FAFSA.
  • CIO

    Chief Information Officer
  • Census Date

    The date on which a school takes a "snapshot" of its enrollment for reporting or record keeping purposes.
  • Central Processing System Student Aid Internet Gateway (CPS/SAIG)

    Vendor and system designed by the U.S. Department of Education for viewing or correcting SAR information, requesting or analyzing ISIR data, and calculating and managing the return of federal student aid program funds.
  • CEO

    Chief Executive Officer
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    A credential conferred by a state or similar governmental jurisdiction that authorized the holder to practice as a certified public accountant in that jurisdiction.
  • CFDA

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
  • CFL

    Current Funding Level
  • CFO

    Chief Fiscal/Financial Officer
  • CFPB

    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • CFR

    Code of Federal Regulations
  • Chart of Accounts

    A listing of the accounts available in the accounting system in which to record entries. The chart of accounts consists of balance sheet accounts (assets, liabilities, equity) and income statement accounts (revenues, expenses, gains, losses).
  • Child with a Disability

    A child or youth from ages 3 through 21, inclusive, who requires special education and related services because he or she has one or more disabilities as defined in section 602(3) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Children of Iraq and Afghanistan Soldiers

    For purposes of awarding Title IV aid, children of Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers include the children of all who died as a result of U.S. military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. Students who fall in this category receive special consideration for Title IV aid.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program

    A subsidized government health benefit program affiliated with Medicaid and also a potential qualifier for the simplified needs test or automatic zero EFC.
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

    Legislation from 1998 that prohibits any entity, including a government agency, from electronically conducting business or communicating with a person under age 13. Because of COPPA, applicants who are 12 or younger cannot complete FAFSA on the Web and must instead mail a paper FAFSA™ to a special address.
  • CIO

    Chief Information Officer
  • CIP

    Classification of Instructional Programs
  • Circular A-133

    A release of the Office of Management and Budget. Its full name is Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-profit Organizations. The circular sets forth standards for obtaining consistency and uniformity among federal agencies for the audit of states, local governments, and non-profit organizations expending federal awards. Available at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars.
  • Citizenship Match

    Procedure that compares an applicant's Name, Date of Birth, and SSN in CPS to that in the records of the Social Security Administration (SSA and in special cases the DHS). The CPS will reject applications for insufficient or contradictory information. The result of the match with SSA or DHS is reported on the SAR and ISIR and includes a comment (text and code).
  • Class action

    A lawsuit in which one or more parties seek class treatment under federal law (Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23) or any State process analogous to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.
  • Clery/Campus Security Act

    The law that requires institutions to compile statistics for certain crimes that are reported to campus security authorities or local police agencies, including incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The full title is the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
  • Clinical Training

    The portion of a graduate medical education program that counts as a clinical clerkship for purposes of medical licensure comprising core, required clinical rotation, and not required clinical rotation.
  • Clock Hour

    A period of time consisting of
    • a 50- to 60-minute class, lecture, or recitation in a 60-minute period;
    • a 50- to 60-minute faculty-supervised laboratory, shop training, or internship in a 60-minute period; or
    • 60 minutes of preparation in a correspondence course.
  • Clock/Credit-Hour Conversion

    The calculation performed to establish whether certain programs offered in credit hours meet the standard for the minimum number of credit hours and can be considered eligible.
  • Closeout Period

    One of the award periods in G5. The closeout period immediately follows the suspension period. During closeout, the grant award is closed and any remaining cash is deobligated.
  • Closeout Process (in G5)

    The process of closing a suspended award. The closeout process includes the following periods: liquidation, suspension, and closeout.
  • Closeout Procedures

    The steps a school must take when its participation in the Title IV programs ends, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
  • Closing

    The process of preparing, entering, and posting closing entries.
  • Closing Entry

    A journal entry that balances revenue accounts and expense accounts. Closing entries will mean that the temporary accounts (income statement accounts and drawing account) will start the new accounting year with zero balances.
  • CM

