Glossary of Terms

Our glossary of financial aid terms hopefully will help inform you as to the various terminology used within the financial aid community. Use the alpha distribution below to navigate to the definition of a specific term.


Academic Year

Traditionally defined as being composed of the fall and spring semesters, yet may also include a summer semester at either the start or the end of these periods.

Accounts Receivable

The billing department of Tulane University. Each student has an accounts receivable account to which charges (tuition, fees, room, board, etc.) and payments (financial aid distributions, personal payments, credits, etc.) are posted.


The Tulane Financial Aid Office often recommends that students complete appropriate financial aid addendums, which serve as an ancillary application to assure accurate processing of aid. A Summer Addendum is always required for summer aid processing.

Adjusted Gross Income

One’s adjusted gross income (often simply referred to as AGI) generally represents the amount reported on a federal income tax return after reducing (adjusting) one’s total income by all allowable expenses.

Adverse Credit History

One of the eligibility requirements to receive a Direct PLUS Loan is that the applicant must NOT have an adverse credit history. For purposes of qualifying for a Direct PLUS Loan, you’re considered to have an adverse credit history if:

  • You have one or more debts with a total combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report, or that have been placed in collection or charged off (written off) during the two years preceding the date of the credit report; or
  • During the five years preceding the date of the credit report, you have been subject to a:
    • Default determination,
    • Discharge of debts in bankruptcy,
    • Foreclosure,
    • Repossession,
    • Tax lien,
    • Wage garnishment, or
    • Write-off of a federal student aid debt.

The standard applies to both parent and graduate/professional student Direct PLUS Loan applicants.

Alternative Loan

The term alternative loan applies to non-federal educational loans, also often referred to as private loans. Various lenders offer alternative educational loans with varying terms and conditions. Generally, while alternative loans might initially have lower interest rates, they DO NOT offer the flexible repayment options and other benefits typically associated with federal educational loans.


If a student fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress needed to be eligible for federal and/or institutional aid, then he/she may submit an appeal. Details on the appeal process are available from our website.


Generally considered property of value, such as bank accounts, investments, real estate, and/or business holdings. Asset values held by parents and/or the student are usually used in calculating an expected family contribution towards educational expenses.

Aid Offer

The result of a student applying for financial aid is a notification of an offer of aid. A financial aid offer identifies levels of aid for which the student has been determined to be eligible.


Refer to “Accounts Receivable.”


The individual(s) listed on a contractual promissory note as the one responsible for full repayment of a debt. In most cases, the student is recognized as the borrower of federal student loans.


Refer to “Cost of Attendance.”

Business/Farm Supplement

The College Board’s Business/Farm Supplement serves as an ancillary application that is often requested if a parent and/or student reports ownership in a business or farm. The CSS Business/Farm Supplement is available from the “Forms” section of our website.


The cancellation of awarded aid occurs if a student is determined to be no longer eligible for the amount originally offered. Cancellation may occur due to a change in the student’s eligibility status and/or due to the receipt of additional financial assistance.


U.S. Department of Education regulations mandate that federal aid is only available for students meeting the following citizenship criteria:

  • U.S. citizen (U.S. National)
  • Eligible noncitizen, which is generally defined as:
    • A permanent U.S. resident with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551);
    • A conditional permanent resident with a Conditional Green Card (I-551C);
    • The holder of an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations:
      • “Refugee”, or
      • “Asylum Granted”, or
      • “Parolee” (I-94 confirms that you were paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired), or
      • T-Visa holder (T-1, T-2, T-3, etc.), or
      • “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”.
    • The holder of a valid certification or eligibility letter from the Department of Health and Human Services showing a designation of “Victim of human trafficking”.

If you are in the U.S. and have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an F1 or F2 student visa, a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, or a G series visa (pertaining to international organizations), then you are not considered a citizen or eligible noncitizen and you will NOT be eligible for federal aid.

