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Glossary: Scholarship Terms

Glossary of Terms Appearing in Scholarship Package Descriptions


Books & Supplies: College students must purchase or rent the books required for their classes along with notebooks and other materials. Books and supplies usually total several hundred dollars per semester, but the amount will vary depending on your classes.

Federal Work-Study: Through the Federal Work-Study program, students are employed on campus and paid through a combination of federal and school funds. Students are typically expected to work 5-10 hours per week. Eligibility for Federal Work-Study is determined by the financial aid office. In order to utilize their Federal Work-Study, students must apply for and secure a job. Employers are often eager to hire work-study students because the salary is subsidized by federal funds. Work-study jobs can range from shelving books in the library, to assisting a faculty member with research, to tutoring. Work-study income is often expected to be put toward the cost of books, supplies, travel, or personal expenses. If you need to buy plane tickets or textbooks before you start receiving work-study paychecks, it may be necessary to borrow money from your savings or another source.

Grants: Money from the federal government, state government, and/or a college/university that the student does not need to pay back. This money is usually paid directly to the college without passing through the student's hands.

Parental Contribution: Amount that a student's parents are expected to pay directly to a college. This amount is calculated using the information in the FAFSA, CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, and other required financial forms.

Personal Expenses: Any personal expenses that the student will incur, such as purchasing toiletries or seeing a movie. Some school-related fees (for labs, music lessons, etc.) may also be expected to come out of the personal expense budget.

Room & Board: Costs associated with living and dining while enrolled in school. Typically, there are different room and board budgets for students living on and off campus.

Student Loan: Money that a student borrows to pay for school. Student loans must be repaid with interest. Student loans are offered from the federal government, private lenders, and in some cases, from the school directly. The two primary loan programs are the Federal Direct Loans -- the Unsubsidized and Subsidized loan programs. Federal Direct Subsidized loans are awarded on the basis of financial need and the federal government subsidizes the interest while the student is enrolled full-time and during a grace period. Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest immediately.  The standard repayment period for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans is ten years, although various repayment options, including forebearance and deferral, are available.

Student Savings Contribution: The amount a college expects a student to contribute to their college costs from their savings and investments. Student savings and investments must be reported on the FAFSA, CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, and other financial documents that the student submits to the college. A student savings contribution is typically a percentage of a student's total savings and investments. 

Summer Work Contribution: The portion of a student's summer work income that is expected to be used for college expenses for the upcoming year. The summer work contribution is often used to pay for travel costs to campus or to pay for personal expenses during the academic year. Students should plan to work during the summer before freshman year to meet this earnings requirement. The expected summer work contribution may increase slightly from year to year.

Travel: Costs associated with transportation to and from college at the beginning and end of the school year, and for winter break.

Tuition: Cost of educational instruction at a college.


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