    Configuration Management
  • CO

    Contracting Officer
  • COA

    Cost of Attendance
  • COD

    Common Origination and Disbursement
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

    The codification of the rules published in the Federal Register by agencies of the federal government. Each volume of the CFR is updated once each calendar year and issued quarterly. The volume for Education, Title 34, is updated on July 1 of each year. Cited as "34 CFR."
  • COH

    Cash on Hand
  • Cohort (Loan)

    All of a school's current and former students who during a fiscal year enter repayment on any Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, or Federal Stafford Loan they received to attend the school.
  • Cohort Default Rate (CDR)

    The number of students in a cohort who default on their loans during a fiscal year divided by the total number of students in the cohort, expressed as a percentage.
  • Cohort Default Rate Guide (CDRG)

    U.S. Department of Education publication designed to assist schools with their William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program cohort default rate data. The guide is a reference tool in understanding cohort default rates and processes.
  • Collateral

    Real or personal property pledged as part or full security on a debt.
  • Collateralize

    To pledge property as security (collateral) for a debt.
  • Collection

    The activities and/or actions by lenders, guarantors, servicers, and collection agencies to obtain payment on unpaid loan principal and interest from a borrower after that borrower defaults on the loan.
  • Collection Agency

    A business organization that receives delinquent or defaulted loan accounts from lenders and attempts to collect on those accounts. A fee is charged for the service.
  • Collection Charges

    Costs incurred by a lender or its agents in collecting overdue payments. These charges may include, but are not limited to, attorney's fees, court costs, and telegrams. They may not include routine costs associated with preparing letters or notices or making telephone calls to the borrower.
  • Collegiate School of Nursing

    A school that provides primarily or exclusively a minimum of a two-year program of postsecondary education in professional nursing leading to a degree equivalent to a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or bachelor of nursing in the United States, or to a degree equivalent to a graduate degree in nursing in the United States, and including advanced training related to the program of education provided by the school.
  • Co-maker

    One of two individuals who jointly borrow a consolidation loan, each of whom are eligible and who are jointly and severally liable for repayment of the loan. The term co-maker also includes one of two parents who are joint borrowers as previously authorized in the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program (PLUS Loan Program).
  • Comment Codes

    Codes on a SAR/ISIR drawing attention to specific issues on a student's application. Each code corresponds to specific comment text for the award year. The last line in the "FAA Information" section on a SAR/ISIR shows all the codes generated on the record. FAAs must review the comment codes without reading every comment to find those that may require action.
  • Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System

    The system used to process records for the Pell Grant, TEACH Grant and Direct Loan programs.
  • Common Origination and Disbursement Technical Reference

    A document used as a guide by software vendors and schools to program their systems and process records through COD. It provides a COD system overview, a list of changes, processing information (e.g., business rules and edits), print specifications, and technical specifications. The appendices also contain additional reference information, such as conversion tables, report layouts, and Extensible Markup Language (XML) examples. Located at fsadownload.ed.gov/Technical References.
  • Common Record

    A file layout used by schools and the COD system to exchange Pell Grant, TEACH Grant, and Direct Loan data. The Common Record is a document formatted in XML.
  • Community Defender Organizations

    A defender organization established in accordance with section 3006A(g)(2)(B) of title 18, United States Code.
  • Community Service Work-Study Jobs

    Services that are identified by an institution of higher education through formal or informal consultation with local nonprofit, government, and community-based organizations, as designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs. In order to be considered community service, the job has to be in an area that is open, accessible, and used by the community at large. For a more detailed list of community services see 34 CFR 675.2.
  • Compensating Balance

    An offsetting balance. A requirement by some banks that a borrower maintain a minimum balance in a checking or savings account as a condition of a loan.
  • Competency-based education

    An innovative approach in higher education that organizes academic content according to competencies—what a student knows and can do—rather than follow a more traditional scheme, such as by course.
  • Compliance