College Financing Plan

The College Financing Plan (formerly known as the Financial Aid Shopping Sheet) is a consumer tool that participating institutions use to notify students about their financial aid offer. It is a standardized form that is designed to simplify the information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid so that they can easily compare institutions and make informed decisions about where to attend school. Once Tulane completes a financial aid offer, students can view their respective College Financing Plan via the Tulane Gibson portal.

College Scholarship Service (CSS)

A division of the College Board that provides a financial aid application (CSS Profile) strictly used to determine a student’s eligibility for institutional need-based scholarship funding.


A commuter is defined as a student residing at home with parents (relatives) and commuting to campus, therefore housing and meal expenses are expected to be lower.

Conditional Year

The academic year immediately following a student’s failure to meet the mandatory academic criteria for institutional scholarship[ retention, in which the student is eligible to receive institutional scholarship for an upcoming semester, yet receipt beyond that period is conditioned on the student’s academic performance.


Also known as Federal Consolidation, is an opportunity to consolidate existing federal student loans into a new consolidation loan. The consolidation process pays off existing loans by creating a new loan and is often done for reasons of securing desired repayment options and/or benefits. However, a federal consolidation loan is not a refinancing strategy, so carefully consider if this option is the best strategy.


Refer to “Expected Family Contribution.”


A contributor is defined as an individual required to contribute financial aid information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  For dependent students often the FAFSA contributors consist of the student and his/her parents.  For independent student often the FAFSA contributors consist of only the student, yet if married would include the spouse.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Established by the financial aid office to reflect the expected fixed and variable expenses as well as the direct and indirect costs associated with a student’s period of enrollment. Typically, the cost of attendance includes tuition, mandatory fees, as well as allowances for housing, food, books/supplies, transportation, federal student loan fees, and miscellaneous incidental expenses. Generally, a student’s total amount of financial aid and resources cannot exceed the total cost of attendance.


Also known as a financial aid counselor is a fully trained professional who is available to counsel students and families on the financial aid process. Generally, a counselor is assigned a workload based on a student’s last name, in an effort to hopefully provide a student with a consistent contact during their Tulane career who understands the student’s unique financial situation. Counselors process all aid on behalf of their students and are available to meet for discussing any financial aid issue.

Credit Bureau

Any of the major national credit bureaus (Equifax; Experian; and TransUnion) who perform credit analysis and maintain credit reports used by financial institutions in evaluating a borrower’s level of risk. Federal PLUS loans (for parents and/or graduate students) require a credit evaluation, and all non-federal, private, alternative lenders usually conduct an even more stringent credit review with credit bureaus.

Credit Hour

Tulane’s classes are most often measured in credit hours (typically one class or course represents 3.0 credit hours). Enrollment status (such as full-time and half-time) are often based on the level of credit hours a student is actually enrolled each semester. Most credentials, such as a bachelor’s degree, require that a student pass a minimum level of credit hours.

CSS Profile

The aid application required of full-time undergraduates seeking consideration for Tulane need-based scholarship funding. Applicants must list Tulane’s CSS school code of 6832.



An established date by which an action related to financial aid is to be completed. Examples of deadlines include: FAFSA filing deadline; an institution’s deadline for aid applications; or the deadline to accept aid that has been offered. It is critical to be fully aware of deadlines associated with the financial aid process.


Defined as a borrower’s failure to meet the terms and responsibilities associated with a debt obligation. A default status is often assigned to a loan after a period of delinquency if there has been no status improvement. A student is ineligible to receive federal student aid if in default on a federal student loan.


Loan status where payments are deferred (not required) and for federal subsidized student loans the interest continues to be subsidized. The most common deferment is an “in-school” deferment, yet additional types of deferment options are available when a borrower is no longer enrolled.


Loan status associated with a borrower’s failure to meet the repayment terms and conditions of their loan obligation. Delinquency is often measured in periods of days (such as 30 days delinquent; or 180 days delinquent). Failure to resolve a delinquency status results in a loan progressing to a status of default.


