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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

  • FAA

    Financial Aid Administrator
  • FAA Access to CPS Online

    A website that financial aid administrators use to enter application data, view ISIR information, and make corrections. It is located at fafsa.ed.gov/FOTWWebApp/faa/faa.jsp.
  • Faculty Member at a Tribal College or University

    An educator or tenured individual who is employed by a Tribal College or University, as that term is defined in section 316 of the HEA, to teach, research, or perform administrative functions. For purposes of this definition, an educator may be an instructor, lecturer, lab faculty, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, dean, or academic department head.
  • FADL

    Final Audit Determination Letter
  • FAFSA

    See Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • FAFSA on the Web SM (FOTW)

    The online version of the FAFSA and the website where it is accessed.
  • FAFSA Processor

    The data entry processor for a processing year under contract with the U.S. Department of Education. The FAFSA processor receives paper applications, paper SAR corrections, and paper signature pages in the mail, performs document analysis to ensure that the data is acceptable, and handles missing or unacceptable responses. The processor images the application, enters the information from the application, and transmits the data and image electronically to the CPS.
  • Failure to Register

    A condition wherein a male student knowingly and willingly failed to register for the Selective Service before his 26th birthday.
  • Fair Value

    The amount at which an asset or liability could be exchanged in a current transaction between willing parties, other than in a forced or liquidation sale.
  • Family (for purposes of separation of functions)

    A parent, sibling, spouse, child, spouse’s parent or sibling, child’s or sibling’s spouse.
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

    The Act that sets limits on the disclosure of personally identifiable information from school records and defines the rights of the student to review the records and request a change to the records. FERPA generally gives postsecondary students the right to
    • review their education records,

    • seek to amend inaccurate information in their records, and

    • provide consent for the disclosure of their records.

  • Family Size

    Also known as household size. The number of persons in the household of an independent student or a dependent student’s parents. In general it includes an independent student and his or her spouse (if there is one) and their dependents or, in the case of dependent students, the parents, their dependents, and the student. See the explanation of household size in Chapter 2 of the Application and Verification Guide for complete details.
  • FAO

    Financial Aid Office (also, Officer)
  • FASB

    Financial Accounting Standards Board
  • FC

    Family Contribution
  • FCC

    Federal Capital Contribution (Perkins)
  • FDIC

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • FDLP/DL

    The William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program
  • FEA

    Federal Enterprise Architecture
  • Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB)

    Group authorized by the accounting profession to establish generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) applicable to federal government entities.
  • Federal Capital Contribution (FCC)

    In the Perkins Loan Program, federal funds allocated or reallocated to an institution in an award year for deposit into the institution's federal funds account under section 462 of the HEA.
  • Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Program

    One of the components of the Direct Loan Program. Loans made under this program are referred to as Direct Consolidation Loans and provide loans to borrowers who consolidate certain federal educational loans.
  • Federal Direct PLUS Program

    A component of the Federal Direct Loan Program. It provides loans to parents of dependent students attending schools that participate in the Direct Loan Program. The Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Program provides loans to graduate or professional students attending schools that participate in the Direct Loan Program. Direct PLUS borrowers are responsible for the interest that accrues during any period. Loans made under this program are referred to as Direct PLUS Loans.
  • Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loan Program

    One of the components of the Direct Loan Program. It provides loans to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students attending schools that participate in the Direct Loan Program. The Department subsidizes the interest while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment period. Loans made under this program are referred to as Direct Subsidized Loans.
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loan Program

    One of the components of the Direct Loan Program. It provides loans to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students attending schools that participate in the Direct Loan Program. The borrower is responsible for the interest that accrues during any period. Loans made under this program are referred to as Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Programs

    This former loan program included the Federal Stafford Loan, Federal PLUS, Federal Supplemental Loans for Students (Federal SLS), and Federal Consolidation Loan programs. Lenders used their own funds to make loans to enable students or their parents to pay the costs of the students' attendance at eligible institutions.
  • The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

    Legislation that defines a comprehensive framework to protect government information, operations and assets against natural or man-made threats. FISMA was signed into law part of the Electronic Government Act of 2002 and updated in 2014.
  • Federal Interest in Title IV, HEA Program Funds

