Financial Aid Glossary and Terms

Term Definition
1098T The 1098-T Form may assist you in completing IRS Form 8863 – the form used for calculating the education tax credits that a taxpayer may claim as part of your tax return. You also have access to your RIT student account through eServices to obtain detailed account transactions for the calendar year. The 1098-T form can be obtained by reaching out to Student Financial Services, or call 585-475-6186.
Accelerated Degree Programs (BS/MS Programs) Dual-degree programs that allow a student to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in less time that it would normally take to complete each degree separately.
Appeal A formal request to have a financial aid administrator review your aid eligibility and possibly adjust your FAFSA figures or adjust your financial aid offer. For example, if you believe the financial information on your financial aid application does not reflect your family’s current ability to pay (e.g., because of death of a parent, unemployment or other unusual circumstances), you should contact our office and submit an appeal. Please note that we may require additional documentation of the special circumstances.
Assistantship A graduate assistantship is a salaried student employment opportunity for graduate students. Graduate assistants work a set number of hours per week and in return receive a tuition remission and, often times, a salary or stipend.
Billing Due Dates All billings are generated on or about the first of the month, due the 15th of the month. Email notifications are sent to students and authorized payers when bills are available. Students can add authorized payers through eServices.
Borrower The person who is legally responsible for paying back the loan.
Co-borrower/Co-signer/Endorser The person who is obligated to repay the debt if the primary borrower fails to meet the terms of repayment on the loan. Repayment activity is reported on both the borrower’s and co-borrower’s credit histories.
College Financing Plan The College Financing Plan is a consumer tool that participating institutions used to supplement the financial aid offer.
Cooperative Education (Co-op) Cooperative Education, or co-op, is a unique kind of education at RIT. As the keystone to an experiential education, a co-op gives you the opportunity to apply what you’re learning in the classroom through meaningful work experience.
Cost of Attendance (COA) The estimated total cost of attending an institution for one academic year. This amount may include the following:
  • Estimated charges for one academic year of tuition and fees
    • Tuition – Charges assessed for classes and/or other coursework
    • Fees – Charges assessed for other college services (e.g. technology access, recreational center use)
  • Housing – Includes residence hall charges for on-campus students or an estimate of rent and utilities for an off-campus student
  • Food – Includes the cost of a meal plan and/or an estimate of the costs of food prepared at home
  • Estimated transportation and parking costs
  • Estimated costs for books and supplies
  • Purchase or rental of a computer
  • Miscellaneous costs such as personal hygiene, laundry, and reasonable entertainment
  • Other costs specific to certain student circumstances related to attendance, such as dependent care during periods of class attendance or study, expenses related to disabilities, study abroad, educational loan fees, and others
  • Student health insurance costs
Credit Hour Credit hours are the form of measurement most universities use to indicate how many credits a course is worth, based on the time you will likely spend on the class each week. Students must be enrolled full time (12+ credit hours for undergraduate students and 9+ credit hours for graduate students) for institutional scholarships and grants to be applied to a students account. The credit hours required for federal financial aid eligibility do vary based on the federal program type. For more information visit
Default Default is failure to repay a loan outlined in the agreed signed promissory note. Most federal student loan default occurs when a payment isn't made in more than 270 days. It can result in legal consequences and a loss of eligibility for additional federal student aid.
Default Resolution (Rehabilitation) If you failed to make your payments on your federal student loan and now are in default, don’t let the consequences of default affect your financial future. One way to get out of default is to repay the defaulted loan in full, but that's not a practical option for most borrowers. The two main ways to get out of default are loan rehabilitation and loan consolidation. While loan rehabilitation takes several months to complete, you can quickly apply for loan consolidation. However, loan rehabilitation provides certain benefits that are not available through loan consolidation. One option for getting your loan out of default is loan rehabilitation. To start the loan rehabilitation process, you must contact your loan servicer. To rehabilitate a defaulted Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan, you must agree in writing to make nine voluntary, reasonable, and affordable monthly payments (as determined by your loan holder) within 20 days of the due date, and make all nine payments during a period of 10 consecutive months.
Deferment The temporary postponement of loan payments. Most federal loan programs allow students to defer their loans while they are in school at least half time. You can’t get a deferment if your loan is in default.
Delinquency Failure to make loan payments by due dates, as specified in the promissory note and in the repayment plan. Delinquency can lead to default as well as negatively affect credit history.