Refers to whether a student is considered financially dependent on parental/family support. A dependent student is required to report parental information on the FAFSA (and other aid applications); while and independent student only reports his/her (and if applicable spouse’s) information on the FAFSA (however, an independent student may be asked to still provide parental information on other aid applications, such as the CSS Profile).

Department of Education

Generally, refers to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) as the government entity with oversight of the various federal student aid programs, including funding allocations and regulatory enforcement. However, it is important to note that each state may have their own respective Department of Education with oversight of specific state education matters and funding programs.

Direct Loan

The Federal Direct Loan program offers various educational loan programs for students at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as for parents of undergraduate students. Loans fund disbursements come directly from the federal government. Direct loans include: subsidized loan (only available to undergraduates); unsubsidized loan (available to undergraduates and graduate students); parent PLUS loan (only available to parents of undergraduates); graduate PLUS loan (also known as the Grad PLUS and is only available to graduate students); and the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. It is important to note that certain repayment options and benefits are only available to borrowers of federal direct loans.


The delivery or payment of financial aid, most often associated with the crediting or posting of aid to a student’s institutional billing (or accounts receivable) account. Disbursements often occur at the start of each semester of the academic year. Disbursements of federal student aid requires that students have maintained their eligibility criteria at the time of disbursement and regulations govern the timing of disbursements.


Relates to the specific criteria associated with a student being able to be awarded and/or receive a specific type of financial aid. Eligibility criteria may consist of federal regulatory eligibility standards; state eligibility criteria; and institutional eligibility requirements. While most eligibility criteria is available for specific programs via internet research, please contact your financial aid counselor if you have questions concerning various eligibility criteria.

Eligible Non-citizen

An eligible non-citizen is defined as an individual who falls into certain categories, such as one of the following:

• U.S. national or permanent resident.

• U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island) or

• U.S. permanent resident with a Form I-551 or I-151 (Permanent Resident Card, Resident Alien Card, or Alien Registration Receipt Card), also known as a “green card.”

• Possess an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following status categories:*

O Refugee

O Asylum Granted

O Conditional Resident Alien

O Cuban-Haitian Entrant

O Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)

O Parolee (you must be paroled for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resent)

O Modified parole requirements for:

• Ukrainian citizens and nationals paroled into the between Feb. 24, 2022, and Sept. 30, 2023

•Afghan citizens and nationals paroled into the United States between July 31, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2023

  • Possess T nonimmigrant status ("T-visa") (for victims of human trafficking) or your parent holds a T-1 nonimmigrant status. Your college’s financial aid office will ask to see your visa (and/or certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if you have a T-1 visa).*
  • You are a “battered immigrant-qualified alien” who is a victim of abuse by your citizen or permanent resident spouse, or you are the child of a person designated as such under the Violence Against Women Act.*
  • A citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau. If this is the case, you may be eligible for only certain types of federal student aid:
    • Citizens of the Republic of Palau are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and Federal Work-Study.
    • Citizens of the Federal States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are eligible for Federal Pell Grants only.

*To qualify for federal student aid, certain eligible noncitizens must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that they are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Certain Native American students born in Canada with a status under the Jay Treaty of 1794 may also be eligible for federal student aid.


An individual (usually with an excellent credit history) who endorse or co-signs a Federal PLUS loan (either a parent PLUS or a graduate PLUS) when the original borrower has been denied due to a credit issue. An endorser becomes a responsible party to the repayment obligation of an endorsed loan, however can be released from such an obligation if the endorsed loan is ultimately consolidated into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.


A student’s enrollment status may refer to the level of progress towards a degree or credential (such as freshman; or junior), as well as the volume of classes/course being taken during a specific semester (such as full-time or less than half-time). Eligibility for federal, state, and institutional aid is often tied to a student meeting a certain enrollment standard. Most federal aid eligibility requires minimum half-time enrollment, while most institutional aid eligibility requires full-time enrollment.

