Academic Year: The academic year starts on August 25th and ends May 1st. The academic year must have a minimum of 30 weeks of instructional time and 24 semester hours.

Acceleration: Demand for immediate repayment of the entire outstanding balance of a loan.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): All taxable income less IRS allowable adjustments to income. This figure is drawn from an individual's federal tax return. The rules for calculating AGI are set by the IRS, not the U.S. Department of Education.

Adverse Credit History: For federal student aid purposes, a financial history that negatively impacts eligibility for a Direct PLUS Loan. A parent or a graduate or professional student who has an adverse credit history (as defined in the Direct Loan Program regulations) is not eligible to receive a Direct PLUS Loan unless he or she (1) documents to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances and completes PLUS loan counseling, or (2) obtains an endorser for the loan who does not have an adverse credit history and completes PLUS loan counseling.

Aggregate Loan Limit: A limit on the total amount of Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans that you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study. If the total amount you receive over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you will not be eligible to receive additional loans. However, if you repay some of your loans to bring your outstanding loan debt below the aggregate loan limit, you could then borrow again, up to the amount of your remaining eligibility under the aggregate loan limit.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The actual yearly cost of borrowing money reflected as a percentage rate.

A-number (ARN): An identifying number assigned by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to identify and keep track of individuals who have been or are in contact with the immigration process. Used by the U.S. Department of Education to verify the immigration status of noncitizens applying for federal student aid.

Award Offer Letter: An official document issued by the Financial Aid Office. It lists all of the amounts, sources, and types of aid in your financial aid package. The Award Offer Letter also includes the terms and conditions of your financial aid.

Campus Solutions Student Center: A one-stop shop Student Service Center to see your class schedule, account balance, financial aid, and documents needed for services, and academic history — ALL FROM ONE LOCATION by logging into your student account (ERNIE).

Capitalization: When interest isn't paid as it accrues, it may be added to the outstanding principal amount of your loan. Capitalization increases the loan’s principal balance, and interest is charged on the new balance. The monthly payment may also increase. Unpaid interest capitalizes after deferment on an unsubsidized loan or if you are repaying your loans under the income-based repayment (IBR) plan and either no longer qualify to make payments based on income or leave the IBR plan.

Conflicting Information: A discrepancy in the information that a school has regarding a student that affects his or her eligibility for federal student aid. A school must resolve conflicting information about a student before that student can receive federal student aid.

Consolidation: The process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan.

Contributor: Any individual required to provide consent and approval for federal tax information (FTI) along with their signature on the FAFSA, including the student; the student’s spouse; a biological or adoptive parent; or the parent’s spouse (stepparent).

Consumer Information: The information that a school must provide about financial aid and its campus, facilities, student athletes, and gainful employment programs as well as information to promote campus security and fire safety and prevent drug and alcohol abuse, as required under HEA Sec. 485(f) and 34 CFR 668.41–50.

Cost of Attendance (COA): The estimated full and reasonable cost of completing an academic year as a full-time student and is the maximum amount of aid that can be received. It includes tuition, fees, housing, food transportation, miscellaneous personal expenses, books, course materials, supplies, and federal student loan fees.

DD214: The U.S. Department of Defense Form DD 214 is the form, received at separation that certifies a veteran’s service.

Default: The failure to repay a loan as outlined in your 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 Group: An office within Federal Student Aid responsible for the management collecting defaulted loans and student overpayments

Deferment: A temporary postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest doesn’t accrue on subsidized loans. Most deferments are not automatic. Contact the lender for options. Visit the Federal Student Loan Deferment website for more. 

Delinquency: The status of a loan when payment is late. Delinquency may be reported to a credit bureau after 30 days. 

Disbursement: The lender's payment of loan funds to the school. Payment is made by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Disbursement is usually made in two or more installments during the year.

Donor-Funded Scholarship Application: Embry-Riddle’s annual, online scholarship application for hundreds of scholarships. Opens every November and has a priority due date of March 1. 

Endorser: 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.

Entrance Counseling: A mandatory online information session, which takes place before you receive your first federal student loan; entrance counseling explains your responsibilities and rights as a student borrower.

Exit Counseling: A mandatory online information session, which takes place before you graduate, leave school (for any reason), or drop below half-time enrollment. It explains your loan repayment responsibilities and when repayments begins.

FAFSA Processing System (FPS): Replaces the Central Processing System (CPS) to become an integral part of the entire FAFSA process and experience.

FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS): The output document that the FPS sends to a student after the FAFSA is processed. It summarizes the information submitted, provides the Student Aid Index (SAI), indicates if the application was selected for verification, and provides comments to the student as well as the school’s financial aid administrator.

Family Size: Under FAFSA Simplification, family size (formerly “household size”) now aligns with the number of exemptions (which equal the tax filer(s) plus dependents) claimed on an individual’s tax return. Individuals who complete the FAFSA online, provide the required consent and approval to retrieve and use IRS FTI, and have their tax data successfully transferred via the FA-DDX will not be asked to report the size of their family as their family size will be derived from that FTI. Instead, these individuals will be asked if their family size is different from the number of individuals claimed on their tax return. If they indicate there was a change, they will be asked to manually report their family size in a follow-up question.

Federal Student Aid Handbook: Annual U.S. Department of Education publication that explains the requirements for participation in the Federal Student Aid programs.

Financial Aid Probation: A status assigned by the Financial Aid Office to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP), and who has appealed and has eligibility for aid reinstated; meaning the probation status can be granted only after the student has appealed and has had their eligibility for Title IV aid reinstated based on the successful appeal.

Financial Aid Suspension: The loss of Federal Student Aid eligibility as a result of a student who fails to meet either or both SAP quantitative and qualitative SAP standards. 

Forbearance: Allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly student loan payments or temporarily make smaller payments. Most types of forbearance are not automatic. Visit the Federal Student Loan Forbearance website for more.

FUTURE Act Direct Data Exchange (FA-DDX): The system replacing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer an individual’s FTI to the Department. FA-DDX allows the Department to request, and the IRS to transfer, FTI to the FTIM system for use in determining a student’s federal financial aid eligibility. 

Grace Period: A period of time (generally six months) after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment during which you are not required to make payments.  The repayment period for your loan begins after the end of the grace period.  

Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR): An electronic output document generated by the FAFSA Processing System (FPS) that summarizes information provided on a student's FAFSA. Also provides the result of the Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation, results of eligibility matches with certain databases, reject reasons, comments, and data assumptions. It is available to schools through the Electronic Data Exchange (EDE).

Loan Discharge (Cancellation): The elimination of a loan debt under certain limited circumstances.

Loan Forgiveness: The cancellation or reduction of a loan debt under the Direct Loan, FFEL, or Perkins Loan programs for certain types of public service.  Find more on the ways to qualify for Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, or Discharge at

Loan Proration: Proportionally reducing an undergraduate Direct Loan borrower’s annual loan limit if the borrower is (1) enrolled in a program shorter than a full academic year, or (2) enrolled in a program that is one academic year or greater in length but is in a remaining period of study shorter than a full academic year.

Loan Servicer: A company that collects payments, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a federal student loan on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. If you're unsure of who your federal student loan servicer is, you can look it up in “My Federal Student Aid” at

Master Promissory Note (MPN): A binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. The MPN can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years) at a school. It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. It’s important to read and save your MPN because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about loan provisions, such as deferments or forbearances.

Missing Information Letter: This electronic letter is sent to students' Embry Riddle email accounts and details any missing information that the Financial Aid Office requires in order to complete the federal awarding process (i.e., verification documents, federal tax returns, W-2 Forms, proof of citizenship or eligible noncitizen status, DD214 Member 4 Copy, etc.).

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS): An ED integrated system that collects and reports information about the financial aid history of students who receive federal student aid and maintains that information in an online database available to the financial aid community. The database stores information about loans, grants, students, borrowers, lenders, guaranty agencies (GAs), schools, and loan servicers. The CPS conducts a match of FAFSA data against this database to confirm the student’s identification and eligibility for federal student financial aid. A user ID and Password are required to access the database.

Need: The difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Student Aid Index (SAI) is the student's financial need. Gift assistance (free money such as scholarships, grants, etc.) fulfills financial need. If a gap remains between the student’s financial need and the offered gift assistance, the student should continue to look for additional funding options. This may include part-time student employment, external scholarships, or student and parent loans. 

Net Price: An estimate of the actual cost that a student and his or her family need to pay in a given year to cover education expenses for the student to attend a particular school. Net price is determined by taking the institution's cost of attendance and subtracting any grants and scholarships for which the student may be eligible.

Net Price Calculator: A tool that allows current and prospective students, families, and other consumers to estimate the net price of attending a particular college or career school.

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.

Origination: When a school creates a new Pell Grant or Direct Loan in the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system.

Origination Fee: A fee charged by the federal government and deducted from the loan funds prior to disbursement. The fee is used to offset administrative costs.

