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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.


  • 90/10 Rule

    The requirement that a proprietary school must derive at least 10% of its revenues for each fiscal year from sources other than the FSA programs or be subject to sanctions.

    National Association of College and University Business Officers
  • NAPD

    Net Accepted and Posted Disbursements

    National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators

    National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs
  • National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA)

    The operational committee of medical experts established by the Department to determine whether the medical school accrediting standards used in other countries are comparable to those applied to medical schools in the United States, for purposes of evaluating the eligibility of accredited foreign graduate medical schools to participate in the title IV, HEA programs.
  • National Credit Bureau or Nationwide Consumer Reporting Agency

    A credit bureau with a service area that encompasses more than a single region of the country. Any one of the national credit bureaus with which the Department has an agreement.
  • National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (NEISP) Program

    The scholarship program authorized by Chapter 2 of subpart 1 of Title IV-A of the HEA.
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology

    A measurement standards laboratory which is a nonregulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. The institute's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and institutional competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life.
  • National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant) Program

    A previously offered grant program under which grants were awarded during the third and fourth academic years of study to eligible financially needy undergraduate students pursuing eligible majors in the physical, life, or computer sciences, mathematics, technology, or engineering, or foreign languages determined to be critical to the national security of the United States.
  • National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

    The Department of Education's central database for student financial aid. It contains student-level data received from schools, the Direct Loan Program, the Pell Grant Program, and other ED programs and offices. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of federal student aid loans and Pell grants and tracks them through their entire cycle. Located on the web at
  • Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agency

    An agency or association that the Department recognizes as a reliable authority to determine the quality of education or training offered by an institution or a program offered by an institution. The Department recognizes these agencies and associations under the provisions of 34 CFR part 602 and publishes a list of the recognized agencies in the Federal Register.
  • NCES

    National Center for Educational Statistics

    National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation
  • NCUA

    National Credit Union Association
  • NDSL

    National Direct (or Defense) Student Loan Program
  • Need-based Employment

    Employment provided by an institution itself or by another entity to a student who has demonstrated to the institution or the entity (through standards or methods it establishes) a financial need for the earnings from that employment for the purpose of defraying educational costs of attendance for the award year for which the employment is provided.
  • Negative Assurance

    A statement of what the CPA does not know as opposed to what the CPA believes (positive assurance) that is, a statement that nothing came to his attention that caused him to believe that the accounts examined did not meet a specified standard. A statement that the CPA was "not aware of material modifications that should be made to financial statements for them to conform with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles" is negative assurance.
  • Negotiated Rulemaking (Neg. Reg)

    Section 492 of the Higher Education Act (HEA) requires that, before publishing any proposed regulations to implement programs under Title IV of the HEA, the Department obtain public involvement in the development of those proposed regulations. Negotiated Rulemaking is the process the Department uses to obtain input from organizations and groups that represent the interests significantly affected by the proposed regulations.

    National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (Program)
  • Net Accepted and Posted Disbursements

    Total actual disbursements [Disbursement Release Indicator (DRI) = True] that have been accepted and posted on the COD System plus accepted actual disbursement adjustments (upward or downward).
  • Net Assets

    The current market value at the time of application of the assets (not including a home or farm) minus the outstanding liabilities or indebtedness against the assets.
  • Net Drawdowns or Payments

    Cash Receipts (funds drawn through G5) minus Refunds of Cash (funds returned through G5) minus Returns of Cash (drawdowns rejected by the school's bank). This figure will also include drawdown adjustments.
  • Net Income Ratio

    A measure of a college's profitability, used when calculating the composite score. The net income ratio is expressed as a fraction with the income before taxes as the numerator and the total revenues as the denominator.
  • Net Price Calculator

    An online tool providing estimated net price information to current and prospective students and based, as much as possible, on their individual circumstances. Net price is defined as the cost of attendance minus the average yearly grant and scholarship aid, and all Title IV schools that enroll full-time, first-time degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduate students must have on their website a net price calculator.
  • NFC

    National Finance Center
  • NIST

    National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Nominal (or Face or Par) Value or Amount

    The amount of a bond, note, mortgage, or other security as stated in the instrument itself, exclusive of interest or dividend accumulations. The nominal amount may or may not coincide with the price at which the instrument was first sold, its present market value, or its redemption price. Often referred to as the stated value.
  • Noncampus Building or Property

    Any building or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the institution; or any building or property owned or controlled by an institution that is used in direct support of, or in relation to, the institution's educational purposes, is frequently used by students, and is not within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area of the institution.
  • Noncash Contribution

    The paying of a school's share of a student's Federal Work-Study wages through a contribution of services or equipment—for example, tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies.
  • Non-conformance (in financial reporting)

    A condition in which financial management systems do not substantially conform to financial systems requirements. Financial management systems include both financial and related (or mixed) systems.
  • Non-Credential Teacher Certification Program Coursework

    Coursework for which a school does not award an academic credential for a course that is required for teacher certification or recertification in the state where the student plans to teach.
  • Nonfederal Audit