    Except for funds provided by the Department for administrative expenses, and for funds used for the Job Location and Development Program under 20 CFR part 675, subpart B, funds received by an institution under the Title IV, HEA programs are held in trust for the intended beneficiaries or the Secretary. The institution, as a trustee of those funds, may not use or hypothecate (i.e., use as collateral) Title IV funds for any other purpose or otherwise engage in any practice that risks the loss of those funds.
  • Federal Interest in Title IV, HEA Program Funds

    Except for funds provided by the Department for administrative expenses, and for funds used for the Job Location and Development Program under subpart B of the FWS regulations, funds received by an institution under the title IV, HEA programs are held in trust for the intended beneficiaries or the Secretary. The institution, as a trustee of those funds, may not use or hypothecate (i.e., use as collateral) the funds for any other purpose or otherwise engage in any practice that risks the loss of those funds.
  • Federal Pell Grant Program

    A grant program authorized by the HEA under which grants are awarded to help financially needy students meet the cost of their postsecondary education.
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program

    The student loan program authorized by Title IV of the HEA. The Federal Perkins Loan Program includes loans made under the National Direct Student Loan Program and the National Defense Student Loan Program. This Campus-Based Program provides low-interest loans to financially needy students attending institutions of higher education to help them pay their educational costs.
  • Federal Public Defender Organization

    A defender organization established in accordance with section 3006A(g)(2)(A) of title 18, United States Code.
  • Federal Register

    The daily journal of the U.S. federal government. It contains notices, proposed and final regulations, and presidential documents. Regulations first appear in the register and, when final, are incorporated in the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Federal Reserve Banks (FRB)

    A nationwide system for clearing and settling checks drawn on depository institutions located in all regions of the United States.
  • Federal Share

    The percentage of a school's annual expenditures in the Campus-Based Programs paid in an award year from a school's current authorization or from federal funds carried forward or back.
  • (The Office of) Federal Student Aid (FSA)

    The office within the U. S. Department of Education that manages the Federal Student Aid Programs.
  • Federal Student Aid (the programs)

    Programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (as amended) that provide financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in postsecondary educational programs.
  • Federal Student Aid Assessments (FSA Assessments)

    Web-based management assessment modules for helping schools assess their compliance with FSA program requirements and enhance services. Each assessment is self-guided and contains links to applicable laws and regulations. Available at ifap.ed.gov/ifap/.
  • Federal Student Aid Coach (FSA Coach)

    A comprehensive, online introductory course on school requirements for administering the FSA programs. A version for foreign schools, FSA COACH for Foreign Schools contains lessons designed specifically for those working at foreign schools who administer FSA loans. Available at ifap.ed.gov/ifap/fsacoach.jsp.
  • Federal Student Aid Handbook (The Handbook)

    Annual Department publication that explains the requirements for participation in the FSA programs.
  • Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC)

    Serves the public by providing information, in both English and Spanish, about the FSA programs and the application process. Customers include students, parents, and financial aid administrators seeking general information about federal grant and loan programs and specific assistance with the FAFSA. 800/4-FED-AID (800-433-3243); 334-523-2691; TDD/TTY 800-730-8913 for the deaf or hearing impaired..
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program

    The Campus-Based Program that provides grants to eligible students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program

    A Campus-Based Title IV program that provides part-time employment to students attending institutions of higher education who need the earnings to help meet their costs of postsecondary education and encourages students receiving FWS assistance to participate in community service activities.
  • Fedwire

    The Federal Reserve Bank's nationwide real time gross settlement electronic funds and securities transfer network. Fedwire® is a credit transfer system. Each funds transfer is settled individually against an institution's reserve or clearing account on the books of the Federal Reserve. The transaction is considered an irrevocable payment when processed.
  • FERPA

    Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
  • Fiduciary (n.)

    An entity that holds assets in trust. A school holds federal student aid funds in trust for recipients, their parents in the case of Parent PLUS Loans and the federal government.
  • Fiduciary (adj.)

    Relating to the collection or receipt, management, protection, accounting, investment and disposition of cash or other assets in which federal student aid recipients, their parents in the case of Parent PLUS Loans and the federal government have an ownership interest.
  • Fiduciary Activity

    An activity that relates to the collection or receipt, management, protection, accounting, investment and disposition by a school of cash or other assets in which federal student aid recipients, their parents in the case of Parent PLUS Loans and the federal government have an ownership interest that the school must uphold.
  • Fiduciary Relationship

    A fiduciary relationship exists when a school recognizes, agrees to, or consents to undertake fiduciary activity. Participating institutions have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure federal student aid funds are used as intended.
  • Final Audit Determination

    The written notice of a determination issued by a designated department official based on an audit of
    • an institution's participation in any or all of the Title IV, HEA programs; or

    • a third-party servicer's administration of any aspect of an institution's participation in any or all of the Title IV, HEA programs.