Direct Costs Charges included in the Cost of Attendance that the student/family pays directly to the college.
Educational Loan A form of financial aid that must be repaid. Educational loans have varying fees, interest rates, repayment terms, and/or borrower protections.
  • Federal Student Loan: Federal funds made available to the student that must be paid back by the student. Students must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to receive these loans. Repayment begins six months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time with options to delay payment available. To be eligible, the student must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program of study.
    • Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan: Loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. Undergraduate students with financial need can qualify for a subsidized loan. The government pays the interest on the loan while the student remains enrolled at least half time and during certain periods when the government allows deferment of repayment. There are annual limits on the amounts that may be borrowed, which vary by the student's academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.
    • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan: Loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. Undergraduate students and graduate students regardless of their need, qualify for an unsubsidized loan, provided they have filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Interest accrual begins immediately, and the student can choose to pay the interest while enrolled or upon entering repayment. There are annual limits on the amounts that may be borrowed, which vary by the student's academic year in school and the student's dependent or independent status.
    • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: Loan funds provided to graduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. This federal loan program allows graduate students with no adverse credit history to apply for a loan amount up to their Cost of Attendance each year, less any other financial aid received.
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan (PLUS): Loan funds provided to the parents of dependent undergraduate students by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. This federal loan program allows parents with no adverse credit history to apply for a loan amount up to the Cost of Attendance each year, less any financial aid received by the dependent student. Repayment of principal and interest begins immediately once the loan is fully disbursed with some options to delay payment available.
  • Alternative Educational Loan: A student or parent loan from a commercial, state-affiliated or institutional lender used to pay for up to the annual Cost of Attendance, less any financial aid received. Alternative educational loans have varying interest rates, fees and repayment options and usually require the applicant to be creditworthy, or have a creditworthy cosigner. Repayment generally begins immediately.
Eligible Non-Citizen

You are an eligible noncitizen if you are one of the following:

  • U.S. permanent resident, with a Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as an Alien Registration Receipt Card or "Green Card")
  • Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
  • Other eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Indefinite Parole," "Humanitarian Parole," or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant"
  • A citizen of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM).
Endorser An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS Loan if the borrower becomes delinquent in making payments or defaults on the loan. The endorser may not be the student on whose behalf a parent obtains a Direct PLUS Loan.
Enrollment Status Academic workload (or course load), as defined by the institution, in which a student is enrolled for a defined academic period. This normally relates to the number of credit hours or clock hours taken by a student during a given academic period (e.g. full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time, less-than-half-time).
Estimated Vocational Rehabilitation Assistance (Est. Voc. Rehab) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) provides services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing or to those who have disabilities and who need help to qualify for or to find a job. VR may assist with vocational training or college. VR services may include financial assistance, employment planning, counseling, transportation, and job placement assistance. A VR counselor, who determines eligibility for services, is assigned to each individual requesting assistance. States have various names for VR, and services vary depending on need and the state in which a student lives.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) An eligibility index that college financial aid staff use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school. The EFC is calculated according to a formula specified in law and is based upon the information provided by the student and their family on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Federal Pell Grant A federal grant provided by the federal government to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have an Expected
Family Contribution below a certain threshold established by the federal government. The Pell Grant award amount is prorated based on Enrollment Status.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) A federal grant awarded by the institution to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) A federal program offered and administered by the institution that provides opportunity for part-time employment to students with financial need to help pay their educational expenses. Students are responsible for finding qualified employment. Funds are paid out through a paycheck, as earned.
Financial Awareness Counseling Financial awareness counseling provides tools and information to help you understand your financial aid and assist in managing your finances. Topics include: Understand Your Loans, Manage Your Spending, Plan to Repay, Avoid Default and Make Finances a Priority.
Financial Need The difference between student’s cost of attendance and the expected family contribution. It is used in determining the student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid.
FSA ID The FSA ID is a username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms.
Gift Aid Funds awarded to the student that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain criteria, such as a service requirement that is specified as a condition of the gift aid or not completing the period for which the aid was awarded. Gift aid can include awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, awards, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based upon many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic, musical, and/or theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups, and/or career aspirations.
Grace Period The grace period is a set period of time before loan repayment begins. This period begins after a student graduates, drops below half-time enrollment, during a temporary leave of absence or discontinues the pursuit of a degree program.
