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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.


  • G

    Dear Colleague Letter designation for guaranty agency letters (published before January 2013)
  • G5

    Formerly known as GAPS, this system is used by Federal Student Aid to process school-specific obligations and to make payments (drawdowns) against those obligations. G5 communicates with the COD system through FMS. G5 is part of EDCAPS and interfaces directly with U.S. Treasury's Federal Reserve System. G5 is the system through which schools request and return Federal Student Aid funds.
  • G5 External Award Activity Report (Activity Report)

    A statement for a school's G5 awards that displays both cumulative and detailed information on drawdown activity, refunds, adjustments, available balances, and authorization changes for each award.
  • G5 Hotline

    Department of Education call center responsible for assisting G5 customers. The hotline phone number is 888-336-8930, the email address is
  • G5 Online Guide for the G5 Payment System

    An online guide for the G5 system to assist Department staff, applicants and recipients with G5 regarding the grant management and payment activities and other operational activities of G5.
  • G-845 Form

    This form is completed by the FAA and sent to DHS with a student's eligible noncitizen documentation to support a claim of being an eligible noncitizen for Title IV purposes, after primary and secondary electronic verification has failed. The G-845 can only be used after primary and secondary confirmation with DHS has been performed.
  • GA

    Guaranty Agency
  • GAAP

    Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
  • GAAS

    Generally Accepted Auditing Standards

    Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards
  • Gainful Employment Programs

    All nondegree educational programs offered by public and nonprofit institutions and virtually all academic programs offered by proprietary institutions of higher education. These programs prepare students for "gainful employment in a recognized occupation."
  • GAN

    Grant Award Number
  • GAO

    Government Accountability Office (formerly General Accounting Office)
  • Garnishment

    The withholding of an individual's funds by an entity for the payment of a debt in accordance with a court order or other legal or equitable procedure. No FSA grant, loan, or work assistance (or property traceable to that assistance) is subject to garnishment or attachment except to satisfy a debt owed to the Department.
  • GAS

    Government Auditing Standards
  • GASB

    Governmental Accounting Standards Board
  • GE

    Gainful Employment

    Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduates Program
  • GED

    General Education Development certificate or General Equivalency Diploma. Equivalent of a high school diploma.
  • GEN

    Dear Colleague Letter designation for general letters
  • General Fund

    Accounts for receipts not earmarked by law for a specific purpose.
  • General Journal

    A book of original entry that requires that the account being debited and the account being credited be listed along with the respective amounts. Because of accounting software and special journals there are relatively few entries made into the general journal.
  • General Ledger

    That part of the accounting system which contains the balance sheet and income statement accounts used for recording transactions.
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

    Uniform minimum standards of and guidelines to financial accounting and reporting. Currently, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), and the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) are authorized to establish these principles.
  • Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS)

    Standards governing the conduct of external audits by CPAs, as determined by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the AICPA.
  • Gift Aid

    Financial assistance, such as grants and scholarships, that do not need to be repaid.
  • GOCO

    Government owned, contractor operated
  • Going Concern Assumption

    The accounting guideline that allows the readers of financial statements to assume that the organization being audited will continue in operation long enough to realize its investment in assets through operations (as opposed to sale). An audit statement must note an opinion if the accountant performing the audit believes that the assumption is in doubt.
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO)

    Independent, non-partisan agency that assists Congress in investigating and reporting on government's effectiveness in using public funds.
  • Government Auditing Standards or Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS)

    Commonly referred to as the "Yellow Book," it contains standards for audits of government organizations, programs, activities, and functions, and of governmental funds received by contractors, nonprofit organizations, and other non-government organizations. Revisions are issued as required by the Comptroller General of the United States.
  • Governmental Accounting Standards (GAS)

    Official promulgations by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and, if not superseded, part of generally accepted accounting principles applicable to state and local governmental entities.
  • Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)

    Group authorized by the accounting profession to establish generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) applicable to state and local governmental entities.
  • GPA

    Grade Point Average
  • GPO

    Government Printing Office
  • Grace Period

    A period of time following a borrower's period of enrollment and preceding the repayment period start date for a loan during which the borrower is not required to make payments.
  • Grade Level

    Classification of a student by academic year at a school; e.g. freshman, sophomore, or first-year, second-year, etc. A student's grade level is measured according to standards established by the school. Grade level helps determine a student's annual loan limit.
  • Grade-Level Progression

    A student's movement through their academic program for purposes of determining when a borrower becomes eligible for a new annual loan limit.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA)

    A cumulative measure of a student's grades over time where the grades have been converted to a numerical scale.
  • Graduate or Professional Student

    A student who
    • is not receiving federal student aid as an undergraduate student for the same period of enrollment;

    • is enrolled in a program or course above the baccalaureate level or is enrolled in a program leading to a professional degree;

    • has completed the equivalent of at least three years of full-time study either prior to entrance into his or her program or as part of the program itself.

  • Grant Award Number

    Unique, 11-character "number" that identifies each grant award issued by a specific program office to a specific grantee. All funds are requested (and returned) using the Grant Award Number. The following is an example of a Grant Award Number and an explanation of the parts that make up the number: P031B151234
    • P—Program Office issuing the award

    • 031—Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numeric suffix of the program

    • B—Alphabetic subprogram identifier

    • 15—The trailing year in the academic year for DL and TEACH and the beginning year in the academic year for Pell and all other awards.

    • 1234—Unique identifier

  • Grantee

    An entity (not a person) that applies for and receives a grant award from the Department. The grantee is responsible for ensuring the grant is administered in accordance with program regulations.
  • GSA

    General Services Administration
  • Guaranty Agency

    A state or private nonprofit organization that has an agreement with the Department under which it will administer a loan guarantee program under the Act.
  • GUI

    Graphical User Interface
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