Packaging: The process of determining the types and amounts of financial aid awards (loans, grants, scholarships, and employment) and offering those awards to a student.

Poverty Guideline: The income categorized by state and family size in the poverty guidelines published annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 9902(2).

Primary or Custodial Parent: For a dependent student whose parents are divorced or separated, the primary or custodial parent is the parent who provides the greater portion of the student’s financial support and is required to provide their information (and if applicable their spouse’s information) on the FAFSA form.

Professional Judgment (PJ): The discretion granted to Financial Aid Administrators (FAA) by law to adjust the data used to calculate the Student Aid Index (SAI) on the FAFSA, revise the student’s cost of attendance (COA), and override a student’s dependency status when adequate documentation is provided.  See Special Circumstances and Unusual Circumstances.

Rehabilitated Loan: One method of getting a student loan out of default. To begin the rehabilitation process, borrowers must contact their loan holder. For more info about getting out of default:

Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4): When a student withdraws or ceases to attend from school without completing a payment period or period of enrollment, the school must determine the amount of Title IV funds "earned" for the portion of the payment period or period of enrollment the student attended. Unearned federal student aid must be returned to each affected program, as applicable.

Satisfactory Repayment Arrangement: For purposes of regaining eligibility for federal student aid funds, the agreement of a borrower to make six consecutive, voluntary, on-time, full monthly payments on a defaulted Title IV loan. A borrower may regain eligibility by this means only one time. For the purpose of consolidating a defaulted loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan, the making of three consecutive, voluntary, on-time, full monthly payments on a defaulted loan, or agreeing to repay the consolidation loan under an income-contingent repayment plan or the income-based repayment plan.

Sequestration: An automatic spending reduction that takes place when the appropriation bills passed by Congress to provide for total government spending exceed the limits set by Congress. Under sequestration, an amount of money equal to the difference between the cap set in the Budget Resolution and the amount actually appropriated is "sequestered" by the Treasury and not handed over to the agencies to which it was originally appropriated by Congress.

Shopping Sheet: The Shopping Sheet is a consumer tool that is designed to simplify information about costs and financial aid. It is not meant to replace your award offer but is a tool to help you in comparing other institutions. Military prospects will receive a Shopping Sheet when inquiring at Embry-Riddle. When you are admitted to ERAU and apply for Financial Aid, you will be able to view your Shopping Sheet in your Student Service Center.

Special Circumstances: Special or extenuating situations (such as the loss of a job) that impact a student’s financial condition and support a financial aid administrator adjusting data elements in the COA or in the SAI calculation on a case-by-case basis.

State Aid: Financial assistance that a state offers to eligible residents such as Cal Grants and NY TAP. Contact your state grant agency for more info:

Student Aid Index (SAI): Replaces the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as a formal evaluation of a student’s approximate financial resources to contribute toward their postsecondary education for a specific award year.

Student Aid Report (SAR): The output document that the Central Processing System (CPS) sends to a student after a FAFSA is processed. It summarizes the information the student submitted on the FAFSA; reports the student's calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC); provides comments to the student as well as information for the financial aid administrator; and reports the student's NSLDS financial aid history.

Taxable Income: Income earned from wages, salaries, and tips, as well as interest income, dividend income, business or farm profits, and rental or property income.

Third Party Billing: When a student makes arrangements with Student Financial Services (formerly the Cashier’s Office) to have their bill sent to another (i.e., Veteran Affairs, Vocational Rehab, U.S. Government, Foreign Embassy, Trust Account, Sponsor, etc.).

Title IV Programs: Federal student aid programs authorized under the Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Programs include the Federal Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS), Student Direct Loans, and Parent and Graduate Direct PLUS Loans.

Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge: Relieves borrowers from having to repay their federal student loan(s). Learn more at 

Unusual Circumstances: Conditions that justify a financial aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status, commonly referred to as a dependency override, based on an unusual situation (e.g., parental abuse or neglect, parental abandonment, parent incarceration or institutionalization, student granted asylum or refugee status or designated as a victim of human trafficking).

Untaxed Income: Income received that is not reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or is reported but excluded from taxation. Such income would include but not be limited to untaxed capital gains, interest on tax-free bonds, dividend exclusion, and military and other subsistence and living allowances.

Verification: The process a school follows to check the accuracy of the information reported by the student on the FAFSA. The information reported is compared against documents, such as the IRS Tax Return Transcripts and signed Verification Worksheets, the student provides to the school.

Vocational Rehabilitation: Programs administered by state departments of vocational rehabilitation services to assist individuals who have a physical or mental disability which is a substantial handicap to employment.