Entrance Counseling

Entrance counseling refers to a requirement whereby first time borrowers of various federal student loan programs must complete an on-line tutorial that details the specific rights and responsibilities of a federal student loan borrower. New borrowers must complete this requirement ahead of the scheduled disbursement of loan funds.

Exit Counseling

Exit counseling refers to a requirement whereby borrowers of various federal student loans who are exiting a University (via graduation; transfer; or withdrawal) OR who enroll below a half-time status must complete an on-line tutorial that details the specific rights and responsibilities of a federal student loan borrower. Details include prevailing repayment options that are available.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The expected family contribution (EFC) represents an amount calculated from a standardized formula (known as institutional methodology) equating to the level of funding expected to be paid towards the student’s educational expenses during a specified period of enrollment (typically the academic year). Federal methodology now calculates a Student Aid Index (SAI) using federal methodology, although a SAI amount is often used to determine eligibility for federal student aid resources in manner consistent with the use of an EFC.  For dependent students, the EFC (SAI) reflects financial data from parents and the student. For independent students, the EFC (SAI) reflects financial data from the student (and spouse if applicable). Institutional methodology requires an additional non-custodial parent contribution, as well as a parent contribution for many qualifying as independent for federal aid. Finally, it is important to note that the EFC is NOT a measure of cash flow, simply a snapshot in time of a family’s financial situation and the funding for education that is determined to be expected.


Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application that a student must complete each year in order to be considered for all federal student/parent aid programs. The FAFSA is available on-line at and Tulane’s federal school code: 002029 must be entered in order for Tulane to receive your FAFSA data.

FAFSA Submission Summary

Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, the FAFSA Submission Summary replaces what was previously referred to as the Student Aid Report (SAR).  The document is produced and delivered to a student after completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and has been specifically designed to highlight eligibility for federal student aid and summarize the data reported on the FAFSA.  The FAFSA Submission Summary displays the calculated federal Student Aid Index (SAI), indicates if the student has been selected for federal verification, and identifies other messages.

Federal Direct Loan

Refer to “Direct Loan.”

Federal Methodology (FM)

Federal Methodology (FM) refers to the standardized formula used when a student completes the FAFSA resulting in a calculated Student Aid Index (SAI) which is used to determine a student’s eligibility for all federal student aid resources offered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal Pell Grant

The primary federal need-based grant program offered solely to undergraduate students. Award amounts are based on eligibility, enrollment status, and lifetime limits.

Federal School Code

An assigned code to each college and university participating in the Federal student aid programs, and which must be entered on a student’s annual FAFSA in order for the school to successfully receive a student’s FAFSA data. Tulane’s federal school code = 002029.

Federal Student Aid

Financial aid provided by the U.S. Department of Education, which basically consists of grants, loans and work-study. Note: Financial educational assistance is also available from other federal entities, such as benefits from the Veterans Administration and specified health related assistance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Federal Work Study (FWS)

The Federal Work Study (FWS) program offers eligible students the opportunity to work on-campus (or at a limited approved off-campus location) to earn funds towards their educational expenses. The FWS program is awarded on the basis of need and availability of funding. An offer of FWS does NOT guarantee a job, and it is the responsibility of the student to secure FWS employment.


FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. When a student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to a parent under FERPA transfer to the student.

Finance Charge

A fee often assessed on an outstanding balance due. The Tulane Accounts Receivable Office will assess such charges is a student’s account is not paid in full by the specified deadline.

Financial Aid

Defined as any financial assistance offered and/or received by a student towards educational expenses. Financial aid includes scholarships, grants, waivers, loans, and certain types of employment.

Financial Aid Counselor

A trained professional serving students and their families in exploring and understanding the various aspects of the financial aid process; from applying for aid, receiving aid, and preparing for repayment of aid received via loans. You are encouraged to contact your dedicated financial aid counselor with any questions. At Tulane, your financial aid counselor is assigned based on an alpha distribution according to a student’s last name. Sometimes a financial aid counselor is also referred to as a financial aid officer or financial aid administrator.

