Federal Student Aid - IFAP
SFA Information for Financial Aid Professionals
U.S. Department of Education
PublicationDate: 2/1/98
ChapterTitle: Glossary
SectionTitle: Glossary


Ad Hoc ReportsSSCR reports that are not regularly scheduled. Schools must submit ad hoc reports with 30 days of when a student’s enrollment status changes unless an SSCR cycle is scheduled within 60 days. You can submit the changes online or in a Submittal File created using EDExpress or other software.
BatchA group of records assembled into one file for processing.
ByteThe unit of electronic storage that represents one character, such as a letter or number.
CICSCustomer Information Control System. CICS is IBM software used by NSLDS for online transactions.
CSCCustomer Service Center.
Data ProviderThe organization (guaranty agency, servicer, or school) that holds the active loan. Data providers are held accountable for the information submitted to NSLDS and are the only ones able to modify or update student identifiers in the student’s loan records.
DatabaseA structured collection of data.
DefermentA temporary period established by law that exempts a student from loan repayment. The most common deferment is for students who are enrolled in an eligible program of study on at least a half-time basis.
Detail RecordA record that contains user data (rather than file control data). In the SSCR files, the record that contains student enrollment information.
Federal Direct Loan ProgramThe William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This program provides direct financing and direct delivery of loan funds to eligible borrowers to cover the costs of postsecondary education. Direct Loans include the Federal Direct Stafford Loan, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program, the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program, and the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Program.
EBCDICExtended binary-coded decimal interchange code. A method of encoding data that is used primarily with mainframe computer systems.
EDUnited States Department of Education.
EDConnectSoftware provided by ED that lets you use the Title IV WAN Store-and-Forward Facility from a PC.
EDExpressA PC software product provided by ED that allows schools to manage Title IV student financial aid application data and SSCR files.
FDL, FDLP Federal Direct Loan, Federal Direct Loan Program. Formerly FDSL (Federal Direct Student Loan), FDSLP (Federal Direct Student Loan Program). See Direct Loan Program.
FFELFederal Family Education Loan. Loans that are part of FFEL include Federal Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized), PLUS, and loans made under the predecessor Guaranteed Student Loan Program.
FieldA data area used for a specific piece of information; the smallest structure in a record. For example, the area in a record that contains the student’s SSN is one field, and the area that contains the student’s first name is another field.
FileA group of records (such as student enrollment records) or a collection of data (such as an electronic document) that is given a name and treated as a unit.
Guaranty Agency (GA)An organization established by the Department of Education to administer key aspects of Title IV loan processing. In the SSCR process, GAs receive school enrollment information from NSLDS on a weekly basis and pass it on to the loan holder or servicer.
Grace PeriodThe six-month period immediately following a student’s enrollment during which interest continues to be paid by the federal government and the student does not have to begin repayment.
Header RecordA record at the beginning of a file that contains identifying information for the records that follow.
IAMIntegrated Application Menu. The IAM allows a Title IV WAN user to access various functions from one menu and eliminates the need to end and reestablish sessions with the WAN to switch from one function to another.
IdentifierA field containing data that identifies the record or student, often in conjunction with other identifiers.
MainframeA large computer to which other computers and computer terminals may be connected.
Megabyte (MB)A unit of measure equal to one million bytes. It is used to measure how much data can be stored on a PC hard drive or in a PC’s memory.
NET*CONNECTSoftware provided by ED that lets you connect directly to NSLDS from a PC for online processing.
NetworkA set of computers that are electronically connected.
NSLDSNational Student Loan Data System. As a Title IV automated system, NSLDS is a national database of information about loans and other financial aid awarded to students under Title IV.
OnlineDirect communication with a computer reached through telephone lines or another telecommunication line. When you are online to NSLDS through the Title IV WAN, you can read and update the actual data stored at the central NSLDS computer. There is no batch or delayed processing before the records are changed.
Operating SystemThe software (set of computer instructions) that controls the way a computer runs.
RAMRandom Access Memory. RAM is memory used to load and execute programs. The amount of RAM in your computer determines the number and size of programs that can run at one time. Some programs require more RAM than others to run.
RecordA group of related data stored electronically and treated as a unit.
Record LayoutThe sequence and definitions of fields in a record.
RosterA list of students that are on file with a guaranty agency as attending the school.
ServicerAn organization or company that performs SSCR processing on behalf of schools. While the processing is completed by the servicer, the school is still responsible for SSCR compliance.
SSCRStudent Status Confirmation Report, or Student Status Confirmation Reporting.
SSCR CycleOne complete pass through the SSCR process, from receipt of the SSCR Roster File through the receipt of the final Error Notification File showing that all records have been accepted.
SSNSocial Security Number.
Store-and-Forward FacilityTemporary storage of data for later transmission to the destination computer.
TelecommunicationThe transmission of data between computer systems or between computer systems and remote devices over a data transmission line, such as a telephone line.
Title IVA part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that authorized various student financial aid programs.
Title IV Wide Area Network (WAN)The Title IV WAN links thousands of network nodes, or destination points, across the U.S., its territories, and certain ED-designated foreign countries to the Title IV student aid processing and delivery system. Destination points communicate with the Title IV WAN using a PC or mainframe computer to transmit and receive data.
Trailer RecordA record at the end of a file that contains data related to the preceding Detail Records.
WANWide Area Network. A WAN is a set of widely separated computers that are electronically connected.
WorkstationA terminal or PC at which a user works; usually connected to a mainframe or a network.