Graduate PLUS loan Graduate students are considered independent for federal aid purposes, so if there is need for additional funding the federal Direct PLUS Loan is now an option for the student to apply for as the borrower. These loans are unsubsidized and based on credit approval, so it is possible that a co-signer will be required.
Grant Gift aid that is typically based on financial need.
HEOP The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) provides a broad range of services to New York State residents who, because of educational and economic circumstances, would otherwise be unable to attend a postsecondary educational institution. Each HEOP institution must ensure that HEOP students are provided with sufficient academic support services, tuition assistance, supplemental financial assistance, and full need packaging to enable them to successfully complete the institutional components required for graduation.
Indirect Costs Estimated expenses in the Cost of Attendance that are not paid directly to the institution.
Leave of Absence (LOA) A leave of absence is a temporary separation from the university. Students on leave of absence retain their matriculated student status and upon return to the university, complete all curriculum and program requirements that were in place at the time of matriculation into their program of study.
Loan A type of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest.
Loan Disclosure Statement A document that provides a loan borrower with important loan-specific information, such as the anticipated loan disbursement amounts, the anticipated loan disbursement dates, and the amount of the borrower's loan fee. It is provided to the borrower before or at the time of the first disbursement of a loan
Loan Entrance Counseling Entrance counseling explains the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of borrowing a Direct Loan. Entrance Counseling can be completed online at
Loan Exit Counseling

Exit counseling provides important information to prepare you to repay your federal student loan(s). If you have received a subsidized, unsubsidized or PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or the FFEL Program, you must complete exit counseling each time you:

  • Drop below half-time enrollment
  • Graduate
  • Leave school

Note: The FFEL Program ended June 30, 2010 and no new loans have been made under the FFEL Program after that date.

Loan Limits - Aggregate Aggregate loan limits detail the maximum amount that the Department of Education will let a student borrow in federal loans for their undergraduate and graduate study. Once a student reaches that limit, the student is no longer eligible to receive additional federal loans. Dependent undergraduate students: $31,000, of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized. Independent undergraduate student: $57,500, of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized. Graduate/professional $138,500, of which no more than $65,000 can be subsidized.
Loan Limits - Annual Annual loan limits detail the maximum amount that the Department of Education will let a student borrow in federal loans each academic year. The year level is determined by each institution based on the credits earned. Dependent first-year students (0-26 earned credits) $5,500, of which no more than $3,500 can be subsidized. Independent first-year students (0-26 earned credits) $9,500 of which no more than $3,500 can be subsidized. Dependent Sophomore (27-55 earned credits) $6,500, of which no more than $4,500 can be subsidized. Independent Sophomore (27-55 earned credits) $10,500, of which no more than $4,500 can be subsidized. Dependent Junior/Senior (56+ earned credits) $7,500, of which no more than $5,500 can be subsidized. Independent Junior/Senior (56+ credits earned) $12,500 of which no more than $5,500 can be subsidized. Students enrolled in Certificate Programs are limited to the First-year and Sophomore loan levels.
Loan Origination Fees An origination fee is a percentage of your loan amount charged by the lender for the processing of your loan. Federal student loans have an origination fee; therefore, the amount you may receive as a disbursement may be slightly lower than the amount you accept.
Loan Period A loan period is the academic year or portion of an academic year (for example, a single semester) that the loan is requested for.
Loan Servicer Your loan servicer will work with you on repayment options (such as income-driven repayment plans and loan consolidation) and will assist you with other tasks related to your federal student loans. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.
Master Promissory Note (MPN) The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). Complete the MPN at
Need The student's Cost of Attendance minus their Expected Family Contribution, or Family Financial Responsibility (if applicable).
Net Price (Net Price Calculator) Amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all Gift Aid is applied. Net price can be covered through a variety of sources, including: savings, income, and education loans. If you are a first-time first-year student visit our Net Price Calculator to obtain an estimate at
NYS AA Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship American Airlines Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship provides access to a college education for children, spouses, and financial dependents of individuals who died as a direct result of American Airlines Flight 587’s crash in Rockaway, Queens, New York on November 12, 2001.
NYS Academic Excellence Awarded to outstanding graduates from registered New York State high schools. Awards are based on student grades in certain Regents exams. For up to five years of undergraduate study in New York State.