Financial Need

Tulane defines financial need as the difference between the total Cost of Attendance (COA) less the Expected Family Contribution (EFC as determined using data from the CSS Profile). Federal regulations determine financial need for all federal student aid resources using data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which calculates a student’s Student Aid Index (SAI).  The SAI is used in a similar manner as the EFC, such that need generally represents the difference between the total COA less the SAI.  Financial need may change from year to year based on changes to:

  • The data reported on financial aid applications, and/or
  • The underlying determinates, and/or
  • The prevailing respective methodologies used in the financial need calculations.


A forbearance on a federal student loan represents a period of time that allows a borrower to stop making payments or temporarily reduce the amount of monthly student loan repayments for a specified period, HOWEVER during a forbearance the borrower is responsible for paying the interest that accrues on all types of federal student loans. A borrower must request a forbearance from their federal student loan servicer.


Gibson Online

Tulane’s secure online portal that allows students (prior to admissions and once admitted) to confidentially access their Tulane financial aid records. Students are encouraged to navigate to the financial aid section of Gibson to continuously check their financial aid “To Do” listing to identify any requirements needed. Students can ultimately view their financial aid awards, accept the terms and conditions of their award, accept/decline aid offered, and report additional assistance being received.

Gift Aid

Defined as financial aid that is “gifted” to a student, meaning that no repayment of the amount provided is expected. Generally, all grants, scholarships, and waivers are considered as gift aid.

Grace Period

Some federal student loans offer a grace period or waiting period, generally occurring immediately upon graduation (or ceasing at least half-time enrollment) during which time the expected repayment of the loan is delayed. Not all federal loans offer grace periods, but those that do often have a standard 6 month grace period before repayment commences.

Graduate PLUS Loan

The Graduate PLUS or Grad PLUS is a federal student loan program only available to credit-worthy students recognized as being enrolled in a graduate level degree program. The U.S. Department of Education performs a credit evaluation to determine eligibility and the maximum amount available each loan period cannot exceed the established cost of attendance less other aid received/offered.


A form of gift aid, often considered awarded on the basis of financial need (such as the Federal Pell Grant). Grants are also often referred to as scholarships.

Home Equity

Generally defined as the difference between the current value of a home and the current amount owed on the home. Institutional methodology will incorporate home equity into the determination of the expected family contribution.

Housing and Meals

Housing represents that part of the cost of attendance budget associated with the expected costs of an on-campus dormitory room or off-campus housing; and meals refers to that part of the cost of attendance budget associated with the expected costs associated with consuming 3 meals a day via an on-campus meal plan via off-campus dining/meals options.  Housing and meals were often previously referred to as room and board.

Income-Based Repayment

Refers to various repayment options offered under the federal student loan programs to establish a borrower’s monthly repayment amount on the basis of the borrower’s current income instead of on the basis of the total amount borrowed. Income-based repayment options include pay-as-you-earn; income contingent; and others, so research the appropriate income-based repayment option for which you are eligible and that best meets your situation.


A student meeting the U.S. Department of Education’s qualifying criteria to be considered as an independent student means that no parental data reported on the FAFSA will be used in determining the student’s federal expected family contribution. All students enrolling at a graduate or professional degree level are automatically recognized as independent students by the U.S. Department of Education (even if a student is still claimed as a dependent on a parent federal tax return).

Institutional Methodology

Institutional Methodology (IM) refers to the standardized formula used by an institution to calculate an institutional expected family contribution (or institutional EFC) which is generally used solely to determine a student’s eligibility for institutional need-based scholarship funding. Tulane’s institutional methodology process requires undergraduates seeking consideration of need-based scholarship funding to complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile using Tulane’s CSS school code 6832.

