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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.


  • 150 Percent Limit (on Direct Unsubsidized Loans)

    New borrowers on or after July 1, 2013, cannot receive Direct Subsidized Loans for a period of time (measured in academic years) that exceeds 150 percent of the published length of their program of study.
  • Obligated Balances

    The net amount of obligations in a given account for which payment has not yet been made.
  • Obligation

    Binding agreements that will result in outlays immediately or in the future.
  • Obligations

    Amounts of orders placed, contracts awarded, services received, and other transactions occurring during a given period that would require payments during the same or a future period.
  • OC

    Object Class/Objective Classification
  • OCFO

    Office of Chief Financial Officer
  • OCIO

    Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • OCR

    Office of Civil Rights
  • Office of the General Counsel (OGC)

    An office within the Department of Education. OGC provides legal services to all units within of the Department.
  • Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

    An office within the Department of Education. Within the office, Investigation Services (IS) is responsible for all investigative activities relating to the Department's programs and operations and the prevention and detection of fraud and abuse in these programs and operations.
  • Office of Postsecondary Education Identification Number (OPEID)

    An eight-digit number assigned to an institution upon approval to participate in Federal Student Aid programs. It is used throughout multiple systems to identify a school entity (the first six digits) and its individual locations (the last two digits).
  • Official Cohort Default Rate

    The official cohort is the cohort default rate the Department publishes for an institution under 34 CFR 668.186. Cohort default rates calculated for the FFEL and Direct Loan programs are not related in any way to cohort default rates that are calculated for the Federal Perkins Loan Program.
  • Official Reporting Date

    The date on which an institution must report fall enrollment data to either the state, its board of trustees or governing board, or some other external governing body.
  • OGC

    Office of General Council
  • OHA

    Office of Hearings and Appeals
  • OIG

    Office of Inspector General
  • OM

    Office of Management
  • OMB

    Office of Management and Budget
  • On-Campus Student Housing Facility

    A dormitory or other residential facility for students that is located on an institution's campus, as defined in § 668.46(a).
  • On-Time Payment

    A federal student loan payment made within 15 days of the scheduled due date.
  • One-Academic-Year Training Program

    An educational program that is at one academic year in length as defined under 34 CFR 668.2.
  • One-Third of an Academic Year

    A period that is one-third of an academic year as determined by an institution. At a minimum, one-third of an academic year must be a period that begins on the first day of classes and ends on the last day of classes or examinations and is a minimum of 10 weeks of instructional time during which, for an undergraduate educational program, a full-time student is expected to complete at least eight semester or trimester hours or 12 quarter hours in an educational program whose length is measured in credit hours or 300 clock hours in an educational program whose length is measured in clock hours.
  • For an institution whose academic year has been reduced under § 668.3, one-third of an academic year is the pro-rated equivalent, as measured in weeks and credit or clock hours, of at least one-third of the institution's academic year.

  • OOD

    Object Oriented Development
  • OPD

    Operations Performance Division
  • OPE

    Office of Postsecondary Education (in the U.S. Department of Education)
  • OPE-ID

    Office of Postsecondary Education Identifier
  • Origination

    The process through which and point at which a school creates and certifies a loan.
  • Origination Fee

    The amount a borrower is required to pay the Department to help defray the costs of subsidizing a Direct Loan.
  • Other Financial Assistance

    For purposes of determining a student's eligibility for funds Title IV, estimated financial assistance includes all scholarships, grants, loans, or other assistance known to the institution at the time the determination of the student's need is made, including and national service educational awards or post-service benefits under Title I of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12511 et seq.), but excluding veterans' education benefits as defined in subsection (c). In general, tuition prepayment plans shall reduce the cost of attendance by the amount of the prepayment, and shall not be considered estimated financial assistance. For a detailed explanation of the components included in Other Financial Assistance see the Higher Education Act, as amended, Part F, Section 480(j).
  • Other Information Standard in Auditor's Report

    Information other than the audited financial statements and the related auditor's report, included in a company's annual report. The other information standard requires an auditor to focus on the responsibility to identify material inconsistencies between the other information and the company's audited financial statements and on the identification of material misstatements of fact, based on relevant evidence obtained and conclusions reached during the audit.
  • Outlay

    The issuance of checks, disbursement of cash, or electronic transfer of funds made to liquidate an obligation.
  • Output Document

    The Student Aid Report (SAR), Electronic Student Aid Report (ESAR), or other document or automated data generated by the Department of Education's central processing system or Multiple Data Entry processing system as the result of the processing of data provided in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Overaward

    Amount by which a student's aid package exceeds his or her need. An overaward exists whenever a
    • school awards aid either to a student who is ineligible for a specific program or to a student who is ineligible for any FSA program assistance;

    • student's award in an individual program exceeds the regulatory maximum, e.g., lifetime limit for Pell Grant, annual or aggregate loan limits, annual limit on Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) awards, or a Pell award based on the wrong payment schedule or enrollment status;

    • student's aid package exceeds his or her need (including when the student's Expected Family Contribution [EFC] is revised upward after initial packaging);

    • student's award exceeds his or her cost of attendance (COA); and

    • student is receiving a Pell Grant or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant at multiple schools for the same period.

  • Overpayment

    Funds disbursed to a student in excess of his or her need. That is, an overpayment exists when some or all of the funds that make up an overaward have been disbursed to the student.
  • Oversight Agency for Audit

    The federal awarding agency that provides the predominant amount of funding directly to a non-Federal entity not assigned a cognizant agency for audit. When there is no direct funding, the federal awarding agency that is the predominant source of pass-through funding must assume the oversight responsibilities.
  • Ownership Interest

    The possession of substantially all of the benefits and risks incident to ownership.
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