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Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

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Academic Year

A period of at least 30 weeks of instructional time during which a full-time student is expected to complete at least 16 semester or trimester hours, or at least 36 quarter hours, at an institution that measures program length in credit hours; or at least 900 clock hours at an institution that measures program length in clock hours.

Attempted Credits

Attempted Credits refers to the number of credits attempted at the institution. An attempted credit is one for which the student was required to pay for (regardless of whether or not they received financial aid for the credit). Any credit for which a grade is awarded is counted as an attempted credit. Only those credits that are dropped by the institution are not considered attempted. Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, Incomplete, Official Withdrawals, Unofficial Withdraw-Passing, Unofficial Withdraw- Failing, Unofficial Withdrawal- No Assessment, Never Attended ("No Show"), and Audit grades all count as attempted credits.


See Cost of Attendance (COA)

Citizen/Eligible Non-Citizen

You must be one of the following to receive federal student aid:

  • U.S. Citizen
  • U.S. National (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain's Island)
  • U.S. permanent resident with an I-151, I-551, or I-551C (Alien Registration Receipt Card)

If you're not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) showing one of the following designations:

  • Refugee
  • Asylum Granted
  • Indefinite Parole and/or Humanitarian Parole
  • Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending
  • Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
  • Other eligible non-citizen with a Temporary Resident Card (I-688)

Previously, you could also be eligible based on the Family Unity Status category, with approved I-797s (Voluntary Departure and Immigrant Petition); however, the passage of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 has put this eligible category in question. You may also be eligible if you have a suspension of deportation case pending before Congress.
Permanent residents of the Trust Territory of the Pacific (Palau) may be eligible for federal student aid. Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands are eligible for Pell Grants, SEOG, or Work Study only. You are NOT eligible for federal financial aid if you only have a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464A), or if you are in the U.S. on an F1, F2, J1, J2, or G series visa.

College Work Study (CWS)

A federal work program that provides jobs to help pay for educational expenses. This program encourages community service and work related to the student's course of study. Students will be paid at least the federal minimum wage and can work up to 15 hours per week.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Here is the average cost of attendance for a full-time student enrolled for the 2024-2025 Academic Year. To view your current cost of attendance (COA), log in to your MyCCRI Account and view your account summary.

Student Living Away from Parent(s):
Expenses In-State Regional Out-of-State
Full-time Tuition & Fees $5,550 $8,086 $14,834
Housing and Food (Off-campus) $15,426 $15,426 $15,426
Books $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Transportation $1,824 $1,824 $1,824
Personal $2,650 $2,650 $2,650
Total (two semesters) $26,650 $29,186 $35,934
Student Living With Parent(s):
Expenses In-State Regional Out-of-State
Full-time Tuition & Fees $5,550 $8,086 $14,834
Housing and Food (with parent) $7,104 $7,104 $7,104
Books and Supplies $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Transportation $1,824 $1,824 $1,824
Personal $2,650 $2,650 $2,650
Total (two semesters) $18,328 $20,864 $27,612

Cost of attendance includes direct costs such as tuition and fees, and indirect costs which may vary, such as books and supplies. Other indirect costs included are room, board, personal and transportation expenses that are reflective of average costs of living expenses incurred regardless of enrollment as a full-time student.

Consolidation Loan

A consolidation loan combines several loans into one bigger loan. This sometimes results in a lower interest rate, as when a consumer loan is used to pay off credit card balances. Such loans often reduce the size of the monthly payment by extending the term of the loan. An extension of the term of the loan may also increase the overall cost of the loan. Consolidation loans also simplify the repayment process by allowing a single payment instead of several.


A loan is in default when the borrower fails to pay a regular installment on time or otherwise fails to meet the terms and conditions of the loan. If you default on a loan, the university, the holder of the loan, and the government can take legal action to recover the money, including garnishing your wages. Defaulting on a government loan will make you ineligible for future federal financial aid. This ineligibility for financial aid remains in effect until such time as the defaulted loan is paid in full or until you have made at least 6 consecutive on-time reasonable monthly payments as determined by the holder of the loan.


