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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.


  • D&B

    Dun and Bradstreet
  • Data Match

    The check that the CPS makes against other databases such as NSLDS and those maintained by other federal agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Selective Service System. Data matches help to determine students' eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Data Release Number (DRN)

    A four-digit unique student identifier that schools may use in combination with an applicant's identifying information to access the student's record if the school was not listed on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) Number

    Identification code assigned to a school by Dun & Bradstreet. The D-U-N-S number represents a school as a unique financial entity.
  • Dating violence

    Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • Day

    A calendar day, unless otherwise specified.
  • DB

  • DCIA

    Debt Collection and The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996
  • DCL

    Dear Colleague Letter
  • DCS

    Debt Collection Service (in ED) now Borrower Services and Collections
  • DD214

    Department of Defense form 214. It is the form, received at separation, that certifies a veteran's service.
  • Dear Colleague Letter (DCL)

    An ad hoc publication by the Department of Education addressing significant policy, system, and training issues and intended for college financial aid administrators and other customers.
  • Death Master File

    A list of SSNs associated with people who have died, maintained by the Central Processing System (CPS).
  • Debarment of School Owners or Staff

    Suspension of one of the principals or employee of a school by a federal agency. Debarment prohibits that person from participating in any FSA program as long as the agency's procedures include due process protections that are equivalent to those provided by ED.
  • Debt Resolution Services

    Office (within Federal Student Aid's Default Division) to which schools refer students who have received an overpayment of Title IV funds for collection.
  • Debt-to-Earnings Ratio

    Ratio A measure that compares student indebtedness to earnings and is used to determine whether Title IV program funds can be used to pay for enrollment in gainful employment programs.
  • Default

    The failure to meet any obligation or term of a credit agreement, grant, or contract.
  • Default (Loan)

    A status that a loan is placed in if the borrower has failed to make a payment when due for the number of days allowed by the applicable regulations, or if the borrower violates other terms and conditions of the promissory note. Borrowers who default on federal education loans lose eligibility for further federal student aid, will have their default reported to national credit bureaus, and may have their wages garnished or tax refunds offset by the government.
  • Default Division

    Office within Federal Student Aid responsible for the management collecting defaulted loans and student overpayments.
  • Default Prevention and Management Plan

    A plan that new schools, those with a change of ownership control, and those whose status as a main or branch campus changes must implement. New schools are exempt in certain circumstances. Schools with a cohort default rate = 30% must establish a default prevention task force that prepares a plan that
    • identifies the factors causing the default rate to exceed the threshold;

    • establishes measurable objectives and steps the school will take to improve the default rate; and

    • specifies the actions the school will take to improve student loan repayment, including counseling students on repayment options.

  • Defense Of Infancy

    A legal defense whereby a borrower asserts that they were too young to enter into an agreement. A borrower may not use a defense of infancy as part of any attempt to refuse to repay Title IV loans. HEA Section 484A(b)(2).
  • Deferment (Loan)

    A period during which a borrower is entitled to have payments of principal and interest on federal education loans postponed if he or she meets the eligibility criteria for the deferment. Examples of reasons that entitle a borrower to deferment include enrollment in postsecondary education on at least a half time basis, unemployment, economic hardship, or qualifying active duty military service.
  • Degree or Certificate Seeking Student

    A student enrolled in a course of credit who is recognized by the institution as seeking a degree or certificate.
  • Dependency Override

    Action a financial aid administrator may take to change a student's status for federal student aid from dependent to independent (the reverse is not permitted). There must be unusual circumstances to warrant an override, and the FAA must document those circumstances in the student's file.
  • Dependent of the Student

    The student's dependent children and other persons (except the student's spouse) who live with and receive more than one-half of their support from the student and will continue to receive more than half of their support from the student during the award year.
  • Dependent Student

    Any student who does not qualify as an independent student (see Independent Student). A FAFSA for a dependent student must include parent information.
  • Dependents (of a student's parents)

    The student, other dependent children of the student's parents (whether or not they reside with the parents), including those children who are deemed to be dependent students when applying for aid under this title, and other persons who live with and receive more than one-half of their support from the parent and will continue to receive more than half of their support from the parent during the award year.
  • Depository Account

    An account at a depository institution described in 12 U.S.C. 461(b)(1)(A), or an account maintained by a foreign institution at a comparable depository institution that meets the requirements of § 668.163(a)(1).
  • Designated Department Official