  • Final Demand Letter

    A letter that a lender sends to a borrower demanding full payment of a delinquent account. A demand letter is required as part of the due diligence procedures for collecting a loan that is about to go into default or a loan made to an ineligible student.
  • Final Funding Authorization

    An electronic notification that tells a school the final allocations for each Campus-Based program in which it participates.
  • Final Funding Worksheet

    Document containing the data used by the Department to determine a school's allocation for each Campus-Based Program in which the school participates and how each final allocation was determined.
  • Final Program Review Determination (FPRD)

    The letter from the Department that follows an institution's response to the Program Review Report (PRR). The FPRD informs the institution of ED's final determination regarding each of the findings in the PRR and identifies liabilities, if any; provides instructions for payment of liabilities; notifies the institution of its right to appeal the existence of and amount of liabilities; and closes the program review if appropriate.
  • Final Regulations

    Regulations that apply to the general public and have final legal effect.
  • Financial Account (in cash management)

    A student's or parent's checking or savings account, prepaid card account, or other consumer asset account held directly or indirectly by a financial institution.
  • Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)

    Independent, private, non-government group which is authorized by the accounting profession to establish generally accepted accounting principles in the United States.
  • Financial Need

    The cost of attendance for a student, minus
    • the expected family contribution for such student, and

    • any estimated financial assistance not received under Title IV.

  • Financial Aid Administrator Access to CPS Online

    In EDExpress, FAA Access to CPS Online is available from the "View" menu and from the FAFSA and Student Inquiry tabs. FAAs can use the site to access saved applications, submit FAFSAs, make corrections, request Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs), compare ISIRs, verify ISIR data, apply a student signature, and check the processing status of student records. compare ISIRs, verify ISIR data, apply a student signature, and check the processing status of student records.
  • Financial Aid Appeal

    A process through which a student appeals a negative finding on his or her Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status. A student's right to appeals is granted at the option of the school. If the school agrees to consider the appeal, the school may place the student on financial aid probation in the interim. See Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Financial Aid Management System (FMS)

    This system is the general ledger for FSA. FMS works with G5 to communicate financial information and to deliver federal cash to schools.
  • Financial Aid Package

    The total student assistance —loans, grants, scholarships, and need-based employment—offered to a student.
  • Financial Aid Probation

    A status under which a student can remain Title IV-eligible after being found not to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress. A student placed on probation must either be on-track to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements by the end of the subsequent payment period (no academic plan required, based on the financial aid appeal), or, if the student will require more than one payment period to meet SAP requirements, the school must require the student to develop an academic plan to meet the SAP requirements. This status is available only when a school permits an appeal. The student's progress towards meeting the SAP requirements must be assessed after each payment period, and the student may retain Title IV eligibility as long as they are meeting the progress requirements of their academic plan.
  • Financial Aid Warning

    A temporary, one payment-period status which allows a student who failed to achieve Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to continue receiving aid. Failing to achieve SAP after one payment period results in a loss of eligibility. Students may, at the option of the school, appeal their SAP status. This status may only be used by schools that check SAP at the end of each payment period.
  • Financial Institution (in cash management)

    A bank, savings association, credit union, or any other person or entity that directly or indirectly holds a financial account belonging to a student or parent that issues an access device associated with a financial account and agrees with a student or parent to provide EFT services.
  • Financial Need

    An eligible student's Cost of attendance minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) minus estimated financial assistance not received under Title IV.
  • Financial Reporting

    The main financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, statement of cash flows, statement of retained earnings, statement of owner's equity) plus other financial information, such as annual reports, press releases, etc.
  • Financial Responsibility

    The obligation for a school to
    • provide the services described in its official publications and statements;

    • properly administer the FSA programs in which it participates; and

    • meet all of its financial obligations.