Interest/Interest Rate

The amount that accrues on a debt of obligation based on a specified rate (or interest rate) over a specified period of time. The interest rate may be fixed (unchanging over the period of a loan or debt obligation) or may be variable (meaning that the rate can fluctuate based on a defined metric…such as prevailing U.S. Treasury bill rates).



The entity who loans funds to a borrower. The lender of federal student loans is the U.S. Department of Education (referred to as Federal Direct Loans since funding is coming directly from the federal government). Private loans are offered by a variety of different lenders (many are for-profit entities, although some may be non-profit), and schools offering their own loan programs may also serve as lenders.

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU)

There is a limit to the total amount of Federal Pell Grants that a student may receive, which is the equivalent of six school years. A student’s Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used percentages are maintained by the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), where the data displays on the student’s record as a percentage.


A legal obligation to repay a specified amount that has been borrowed over a specified period of time generally at a specified interest rate.

Loan Limits

Educational loans often include limitations to the total amount that may be borrowed during a specific period of enrollment or over a borrower’s lifetime. Federal regulations limit the annual amounts available on specific loan programs, where amounts are determined by one’s level of enrollment (such as being a freshman, sophomore, or graduate student). Federal law also limits the lifetime aggregate amount of borrowing under specific loan programs. Most loan programs also limit the amount a borrower may receive such that when the loan is included with other aid being received/awarded that the total does not exceed the established cost of attendance for the period of enrollment.

Loan Servicer

The loan servicer is the entity who services the loan, meaning the entity who collects repayments, processes repayment options, and who communicates with borrowers on loan statuses (such as deferments, grace periods, or forbearances). The loan servicer is not necessarily the lender, as often (especially with federal and school loans) the servicing of the loan is out sourced to a third-party. It is critical that a borrower identify his/her loan servicer and maintain contact until the loan is fully repaid or discharged.


Master Promissory Note (MPN)

Federal student loans require a borrower to complete a master promissory note, which serves as the legal contract between the lender and the borrower and obligates the borrower to repay all funds borrowed. First time federal student loan borrowers complete the MPN on-line and once an initial loan disbursement occurs, the contract is valid for up to 10-years. The Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) and the Federal PLUS Loan (Graduate PLUS and Parent PLUS) have their own respective MPNs.

Merit Scholarship

A scholarship awarded on the basis of a student’s documented academic excellence, and offered with the expectation that the recipient will attend a school and perform equally as stellar once matriculated on the campus. Generally, merit scholarships are awarded by an admissions office upon review of an applicant’s admission records, which may include a review of prior grade point averages and standardized test performance. Often merit scholarships are renewed throughout a student’s expected period of degree completion, as long as the recipient successfully meets all merit scholarship retention criteria. Awards are generally only offered to incoming students.


Refer to “Financial Need.”

Need Analysis

The process of analyzing a student’s aid application for need-based aid (either federal or institutional) using standardized formulas (either federal methodology or institutional methodology) to calculate a student’s Student Aid Index (SAI used under federal need analysis) or a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC used under institutional need analysis). Such results are reviewed with the established cost of attendance for a period of enrollment to determine a student’s level of need.

Need-based Aid

Aid that is awarded on the basis of the student being determined to have a specific financial need. Need-based aid includes grants, scholarships, subsidized loans, and specific work-study employment.

Net Price Calculator (NPC)

All colleges and universities are mandated by federal law to provide a net price calculator focused forn providing incoming undergraduate students and their families to use to determine the net price (the amount after accounting for all scholarships and grants) a student might incur if attending the specific institution. Tulane’s NPC offering includes a final Tulane Scholarship amount that reflects the total amount of possible merit and need-based scholarship that might be offered by Tulane and is based on the prior year’s allocation and eligibility guidelines.

New Borrower

Defined as a first-time borrower of a federal student loan program, and thus required to complete a federal student loan master promissory note as well as complete mandated on-line loan entrance counseling. Note that a new borrower is defined at the loan program level, thus an existing borrower of a Federal Direct unsubsidized loan might be considered a “new borrower” of a Federal Direct Graduate Loan.