    An official of the Department of Education to whom the Department has delegated responsibilities indicated in this part.
  • Destination Point

    In the Electronic Data Exchange, the transmitter of FSA data (applications and/or corrections) through the FAA Access to CPS Online interface with EDExpress or through Third-Party software. The results of processing (ISIRs) as well as COD data and reports are transmitted to the destination point through the Student Aid Internet Gateway. This may be a postsecondary school servicing one or more schools or a service agent servicing multiple schools.
  • Destination Point Administrator (DPA)

    The school employee responsible for ensuring secure access to the SAIG (a communication system between the school and ED systems). The DPA is responsible for assigning and providing access via SAIG for other employees of the school.
  • Deviation

    Departure from prescribed internal control procedures. Often expressed as a rate at which the departure occurs.
  • DHS

    Department of Homeland Security
  • DHS Match Flag

    Code on a SAR/ISIR indicating the results of a match with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). An applicant's FAFSA is sent to DHS if the applicant indicates on the FSFSA that he or she is an eligible noncitizen.
  • DHS Secondary Confirmation Match Flag

    Code on a SAR/ISIR indicating the results from a secondary match with DHS for an applicant who failed primary confirmation of immigration status.
  • Diploma Mill

    An entity that:
    • charges someone a fee and requires him to complete little or no education or coursework to obtain a degree, diploma, or certificate that may be used to represent to the general public that he has completed a program of education or training; and

    • lacks accreditation by an agency or association that is recognized as an accrediting body for institutions of higher education by the Secretary (pursuant to Part H, Subpart 2 of Title IV) or a federal agency, state government, or other organization that recognizes accrediting agencies or associations. Note that merely lacking accreditation does not make a school a diploma mill.

  • Diploma School of Nursing

    A school affiliated with a hospital or university, or an independent school, which provides primarily or exclusively a two-year program of postsecondary education in professional nursing, leading to the equivalent of a diploma in the United States or to equivalent indicia that the program has been satisfactorily completed.
  • Direct Assessment Program

    An instructional program that, in lieu of credit hours or clock hours as a measure of student learning, utilizes direct assessment of student learning, or recognizes the direct assessment of student learning by others. The assessment must be consistent with the accreditation of the institution or program utilizing the results of the assessment.
  • Direct Consolidation Loan

    A Direct Loan created from the outstanding balances of other pre-existing federal education loans.
  • Direct Cost

    The cost of resources directly consumed by an activity. Direct costs are assigned to activities by direct tracing of units of resources consumed by individual activities.
  • Direct Disbursement (to a student or parent)

    Paying FSA funds directly to a student or parent by
    • issuing a check or other instrument payable to and requiring the endorsement or certification of the student or parent (a check is issued if the school releases or mails the check to a student or parent, or notifies the student or parent that the check is available for
      immediate pickup); or

    • initiating an EFT to a bank account desig-nated by the student or parent, including transferring funds to stored-value cards and debit cards (see the discussion under Paying FSA Credit Balances later in this chapter); or

    • providing cash to the student or parent, provided that the school obtains a signed receipt from the student or parent.

  • Direct Loan 30-Day Warning Report

    A listing of unbooked loans for which COD has not received the elements required for booking. The report also lists MPNs received by COD that do not have an accepted origination record. The report is sent to the school's SAIG mailbox on a monthly basis (if data for the given month exists for the report). The report is also available via the COD website (
  • Direct Loan Counseling Report

    Lists students who have completed entrance counseling, financial awareness counseling, and exit counseling on the website. This report is available at
  • Direct Loan Delinquent Borrower Report

    Lists borrowers who are at least 31 days delinquent in their Direct Loan payments. The report gives the most recent contact information for the borrower and can be used in default reduction efforts by helping schools identify and contact borrowers. The Delinquent Borrower Report is available by subscription or on request from the Direct Loan Servicing Center. A report of borrowers delinquent in payment to loan servicers is available through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
  • Direct Loan Duplicate Student Borrower Report

    Lists student borrowers for which the COD system has multiple subsidized/unsubsidized awards with overlapping academic years within the same award year. Schools should monitor this report and contact other schools involved to verify that the student's academic and award years are correct in both COD and the schools' systems. Failure to monitor this report may cause records to reject in COD for going over the annual Stafford limits. This report is available at
  • Direct Loan Exit Counseling Completion Report