    The financial responsibility standards (34 CFR 668 Subpart L) can be divided into two categories: (1) general standards, which are the basic standards used to evaluate a school's financial health, and (2) performance and affiliation standards, which are standards used to evaluate a school's past performance and to evaluate individuals affiliated with the school.
  • Financial Statements

    The presentation of financial data, including accompanying notes derived from accounting records and intended to communicate an entity's economic resources or obligations at a point in time, or the changes therein for a period of time, in accordance with a comprehensive basis of accounting.
  • Financial Statements Opinion

    An opinion that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the company as of the balance sheet date and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the period then ended in conformity with the applicable financial reporting framework. The opinion also includes an identification of the applicable financial reporting framework.
  • Fire

    Any instance of open flame or other burning in a place not intended to contain the burning or in an uncontrolled manner.
  • Fire Drill

    A supervised practice of a mandatory evacuation of a building for a fire.
  • Firefighter

    A firefighter is an individual who is employed by a federal, state, or local fire fighting agency to extinguish destructive fires; or provide fire fighting related services such as
    • providing community disaster support and, as a first responder, providing emergency medical services;

    • conducting search and rescue; or

    • providing hazardous materials mitigation.

  • Fire-Related Death

    Any instance in which a person is killed as a result of a fire, including death resulting from a natural or accidental cause while involved in fire control, attempting rescue, or escaping from the dangers of a fire; or dies within one year of injuries sustained as a result of the fire.
  • Fire-Related Injury

    Any instance in which a person is injured as a result of a fire, including an injury sustained from a natural or accidental cause, while involved in fire control, attempting rescue, or escaping from the dangers of the fire. The term "person" may include students, employees, visitors, firefighters, or any other individuals.
  • Fire Safety System

    Any mechanism or system related to the detection of a fire, the warning resulting from a fire, or the control of a fire. This may include sprinkler systems or other fire extinguishing systems, fire detection devices, stand-alone smoke alarms, devices that alert one to the presence of a fire, such as horns, bells, or strobe lights; smoke-control and reduction mechanisms; and fire doors and walls that reduce the spread of a fire.
  • First-Time Borrower (Direct Loan)

    An individual who has no outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan Program or FFEL Program loan on July 1, 2013, or on the date the borrower obtains a Direct Loan Program loan after July 1, 2013.
  • First-Time Undergraduate Student

    An entering undergraduate who has never attended any institution of higher education. It includes a student enrolled in the fall term who attended a postsecondary institution for the first time in the prior summer term, and a student who entered with advanced standing (college credit earned before graduation from high school).
  • FISAP

    Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate
  • FISAP Technical Reference

    A reference document that provides programmer specifications and record layouts for schools or other organizations needing to design customer software systems to interface with the U.S. Department of Education's FISAP on the Web process.
  • Fiscal Operations Report

    Parts III, IV, V, and VI of the FISAP on which schools report on their activities in the Campus-Based Programs. Sometimes referred to as the FISOP.
  • Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP)

    Electronic application through which schools provide information on Campus-Based expenditures made during the award year just completed, and the apply for funds in the Campus-Based Pro¬grams in the upcoming award year.
  • Fiscal Records

    Financial records that reflect each federal student aid program transaction; and general ledger control accounts and related subsidiary accounts that identify each federal student aid program transaction, and separate those transactions from all other institutional financial activity, including the records specified in 34 CFR 668.24(c).
  • Fiscal Year

    An accounting year that ends on a date other than December 31. For example, a school district might have a fiscal year of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.
  • FISMA

    Federal Information Security Management Act
  • Fixed Cost

    A cost that does not vary in the short term with the volume of activity.
  • Fixed Interest Rate

    An interest rate on a loan that remains the same for the entire term of the loan.
  • FMFIA

    Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act of 1982
  • FMS

    Financial Management System
  • FOIA

    Freedom of Information Act
  • Forbearance

    A period during which a borrower may temporarily stop making loan payments, temporarily make smaller payments, or extend the time for making payments. A borrower who does not meet the eligibility requirements for a deferment may, at the discretion of the loan holder, receive a forbearance if the borrower does not meet the eligibility requirements for a deferment but is temporarily unable to make loan payments for reasons including, but not limited to, financial hardship or illness. Borrowers are also entitled to receive forbearance if they meet certain regulatory eligibility criteria.
  • Forbearance (Perkins)

    A temporary postponement of payments. In the Perkins Program forbearance is available for all loans, regardless of when they were made. Under Perkins forbearance, a borrower may alternatively request an extension of time allowed for making payments, or the acceptance of smaller payments than were previously scheduled.
  • Foreclosure