Non-custodial Parent

Is defined as the parent who is not the custodian of the child in cases of separation or divorce. Generally, this is further defined as the parent who does not provide over 50% of a child’s expenses and thus does not claim the child as a dependent on a federal income tax return. In situations where a dependent full-time undergraduate student is seeking consideration for Tulane need-based scholarship funds, Tulane requires that the non-custodial parent also complete a CSS Profile (often referred to as the Non-Custodial Parent Profile).

Non-degree seeking

An individual attending an institution who is not pursuing a designated degree or credential. Generally, non-degree seeking students are ineligible for aid.

Non-federal loan

Refer to “Alternative Loan.”


An individual who is not required to file a federal income tax return.


The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) serves as a central national depository of all federal student loan details for every borrower. Data also includes Federal Pell Grant information. Individuals may use the same secure credentials used when filing the FAFSA to access their respective NSLDS loan records.


Defined as the creation or origination of a student loan for specific amount and for a specific period of time. Generally, one a student accepts a loan that has been offered, a school will subsequently originate the federal loan and communicate with the U.S. Department of Education as to the details concerning the scheduled disbursements of the loan.

Origination Fee

Defined as a fee assessed by the lender of a loan at the time that the loan is originated.


Often schools establish tuition pricing based on a student’s state of residency, whereby a higher amount is charged to students residing “out-of-state” from the state that the institution is domiciled. Tulane has no such distinction, as the tuition amount charged is not based on a student’s state of residency.

Outside Resource

Refer to “Resource.”

Outside Scholarship

Defined as a scholarship provided from an entity outside of Tulane. Students are required to report their receipt of all outside scholarships to the Tulane University Financial Aid Office.

Outstanding Interest

Refers to the amount of interest on a loan that has accrued and still remains to be paid, thus the term “outstanding”, meaning the interest amount that is outstanding and still due.

Outstanding Principal

Refers to the amount of principal on a loan (amount originally borrowed) that still remains to be paid, thus the term “outstanding”, meaning the principal amount that is outstanding and still due.

Over Award

A over award occurs when a student has received a level of aid in excess of what he/she is eligible. The funds received are “over” and above what is allowed, and action must be taken to resolve the situation in order to eliminate the overage.


An overpayment occurs when a student has received a payment of aid in excess of what he/she is eligible. The funds received are “over” and above what is allowed, and action must be taken to resolve the situation in order to eliminate the overpayment, otherwise in the case of federal funds, the student may be required to be reported to the U.S. Department of Education for receipt of an overpayment of funds, thereby hindering his/her future eligibility to receive federal student aid funding.


Parent PLUS Loan

The Parent PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) is a federal parent loan program only available to credit-worthy parents of students recognized as being enrolled in an undergraduate level degree program. The U.S. Department of Education performs a credit evaluation to determine eligibility and the maximum amount available each loan period cannot exceed the established cost of attendance less other aid received/offered. If a student’s parent is denied a PLUS loan, then the student may be eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized loan funds.

Pell Grant

Refer to “Federal Pell Grant.”

Private Loan

Refer to “Alternative Loan.”

Professional Judgement

Professional judgement refers to the provision under federal law whereby a financial aid counselor (or financial aid administrator) is authorized to make adjustments to the data elements on the FAFSA (and/or CSS Profile) in order to compensate for special circumstances on a case-by-case basis with adequate documentation. Such authority does NOT allow for changes to the need analysis formulas itself or to make direct adjustments to the expected family contribution (EFC). Instead, only changes to the inputs to the formula are allowed upon review of the special circumstances on the student’s and/or family’s income and assets; or to the cost of attendance.


Refer to “CSS Profile.”

Promissory Note

Refer to “Master Promissory Note (MPN).”


Opportunity to request a review of one’s financial aid award, often due to: changes in data reported on an aid application or changes in the cost of attendance.