    Conformity in fulfilling requirements under various statutes and regulations.
  • Compliance Testing

    Process of testing to determine the compliance of the component or system.
  • Composite Score

    The composite score standard combines different measures of the elements of financial health to yield a single measure of a school's overall financial health. This method allows financial strength in one area to make up for financial weakness in another area, and provides an equitable measure of the financial health of schools of different sizes. Included in the calculation are the following ratios: Primary Reserve, Equity, and Net Income.
  • Comprehensive Student Work-Learning-Service Program

    A student work-learning-service program that
    • is an integral and stated part of the institution's educational philosophy and program;
    • requires participation of all resident students for enrollment and graduation;
    • includes learning objectives, evaluation, and a record of work performance as part of the student's college record;
    • provides programmatic leadership by college personnel at levels comparable to traditional academic programs;
    • recognizes the educational role of worklearning- service supervisors; and
    • includes consequences for nonperformance or failure in the work-learning-service program similar to the consequences for failure in the regular academic program.
  • Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program

    A degree, certificate, nondegree, or noncertificate program that
    • is offered by a participating institution;
    • is delivered to students physically attending the institution;
    • is designed to support students with intellectual disabilities who are seeking to continue academic, career and technical, and independent living instruction at an institution of higher education in order to prepare for gainful employment;
    • includes an advising and curriculum structure;
    • requires students with intellectual disabilities to have at least one-half of their participation in the program, as determined by the institution, focus on academic components through courses or activities taken jointly with students without disabilities; and
    • provides students with intellectual disabilities opportunities to participate in coursework and other activities with students without disabilities.
  • Computer Controls

    Internal controls performed by computer software as opposed to manual controls. Also means general and application controls over the computer processing of data.
  • Concurrent Deferment

    In the Perkins Program, automatic deferments schools must grant during periods of service for which schools also grant loan cancellation. Borrowers do not need to apply for these automatic deferments.
  • Conditional Acceptance

    Condition whereby a student is admitted to an academic program provisionally until the student can demonstrate ability to succeed in the program by either furnishing documentation (such as transcripts or test scores) or receiving acceptable grades in program coursework. Students admitted in this manner are regular students only if the school accepts them into an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • Conflicting Information

    A discrepancy in the information that a school has regarding a student that affects his or her eligibility for federal student aid. A school must resolve conflicting information about a student before that student can receive federal student aid.
  • Consolidated Financial Statements

    Financial statements that reflect the total economic entity (all entities with same management are presented together and all related party transactions are eliminated from the statements). For example, on a consolidated income statement a corporation that owns several individual schools would report the total of all of its schools' activities. A consolidated balance sheet would report the combined assets except for claims against schools within its group.
  • Consolidation

    The process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan.
  • Consortium

    A group of two or more eligible schools that interacts with the Department in the same manner as other schools, except that the business between the Department and the schools is channeled through a single point.
  • Consortium Agreement

    A written agreement between two or more eligible schools.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

    U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat citizens fairly.
  • Consumer Information

    The information that a school must provide about financial aid and its campus, facilities, student athletes, and gainful employment programs as well as information to promote campus security and fire safety and prevent drug and alcohol abuse, as required under HEA Sec. 485(f) and 34 CFR 668.41–49.
  • Continuing Education

    Coursework usually intended for adult and non-traditional students in which a student receives instruction that supplements a his or her previous education. Student can only receive Title IV aid for continuing education classes and credits only when those courses and credits are applicable to a degree or certificate program.
  • Contra Account

    One of two or more accounts which partially or wholly offset another or other accounts; on financial statements, they may be either merged or appear together.
  • Contractual Agreement

    A written agreement between an eligible school and an ineligible school.
  • Control

    Documented activities, policies, and procedures that help an organization meet its objectives, attain its goals, and accomplish its mission.
  • Control Account