    Lists students who have completed exit counseling on the website, or students who completed counseling by another means whose information was uploaded by the school to NSLDS. Schools should monitor this report to assist with their default reduction efforts and insure compliance with exit counseling requirements. This report is available from the NSLDS Professional Access website, in detail and summary versions and online, both as a scheduled report or on demand. Note that although students complete entrance and exit counseling on, it is NSLDS that exit counseling reports to schools.
  • Direct Loan Expired MPN Report

    Lists MPNs that have expired (become inactive) within the last 30 days. This report is available via at and the schools SAIG mailbox.
  • Direct Loan Inactive Loans Report

    Lists all the loans a school has reduced to zero ($0) for the reporting period. This report is available at and the schools SAIG mailbox.
  • Direct Loan MPN Discharge Report

    Lists MPNs that have become inactive within the last 30 days due to discharges for death, unauthorized signature, or identity theft. This report is available at
  • Direct Loan MPNs Due to Expire Report

    Lists MPNs that will expire (become inactive) within the next 60 days. This report is available at
  • Direct Loan Pending Disbursement Listing Report

    Informs schools of loans with anticipated disbursement dates (Disbursement Release Indicator (DRI) set to false) on file at COD and the dates of those anticipated/pending disbursements. This report is available at
  • Direct Loan Program Loan

    A loan made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.
  • Direct Loan Rebuild File

    A file that can used to rebuild a lost or corrupted Direct Loan Database, or recreate specific student records. School mays request this file at
  • Direct Loan Repayment Plan

    Any of the repayment plans under which Direct Loan borrowers can repay their loans. Available repayment plans are the: Standard Repayment Plan, Graduated Repayment Plan, Extended Repayment, Plan Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan, Pay As You Earn Plan, and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan. Parent Direct PLUS Loan borrowers may only choose from the Standard, Graduated, and Extended plans.
  • Direct Loan School Account Statement (SAS)

    A COD-generated statement, created monthly (comparable to a bank statement), that summarizes a school's processing activity for the month. The SAS provides the Department's official ending cash balance from records submitted by the school, and a school will receive this report on a monthly basis until the Department has officially closed the school's activity for a program year. This report is available at
  • Direct Loan Tools

    A multi-year Windows-based application available at that schools can use to
    • compare the SAS to loans and actual disbursements recorded in the school's database or the DL Tools cash database;

    • print the SAS in a readable format;

    • track cash receipts and refunds of cash; and

    • rebuild DL origination and disbursement
      records in EDExpress.

  • Direct PLUS Consolidation Loan

    The portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan attributable to Direct PLUS Loans, Direct PLUS Consolidation Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students that were repaid by a consolidation loan. The borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues during any period.
  • Direct PLUS Loan

    A loan made under the Federal Direct PLUS Program.
  • Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loan

    The portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan attributable to certain subsidized Title IV education loans that were repaid by a consolidation loan. Interest is not charged to the borrower during deferment periods or for a borrower whose consolidation application was received before July 1, 2006, during in-school and grace periods.
  • Direct Subsidized Loan

    A loan made under the Federal Direct Stafford Ford Loan Program.
  • Disallowed Costs

    Charges to a Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Consolidation Loan

    The portion of a Direct Consolidation Loan attributable to unsubsidized Title IV education loans, certain subsidized title IV education loans, and certain other federal education loans that were repaid by a consolidation loan. The borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues during any period.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan

    A loan made under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Ford Loan Program.
  • Disallowed Costs

    Charges to a Federal award that the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines to be unallowable, in accordance with the applicable Federal statutes, regulations, or the terms and conditions of the Federal award.
  • Disaster-Affected Student

    In FWS, A student enrolled at an institution who (1) received an FWS award for the award period during which a major disaster occurred; (2) earned FWS wages from an institution for that award period; (3) was prevented from fulfilling his or her FWS obligation for all or part of the FWS award period because of the major disaster; and (4) was unable to be reassigned to another FWS job.
  • Disbursement

    The crediting of a student's account or paying a student or parent directly with
    • FSA funds received from the Department; or

    • school funds labeled as FSA funds in advance of receiving actual FSA funds.