Refers to either the period of time when a borrower is obligated to repay the amount borrowed (often including accrued interest) on a loan; or the actual amount (payment) submitted towards a loan obligation.


Financial aid administrators usually refer to requirements as those necessary items which an aid applicant must provide or complete before a particular financial aid action can occur. Tulane students can identify needed requirements by logging into the Tulane Gibson portal, navigating to the Financial Aid tab; and viewing their “To Do” list.


Defined as any financial assistance a student receives towards educational expenses. All resources must be reported to the financial aid office.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal student aid funds maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). It is a measure of student progress toward the completion of a degree and is assessed by qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) measures.

Scheduled Disbursement

Refer to “Disbursement.”


A form of gift aid (meaning that the funds generally do not need to be repaid) often awarded on the basis of merit, talent, in exchange for service, and/or on the basis of need.


Term associated with these two types of financial aid: loans and/or employment. Represents aid whereby the student is helping his/her self via borrowing funds or working for funds to assist with educational expenses.


Refer to “Loan Servicer.”

Student Aid Index (SAI)

Effective with the 2024-2025 academic year, the U.S. Department of Education is changing the terminology from what was formerly known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the Student Aid Index (SAI).  While the terminology changes, the use of the SAI continues to be used in a similar manner for identifying a student’s level of federal financial need.

Stafford Loan

Name often associated with the Federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loan program. Refer to “Direct loan.”

Study Abroad

Period of enrollment (usually either a single semester or an entire academic year) where a student enrolls/studies in a program of study outside of the United States. Students enrolled in abroad programs associated by Tulane (where a student is billed abroad tuition by Tulane) are often eligible to receive federal and institutional aid.

Subsidized Loan

Defines a loan where during eligible periods the loan’s interest is paid by an entity other than the borrower. Such a subsidy on eligible loans usually occurs while a borrower is enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program. Generally, a borrower’s eligibility for a subsidized loan requires a demonstrated financial need.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Federal grant program awarded (based on funding availability) to eligible undergraduate students who qualify for a Federal Pell Grant.

Tax Return Transcript

IRS document required when selected for federal verification. The tax return transcript shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after you filed your original return. NOTE: A Tax Account Transcript is NOT acceptable, thus be sure to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript if requested.

Terms & Conditions

The specific details regarding an award offer, that a recipient most often must review and accept in order for accepted aid to disburse.

Title IV

Title IV is a term that refers to federal financial aid funds.

Unmet Need

Often defined as the difference between a student’s determined level of need and the amount of aid offered.

Unsubsidized Loan

Defines a loan where the loan’s interest is NOT paid by an entity other than the borrower. Most often borrowers of unsubsidized loans experience the accrual of interest during periods of enrollment. Generally, a borrower’s eligibility for an unsubsidized loan does NOT require a demonstrated financial need.

Untaxed Income

Income that is not subject to income taxation (examples: contributions to certain retirement accounts; municipal bond interest).

Unusual Enrollment History (UEH)

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has established regulations to prevent fraud and abuse in the Federal Pell Grant program by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories. DOE reviews enrollment patterns to identify those who have received a Federal Pell Grant at multiple institutions during the past three academic years. Once a student is identified as having an unusual enrollment history, a financial aid office must review the academic history in order to determine if a student is eligible for federal student aid.



Tulane’s requirement that our financial aid office must validate data reported on the CSS Profile for aid applicants seeking Tulane need-based scholarship. Refer to for more details.


Requirement that a financial aid office must verify data reported on the FAFSA for aid applicants selected by the U.S. Department of Education or by the institution. Refer to for more details.

Veterans Benefits

Educational benefits available to eligible U.S. military veterans and/or their dependents as offered by the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA).

W-2 Form

IRS tax document issues by an employer to an employee which details annual earnings and withholdings. Tulane requires that parental W-2 forms be submitted for validation purposes, if applicable.

Work Study

Refer to “Federal Work Study.”

This page was last updated on 01/05/2024 - 17:45