NYS Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (AIMS) The New York State Achievement and Investment in Merit Scholarship (NY-AIMS) provides high school graduates who excel academically with $500 in merit-based scholarships to support their cost of attendance at any college or university located in New York State.
NYS Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) The NYS Aid for Part-time Study (APTS) program provides grant assistance for eligible part-time students enrolled in approved undergraduate studies.
NYS Aid to Native Americans Provides aid to enrolled members of tribes listed on the official roll of New York State tribes or to the child of an enrolled member of a New York State tribe. For study in New York State.
NYS Flight 3407 Memorial Scholarship Provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of individuals killed as a direct result of the crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 on February 12, 2009.
NYS Memorial Scholarship for Families of Deceased Firefighters, Volunteer Firefighters, Police Officers, Peace Officers, and Emergency Medical Service Workers Provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of deceased firefighters, volunteer firefighters, police officers, peace officers, and emergency medical service workers who have died as the result of injuries sustained in the line of duty in service to the State of New York. For study in New York State.
NYS Military Enhanced Recognition Incentive and Tribute - MERIT Scholarship Provides financial aid to children, spouses and financial dependents of members of the United States Armed Forces or state organized militia who, at any time on or after August 2, 1990, while New York State residents, died or became severely and permanently disabled while performing their military duties, whether in combat or not.
NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program The NYS STEM Incentive Program provides awards for full-time study up to the annual tuition charged to NYS resident students attending an undergraduate program at the State University of New York (SUNY), or actual tuition charged, whichever is less, for the top 10 percent of students in each New York State high school if they pursue a STEM degree in an associates or bachelor degree program and agree to work in a STEM field in New York State for 5 years after graduation.
NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) helps eligible New York State residents pay tuition at approved schools in New York State. TAP is one of the grants, scholarships and awards programs administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).
NYS Veterans Tuition Award Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, or other eligible combat veterans matriculated at an undergraduate or graduate degree-granting institution or in an approved vocational training program in New York State are eligible for awards for full or part-time study.
NYS World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship Guarantees access to a college education for the families and financial dependents of the victims who died or were severely and permanently disabled in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the resulting rescue and recovery efforts.
Parent PLUS loan Direct PLUS Loans for parents are unsubsidized loans made to parents of dependent undergraduate students. If a parent is not approved for a PLUS loan, the student may be eligible to receive additional unsubsidized loans. *A parent loan is not transferable to the student once repayment begins.
Payment Plan Installment payment plans are offered on a per semester basis. Payment plans are calculated based on the balance reflected on the student account at the time of the request and dividing it over the total months remaining in the term. Typically, these plans consist of 4 payments per semester with a nominal fee for administration and are available for the fall and spring semesters.
Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of funding. Since the amount of a scheduled Federal Pell Grant award you can receive each award year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.
PLUS Loan Credit Counseling PLUS Credit Counseling will help students and parents understand the obligations associated with borrowing a PLUS loan and assist them in making careful decisions about taking on student loan debt. PLUS Credit Counseling is required if the U.S. Department of Education has informed you that you have an adverse credit history and you have: Obtained an endorser or documented extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education.
Tuition Prepayment Plan The Tuition Prepayment Plan is available to matriculated full-time undergraduate students who are not receiving any form of need- based, RIT administered grant; students receiving only merit-based scholarships from RIT or local organizations are eligible to participate. As a means of stabilizing tuition expenses, RIT will accept a prepayment from participants which will cover up to 18 credit hours per semester of undergraduate tuition charges for the duration of the option selected. The plan must always begin with a Fall academic term. Other institutional charges, such as room and board, applicable student fees, tuition overload charges and incremental tuition (above the standard RIT tuition rates) and program fees related to Study Abroad Programs are not covered under this agreement.
Program Level Level of the degree-granting program in which a student is enrolled. RIT program levels include: undergraduate (students seeking an associate degree, or a baccalaureate degree) or graduate (students working on a master's degree, graduate certificate, or doctorate). The amounts and types of financial aid for which a student is eligible is determined, in part, by their program level.
Rescission Period (Alternative Educational Loans) Due to Federal Regulations (TILA), Private Alternative Loans have a 10 day right of rescission (cancelation) once the loan has been approved and before the disbursement can be requested.
Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) ROTC programs assist students through college in exchange for military service after graduation. The ROTC program provides world-class leadership development, as well as valuable team building and networking opportunities. It also opens the door to specialized training with your local unit, which could include airborne, air assault, medical training, and other technical skills.
