Student Financial Aid Terms

Fellowship – a scholarship or grant awarded to a graduate student in a college or university.

Scholarship – financial aid that usually is awarded for merit or academic achievement.  A scholarship considered gift aid and does not have to be paid back.

Grant – a gift aid that does not have to be paid back.

Loan – money which must be repaid.  Loan programs have varying repayment provisions.

Work Study – this program provides jobs that enable students to earn a portion of school costs through employment at the institution.

Need – the term “need,” as used in financial aid, usually refers to the difference between the resources available to the student (from parent’s, student savings and summer jobs, etc.) and the cost of attending the student’s selected postsecondary institution.   The process of determining “need” is often referred to as a “need analysis.”

Self Help – financial resources provided by the student.

Family Contribution – the combined contribution reasonably expected during the enrollment period from the student (and his or her spouse if applicable), as well as from the student’s parents if the student is a dependent.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – a free form distributed by the U.S. Department of Education to collect information used to determine a student’s need for federal financial aid.

Conversion scholarship/loan – A scholarship that requires you to provide certain services, such as teaching or nursing, for a certain length of time. If the services are not provided, the scholarship becomes a loan which must be paid back with interest.

Waiver – An agreement that allows attendance at a school without having to pay tuition or other costs if certain eligibility requirements are met.

Skip to content