    A method of enforcing payment of a debt secured by a mortgage by seizing the mortgaged property. Foreclosure terminates all rights that the mortgagor has in the mortgaged property upon completion of due process through the courts.
  • Foreign School

    A school not located in a state, territory, or possession of the United States, or otherwise administered by the government of the United States. For the purposes of the Direct Loan Program, a state includes a State of the Union, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.
  • Forgiveness

    In the Direct Loan and FFEL programs, cancellation of a loan debt in exchange for the borrower performing certain types of service.
  • FOTW

    FAFSA on the Web
  • FP

    Dear Colleague Letter designation for financial partners (published before January 2013)
  • FPL

    Federal Perkins Loan Program
  • FPRD

    Final Program Review Determination (L letter)
  • FR

    Federal Register
  • FRB

    Federal Reserve Bank
  • FRCS

    Federal Reserve Communications System
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

    The student aid application provided for under section 483 of the HEA, which is used to determine an applicant's eligibility for the federal student aid programs. See Student Aid Application.
  • Freely Associated States (Micronesia, Palau, Marshall Islands)

    Students from one of the Freely Associated States are potentially eligible for Pell Grants, but are not eligible for Title IV loans. Citizens of Palau are also eligible for FWS and FSEOG. Citizens of these states are eligible noncitizens, but do not have A-numbers or (usually) Social Security Numbers.
  • Freeze Cash

    A period during which a school is temporarily prevented from drawing down cash until unsubstantiated cash previously drawn down is substantiated by submitting actual disbursements. Pertains to schools using the Advance Payment funding method.
  • FS

    Financial Services (in the U.S. Department of Education)
  • FSA

    Federal Student Aid, an office of the Department of Education
  • FSA Download

    Federal Student Aid website from which schools can download manuals, technical references, guides, software and associated documents.
  • FSA ID

    A username and password combination that serves as a student's or parent's identifier, allows access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems, and acts as a digital signature on some online forms.
  • FSAH

    Federal Student Aid Handbook
  • FSAIC

    Federal Student Aid Information Center
  • FSAPubs

    Federal Student Aids site for ordering publications found at https://orders.gpo.gov/FSA/FSAPubs.aspx?mode=bulk.
  • FSATECH Listserv

    An e-mail listserv through which schools can ask technical questions about Federal Student Aid systems, software, and mainframe products. Answers are provided by technical experts at FSA. For more information on subscribing to FSATECH, go to
    ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/services/fsatechsubscribe.html.
  • FSEOG

    Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program
  • FT

    Full Time
  • FTE

    Full-time Equivalent
  • Full-time Student

    An enrolled student carrying a full-time academic workload, as determined by the institution, under a standard applicable to all students enrolled in a particular educational program. The student’s workload may include any combination of courses, work, research, or special studies that the institution considers sufficient to classify the student as a full-time student. For a term-based program, the student’s workload may include repeating any coursework previously taken in the program but may not include more than one repetition of a previously passed course. There are individual minimum standards for programs
    • that measure progress in credit hours and use standard terms,

    • that measure progress in credit hours and do not use terms,

    • that measure progress in credit hours and use nonstandard terms,

    • that measure progress in clock hours,

    • composed of a series of courses or seminars,

    • offered in a cooperative education structure,

    • composed of correspondence coursework.

    (For additional details see 34 CFR 668.2.)
  • Full-time Teacher (in the TEACH Program)

    A teacher who meets the standard used by a state in defining full-time employment as a teacher. For an individual teaching in more than one school, the determination of full-time is based on the combination of all qualifying employment.
  • Fund (Federal Perkins Loan Fund)

    A fund established and maintained according to § 674.8(a).
  • Funds Available for Awards

    In the Campus-Based Programs, the principal that the amount available for awards is the federal share, plus the institutional match, minus the applicable Administrative Cost Allowance.
  • Fund-Specific Basis

    One of the ways a school can match its federal allocation in the FSEOG Program. In this approach, the school establishes an FSEOG account for federal program funds and deposits the required 25% qualified nonfederal matching share into the fund. The matching funds must be deposited at the same time the federal funds are deposited. Awards to FSEOG recipients are then made from this mixed fund. Schools using the fund-specific method must deposit their institutional match at the time they receive the federal share funds.
  • FWS

    Federal Work-Study Program
  • FY

    Fiscal Year
 
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