    A general ledger account containing the correct total amount without containing the details. For example, Accounts Receivable could be a control account in the general ledger. Each day the total of the day's credit and collections are posted to this account. However, the details involving students' accounts will be found in a subsidiary ledger.
  • Control Activities

    Control activities are actions supported by policies and procedures that help ensure management directives are carried out properly and in a timely manner. Control activities can be classified either as preventive or detective. Preventive controls (e.g., approvals) attempt to deter or prevent undesirable events. Detective controls (e.g., reconciliations) attempt to detect undesirable events.
  • Control Environment or Internal Control Environment

    The overall attitude, awareness, and actions of directors and management (i.e., "those charged with governance") regarding the internal control system and its importance to the entity. A positive control environment is the foundation for all internal control standards. It provides discipline and structure as well as the climate of the workplace, which influences the quality of internal control.
  • Control Objectives

    Goals or standards for reducing or eliminating potential risks to an organization's mission.
  • Control Systems

    The organizational structure, operational procedures, and administrative practices adopted by all levels of management to provide reasonable assurance that programs and administrative activities are effectively carried out.
  • COO

    Chief Operating Officer
  • Cooperative (aka Co-op) Education Program

    A program that integrates classroom learning and structured work experiences directly related to the goals and objectives of the student's larger educational program. Students earn credit for successfully completed paid or unpaid Cooperative Work Experiences (CWE).

    A school must have a written policy that describes the formula (may be specified by the school's state or accreditation agency) for converting the work portion of a Cooperative Education Program to credits. If the result equals or exceeds a full-time academic load, the co-op student is considered full time regardless of how many credits are earned for the co-op work.

  • Coordinating Official

    A capable individual responsible for administering all the Title IV, HEA programs in which a school participates and for coordinating those programs with the institution's other federal and nonfederal programs of student financial assistance. An individual is "capable" if certified by the state in which the school is located and the state requires certification of financial aid administrators. Other factors in determining capability include, but are not limited to, the individual's successful completion of Title IV program training provided or approved by the Secretary and previous experience and documented success in administering the Title IV programs properly.
  • COPPA

    Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
  • Correcting Entry

    A journal entry to correct an erroneous amount previously entered in the general ledger.
  • Correction Edit Codes (Pell Grant program only)

    If schools select to have their Pell Grant data corrected rather than rejected, the COD system automatically corrects the data and sends a response to the school that submitted the record indicating that a correction took place, the element corrected, the original value, and the corrected value. Edits that can be corrected, rather than rejected, are indicated with a C/R in the Volume II, Section 4 – Edit codes in the COD Technical Reference.
  • Corrective Action

    Actions needed to address an issue of noncompliance.
  • Corrective Action Plan (CAP)

    Statement of the corrective actions related to noncompliance, to include a responsible official, milestones toward completion of the action, metrics which measure progress and remediation, and dates when these milestones will be addressed. CAPs are to be maintained by the organization, and the status is to be reported as directed.
  • Correspondence Course

    A course provided by an institution under which the institution provides instructional materials, by mail or electronic transmission, including examinations on the materials, to students who are separated from the instructor. Interaction between the instructor and student is limited, is not regular and substantive, and is primarily initiated by the student. Correspondence courses are typically self-paced. If a course is part correspondence and part residential training, the Department considers the course to be a correspondence course. Note: A correspondence course is not distance education.
  • Correspondence Student Limitation

    The requirement that less than 50% of a school's regular students be enrolled in correspondence courses for the school to be eligible to participate in the Title IV programs. This limitation may be waived for a school that offers a 2-year associate degree or 4-year baccalaureate degree program if it demonstrates to the Department that in that award year the students enrolled in correspondence courses receive no more than 5% of the total FSA program funds received by all of the school's students.
  • Cost