RIT Employment Each year, there are over 7,000 students employed on the RIT campus. Students from first year and beyond gain work experience right here on campus. RIT’s fosters a strong tradition of experiential education through student employment on-campus. No matter the opportunity, your experience will develop vital skills and a strong work ethic to prepare you for your full-time search. RIT does not assign or place students into positions. Students are expected to find, apply, and interview for job openings on their own. Funds earned from working can be used to assist a student in paying for educational costs.
Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) To be eligible for federal financial aid students need to demonstrate that they are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward meeting the requirements of their degree program. Federal aid sources are subsidized, unsubsidized Direct Loans, Parent PLUS Loans, Graduate PLUS Loans, Pell Grant, SEOG, and Work-Study. Students must maintain the following SAP requirements to remain eligible for federal financial aid:
1. Semester Grade Point Average (GPA) must be at least a 2.0 or greater 2. Cumulative GPA must be at least a 2.0 or greater 3. Pace (total completed credits divided by total attempted credits) must be 67% or greater
Scholarship Gift aid that is typically based on merit, such as, academic excellence, talent, affiliation with various groups, or career aspirations or a combination of merit and need.
Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Provided to New York State residents interested in high quality opportunities in community service.
Self-help An institution's expectation that a student contribute toward their education using a combination of loans, student employment such as Federal Work-Study, and/or summer savings.
Student Aid Report (SAR) The Student Aid Report is a paper or electronic document that gives basic information about your eligibility for federal aid. It also includes your answers to FAFSA® questions. School(s) listed will use the information to determine your eligibility for financial aid.
Subsidized Federal Direct Loan Federal student loan, for which the government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school and during the 6 month grace period. This loan is awarded to students based on financial need.
Title IV Funds Federal financial aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and regulated and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Examples of Title IV aid include, but are not limited to, Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized/PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).
Tuition Remission Tuition remission are non-taxable payments made to a graduate student for qualified educational expenses (e.g., tuition and fees). Tuition remission (i.e. discount on estimated tuition charges) associated with being hired as a graduate assistant. The percent of the tuition discount is related to the number of hours worked per week as a condition of the assistantship appointment.
Unmet Need The student's Cost of Attendance, minus their Expected Family Contribution or Family
Financial Responsibility (if applicable), less any need-based aid received, such as Gift Aid, Federal Work-Study or Federal
Direct Subsidized Loans.
Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) The specific pattern the U.S. Department of Education uses to select students who have received a Federal Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans at multiple institutions over the past four academic/award years. The U.S. Department of Education requires the institution to determine whether students attend an institution long enough to receive the Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct loan, leave without completing the enrollment period, enroll at another institution and then repeat this pattern of remaining just long enough to collect another Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct loan without having earned any academic credit.
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan Federal student loan, for which the government does not pay the interest. The borrower is responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized loan from the date the loan is disbursed, even while the student is still in school. Students may avoid paying the interest while they are in school by capitalizing the interest, which increases the loan amount. Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and may be used to finance the family contribution.
Verification A federally mandated process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by selected applicants on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To complete the verification process, the student, their parent(s), or spouse, if applicable, are required to provide certain documents to the school for review. If the documentation the student provides the institution doesn't match what was reported on the FAFSA, verification may result in changes to the student's financial aid eligibility, and/or financial aid offers.
Veteran Educational Benefits Veteran education benefits help Veterans, service members, and their qualified family members with needs like paying college tuition, finding the right school or training program, and getting career counseling. Qualified Veterans and dependents generally receive military benefits from within the following Chapters: 30, 31, 33 (Post 9/11), 35, or 1606. In addition, RIT offers Yellow Ribbon funding to qualified individuals.
Yellow Ribbon Program RIT is proud to be a partner with the US Department of Veteran Affairs in administering the Yellow Ribbon program, providing qualified veterans and dependents 100% tuition coverage per standard academic year for Undergraduate and Graduate degree programs. RIT will contribute up to an additional $13,184 per academic year and the VA will match dollar for dollar. These combined contributions, in addition to the $24,476.79 Post 9/11 benefit, provides students with up to $50,844.79 in funding towards RIT tuition, per academic year. Total Contributions cannot exceed cost of tuition.* Eligible students must be approved for Post 9/11 benefits at the 100% tier (active duty service members and their spouses are not eligible).