    A school financial statement and/ or compliance audit conducted by an independent public accountant (as defined by the audit standards of the U.S. General Accounting Office) who has been hired by the school. Also called an Independent Audit or an OMB Circular A-133 audit.
  • Non-Federal Entity

    A state, local government, Indian tribe, institution of higher education (IHE), or nonprofit organization that carries out a Federal award as a recipient or subrecipient.
  • Nonfederal Share of FWS (Institutional Share)

    The share of a student's wages paid by a school from school or other eligible funds. In general, a school must contribute (match) 25% of the student's total wages. There are exceptions for employment
    • in civic education and community service projects;

    • as a reading tutor for preschool-age children or elementary school children;

    • as a mathematics tutor for children in elementary school through ninth grade;

    • in a family literacy projects that provide services to families with preschool or elementary age children; and

    • at a private nonprofit organization or a federal, state, or local public agency.

    A school may also pay the nonfederal share with noncash contributions.

  • Nonfederal Share of FSEOG

    The share of FSEOG grants made to students from the school's own resources. In general, this "match" must equal 25% of the total FSEOG awards made to students. The school's resources may include the following:
    • institutional scholarships and grants;

    • waivers of tuition or fees;

    • the nonfederal portion of state scholarships and grants; and

    • funds from foundations or other charitable organizations.

    The types of nonfederal FSEOG matching include the individual recipient basis, aggregate basis, and fund-specific basis.

  • Non-Material Weaknesses (in financial reporting)

    Control problems that can be corrected at the Principal Office level without the approval or attention of the next higher level of management.
  • Nonprofit Institution (Domestic)

    An institution that
    • is owned and operated by one or more nonprofit corporations or associations, no part of the net earnings of which benefits any private shareholder or individual;

    • is legally authorized to operate as a nonprofit organization by each state in which it is physically located; and

    • is determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to be an organization to which contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Nonprofit Institution (Foreign)

    An institution that is owned and operated only by one or more nonprofit corporations or associations; and
    • if a recognized tax authority of the institution's home country is recognized by the Department for purposes of making determinations of an institution's nonprofit status for title IV purposes, is determined by that tax authority to be a nonprofit educational institution; or

    • if no recognized tax authority of the institution's home country is recognized by the Department for purposes of making determinations of an institution's nonprofit status for title IV purposes, the foreign institution demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Department that it is a nonprofit educational institution; or

    • is determined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to be an organization to which contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
      Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)).

  • Nonprofit Organization

    An organization owned and operated by one or more nonprofit corporations or associations where no part of the organization's net earnings benefits, or may lawfully benefit, any private shareholder or entity. An organization may show that it is nonprofit by meeting the provisions of § 75.51 of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), 34 CFR 75.51.
  • Nonstandard Term

    Academic or payment period in which classes are expected to begin and end within fixed starting and ending dates but the terms are not the length of standard terms (14-17 weeks long).
  • Nonterm

    An academic or payment period in which classes do not to begin and end within a fixed dates. A program measuring progress in clock-hours is always considered a nonterm program. A credit-hour program is considered nonterm if it has:
    • courses that do not begin and end within a set period of time;

    • courses that overlap terms;

    • self-paced and independent study courses that overlap terms; or

    • sequential courses that do not begin and end within a term.

  • Normal Time

    The amount of time necessary for a student to complete all requirements for a degree or certificate according to the institution's catalog. This is typically four years for a bachelor's degree in a standard term-based institution, two years for an associate degree in a standard term-based institution, and the various scheduled times for certificate programs.
  • Notice

    Notification about the availability of information an institution is required to disclose and provide to an individual on a one-to-one basis through an appropriate mailing or publication, including direct mailing through the U.S. Postal Service, campus mail, or electronic mail. Posting on an Internet website or an Intranet website does not constitute a notice.
  • Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)

    An announcement of an agency's plan to draft regulations that solve problems and accomplish goals and to give interested persons an opportunity to submit comments to improve the final regulations.
  • NPRM

    Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
  • NRM

    Negotiated Rulemaking
  • NSC

    National Student Clearinghouse
  • NSF

    Non-Sufficient Funds

    National Student Loan Data System

    National Student Loan Data System Professional Access Website
  • NSLDS Match Flag

    The result on a SAR/ISIR of the match with NSLDS for identifying potential default or overpayment issues in the applicant's financial aid history.
  • NSLDS Postscreening

    The process through which NSLDS assists schools to detect significant changes to a student's financial aid history that may affect a student's aid eligibility. If NSLDS detects such a change, it will inform CPS. CPS generates a new ISIR and a new NSLDS transaction number.
  • Number in College

    The number of persons in the household size that are enrolled at least half time in a degree or certificate program at a Title IV-eligible postsecondary school. Number in college is used in the EFC calculation and is subject to verification.
  • Nurse

    A licensed practical nurse, a registered nurse, or other individual who is licensed by the appropriate State agency to provide nursing services.
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