  • Disbursement Record

    An electronic record sent from a school to COD notifying the Department when a Pell, TEACH Grant or Direct Loan disbursement will be or has been made to a student.
  • Disbursement Release Indicator (DRI)

    A "tag" on the Common Record that designates a record as an Actual Disbursement Record. It signals the COD System to post the amount of disbursement to an award (loan/grant).
  • Discharge (Loan)

    Cancellation of the balance due on a federal education loan. Reasons for discharge of a loan include the borrower's death (or the death of the student on whose behalf a parent obtained a Direct PLUS Loan), the borrower's total and permanent disability (as defined in the Department's regulations), school closure, and certain other conditions as specified in the Department's regulations.
  • Disclosure Statement

    See Loan Disclosure Statement.
  • Disclosures

    Information that postsecondary institutions must make available to students and the public generally, such as information about their academic programs, costs, withdrawal procedures, refunds, accreditation, athletic programs, crime and safety, etc.
  • Discount

    The difference between the estimated worth of a future benefit and its present value; a compensation for waiting or an allowance for returns from using the present value of these returns in other ways.
  • Discretionary Program

    Program for which outlays are controlled by annual appropriation acts. Annual appropriation acts are required to fund the continuing operation of all federal programs that are not "mandatory" (compare to Entitlement Programs).
  • Disposable Income

    That part of an individual's compensation from an employer and other income from any source, including spousal income, that remains after the deduction of any amounts required by law to be withheld, or any child support or alimony payments that are made under a court order or legally enforceable written agreement. Amounts required by law to be withheld include, but are not limited to, federal, state, and local taxes, Social Security contributions, and wage garnishment payments.
  • Dispositive motion

    A motion asking for a court order that entirely disposes of one or more claims in favor of the party who files the dispositive motion without the need for further court proceedings.
  • Distance Education

    Training that uses one or more of the technologies below to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously. The technologies may include
    • the internet;

    • one-way and two-way transmissions through open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, broadband lines, fiber optics, satellite, or wireless communications devices;

    • audio conferencing; or

    • video cassettes, dvds, and cd-roms, if the cassettes, DVDS, or CD-Roms are used in a course in conjunction with any of several other technologies.

  • DL

    Direct Loan
  • DLC

    Direct Loan Consolidation
  • DMRS

    Deposit Message Retrieval System (Treasury Department)
  • DOB

    Date of Birth
  • Documentation

    A written explanation that describes a topic so that an independent third party can understand it. Documentation includes explanations of program mission and functions, component control techniques, summary of the steps taken in conducting an internal control review, and the operation of a financial system.
  • DOD

    Department of Defense
  • DoD Match

    The result on a SAR/ISIR from the match with the Department of Defense (DoD) to determine if the applicant's parent was a member of the armed forces who died as a result of service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.
  • DOJ

    Department of Justice
  • li>

    Domestic violence

    A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by
    • a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim,

    • ŠŠ
    • a person with whom the victim shares a child in common,

    • ŠŠ
    • a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner,

    • ŠŠ
    • a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies [under VAWA], or

    • ŠŠ
    • any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

  • DPA

    Destination Point Administrator
  • Draft Cohort Default Rate

    The rate the Department issues for review before issuing an official cohort default rate. A draft cohort default rate is used only for the purposes described in 34 CFR 668.185.
  • DRAP

    Default Reduction Assistance Program
  • Drawdown (also Cash Receipt)

    A school's request for and subsequent transmission of funds to the school via G5. A drawdown occurs when a school (or COD) initiates a request for funds through G5, and the funds are transmitted from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to the school's bank account.
  • Drawdown Adjustment

    An adjustment made in G5, where a drawdown is moved from one award year to another award year. This usually is done to correct an error (mistakenly requesting funds from the wrong award year, or to change the amount of the request before the funds are received by the school).
  • DRI

    Disbursement Release Indicator
  • DRN

    Data Release Number
  • DRP

    Disaster Recovery Plan
  • DRT

    Data Retrieval Tool
  • Drug Abuse Hold

    A legal judgment that bars an applicant from receiving certain federal benefits, including Title IV aid, due to a federal or state conviction for drug possession or trafficking. The Central Processing System (CPS) maintains a file of individuals who have received a drug abuse hold, and all applicants are checked against this list.
  • DTIC

    Defense Technical Information Center
  • Due Diligence (in the loan programs)

    The use of extensive persistent procedures for servicing and collecting student loans. Also the full and timely disclosure to student borrowers of their rights and obligations.
  • D-U-N-S

    Data Universal Numbering System (by Dun & Bradstreet)
  • Duplicate SSN Flag

    This flag on a SAR/ISIR is set to "Yes" if another record was found in the CPS database with the same SSN but a different last name.
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