    The monetary value of resources used or sacrificed, or liabilities incurred to achieve an objective, such as to acquire or produce a product, or to perform an activity or service. Depending on the nature of the transaction, cost may be charged to operations immediately, i.e., recognized as an expense of the period, or to an asset account for recognition as an expense of subsequent periods.
  • Cost of Attendance (COA)

    The cost in dollars, of a period of enrollment (such as an academic year). The COA for a student is an estimate of that student's educational expenses for the period of enrollment. Defining a student's COA is the first step in establishing a student's financial need. It sets the limit on the total need-based federal student aid a student may receive and is one of the components of the Pell Grant calculation. For a detailed explanation of the components included in Cost of Attendance see the Higher Education Act, as amended, Part F, Section 472.
  • COTR

    Contacting Officer Technical Representative
  • COTW

    Corrections on the Web
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account

    A type of taxadvantaged savings vehicle for college education.
  • Covered Institution

    Any institution of higher education, proprietary institution of higher education, postsecondary vocational institution, or institution outside the United States, that receives any federal funding or assistance.
  • CPA

    Certified Public Accountant
  • CPS

    Central Processing System
  • CPS/SAIG

    Central Processing System / Student Aid Internet Gateway
  • CPS/SAIG Technical Support

    Call center that responds to questions about the Central Processing System (CPS), the Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG), Web products such as FAA Access to CPS Online, and assistance with software products such as EDconnect and EDExpress. Phone: 800-330-5947, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday.
  • CR

    Credit
  • Credit Balance

    See Title IV Credit Balance.
  • Credit Bureau

    An agency that gathers and stores credit information on individuals, and provides reports of that information to organizations from whom the individuals are seeking to obtain credit. Borrowers whose federal education loans are in default are reported to credit bureaus.
  • Credit Check

    A check of a Direct PLUS Loan applicant's credit record performed by COD to determine whether the individual has an adverse credit history. A credit check is generated when: (1) the COD system receives a Direct PLUS Loan Award; (2) the Direct PLUS Loan applicant completes a Direct PLUS Loan request via studentLoans.gov; or (3) the school (after obtaining the applicant's authorization) initiates a credit check on the web through COD.
  • Credit Hour

    Except as provided in 34 CFR 668.8(k) and (l), a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than

    • one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or 10 to 12 weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

    • at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
  • Critical Audit Matters

    Those matters addressed during the audit that (1) involved the most difficult, subjective, or complex auditor judgments; (2) posed the most difficulty to the auditor in obtaining sufficient appropriate evidence; or (3) posed the most difficulty to the auditor in forming the opinion on the financial statements. Critical audit matters ordinarily are matters of such importance that they are included in the matters required to be (1) documented in the engagement completion document that summarizes the significant issues and findings from the audit; (2) reviewed by the engagement quality reviewer; (3) communicated to the audit committee; and (4) any combination of the three.
  • Critical Matter Standard in the Auditor Report

    Requires an auditor to communicate in the auditor's report (when the auditor expresses an unqualified opinion) critical audit matters that were addressed during the audit of the current period's financial statements. If the auditor determines that there are no critical audit matters, the auditor would state in the auditor's report that the auditor determined that there are no such matters to communicate.
  • Crossover Payment Period

    A payment period that spans two award years.
  • CS/JLD

    Job Location and Development within the Community Service Work-Study Program.
  • CSB

    Common Services for Borrowers
  • CSC

    Customer Service Center
  • CSID

    Common School Identifier
  • CSL

    Community Service Learning (Program)
  • CSR

    Customer Service Representative
  • Continuing Year
  • Current Funding Level (CFL)

    Total amount of cash available for a school to draw down at any point in time, and is a subset of the school ceiling amount (SCA). A school's current funding level may be adjusted based on the amount of substantiated cash. A change in CFL will directly impact the SCA. In G5, the CFL is call the Authorization.
  • Current Liabilities

    Amounts owed by an entity for which the financial statements are prepared, and which need to be paid within the fiscal year following the reporting date.
  • CY

    Current Year
 
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