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Glossary of Terms

Understanding the terms used in regards to Financial Aid

Financial aid can sometimes be a confusing process. Here are some definitions of common terms to help you.

Award year: At TCC, this is the period of time beginning in August on the first day of the fall semester and extending to the last day of the spring semester in May. Summer is considered a “trailer” semester and is not typically considered when referring to the award year.

Cost of attendance: An estimate of costs that the student will incur while attending school including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): An amount that a student and parents can reasonably be expected to contribute toward educational costs.

Financial Aid Course Audit (FACA): Under federal rules, students can receive financial aid only for courses that apply to their declared program. Shortly after they register, students are notified whether any of their selected courses are ineligible for financial aid.

Financial Aid Award Notice: A notice sent to the student upon receipt of FAFSA results and once financial aid eligibility has been determined. This notice provides an estimate of expenses during the ward year and details the types of aid that the student may receive. Financial Aid Award Notices are sent to students at their TCC email.

FSA ID: The Federal Student Aid ID is a user name 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, such as the FAFSA.

Financial Need: The difference between a student's cost of attendance, expected family contribution, and other financial aid already received.

Grants: A type of financial aid that is based on need and is not repaid by the student.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT): Allows applicants to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS Web site. This can save you time in completing the FAFSA.

Scholarships: Funds that are awarded based on need or merit and not repaid by the student.

Student Aid Report (SAR): A summary sent to the student after submitting the FAFSA to the federal processor. The SAR shows the information that was processed and indicates the Expected Family Contribution.

Student loans: Funds that are borrowed and must be repaid after the student leaves school.

Work-Study: A federal program that provides part-time employment opportunities for students with financial need.

Verification: A process by which the college is required to collect certain financial documents from students and compare them to the responses provided on the FAFSA.