Deferment occurs when a borrower is allowed to postpone repayment of a student loan. For example, some federal loan programs allow students to defer their loans while they are in school. Other loan programs allow the student to defer the interest payments by capitalizing the interest(See also Forbearance).

Dependency Status

A student's dependency status determines to what degree the student is expected to have access to parental financial resources. An independent student is one who is 24 years old as of January 1, is married, is a graduate or professional student, has legal dependents other than a spouse, is a veteran, or is an orphan or ward of the court. All other students are considered dependent and, as such, must provide parental information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


The date on which the loan funds are released to the College for payment.

DRN (Data Release Number)

The Data Release Number (DRN) is the personal identification number that the Department of Education assigns each FAFSA Applicant that allows them to access and update FAFSA application data. It is required to request duplicate copies of the Student Aid Report as well as to make electronic changes to the applicants information.

ED (U.S. Department of Education)

The U.S. Department of Education is the agency of the federal government that establishes policy for, administers, and coordinates, most federal assistance to education.

EFC (Expected Family Contribution)

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount of money the federal government expects the family to be able to contribute to the student's education. The EFC is calculated upon submission of the FAFSA according to a formula established by Congress. The difference between the COA and the EFC is the student's financial need.

E-refunds (Electronic Refunds)

Allows students to have their refunds deposited directly into a U.S. checking or savings account. For more information please visit

Enrollment Reporting

Schools report the enrollment status of students who received Title IV loans to NSLDS. This enrollment information is updated in the NSLDS database and reported to guarantors, lenders, and servicers of student loans.

Entrance Counseling

All first time student borrowers are required to complete entrance counseling at before their loan funds can be disbursed. During entrance counseling a borrower will learn the following: What a Direct Loan is, how the loan process works, managing education expenses and students rights and responsibilities.

EOC (Educational Opportunity Center)

EOC offices are located at all campuses. This office assists students with the financial aid application process. For more detailed information on EOC, please visit their website at

Exit Counseling

Students with educational loans are required to complete exit counseling at During exit counseling the borrower will learn the following: Repayment terms of the loan, payment plan options, managing education expenses, consequences of default and students rights and responsibilities.

FAA (Financial Aid Administrator)

A FAA is a Financial Aid Administrator, a university/college employee who is involved in the financial aid process.

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application is the first step in the financial aid application process.

Federal Direct Loans

When a student's need can not be met with other forms of financial aid, a Federal Direct Loan may be recommended. Eligible students may qualify for federal interest benefits and may not be required to repay the loan until they graduate, withdraw or enroll less than half-time. Loans are repayable according to a payment schedule arranged by the Department of Education.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

PLUS loans allow parents of dependent undergraduate students to borrow up to the cost of education minus other financial aid. There are no aggregate loan limits. For current interest rates please visit A loan origination fee is charged at disbursement. Unless deferred, repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Need based, federally subsidized loans for undergraduate students. For current interest rates please visit Repayment is deferred until students graduate, withdraw or enroll less than half-time. Interest is paid by the federal government until six months after students graduate, withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Not based on need. Unsubsidized means the interest is not deferred while in school. However, repayment may be deferred until after the students graduate, withdraw or enroll less than half-time. For current interest rates please visit

Financial Aid Package

An Offer of Financial Assistance, which is also known as the financial aid package is the complete collection of grants, fellowships, scholarships, loans, and work-study employment offered to a student to financially enable them to attend the college.

Financial Need

The difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the student's financial need - the gap between the student's resources and the cost of attending the school. The financial aid package is often based on the amount of financial need. The process of determining a student's need is known as the need analysis and is performed by the federal processor after submission of the FAFSA.


A forbearance is a condition where the lender allows the borrower to postpone repaying the principal of their loan, but requires the borrower to continue paying the interest charges (See also Deferment).

Grace Period

A short time period after graduation during which the borrower is not required to begin regular repayment of their student loan. The typical grace period is six or nine months depending on the type of loan program.


A grant is a kind of financial aid that the student does not have to repay. Some examples of Grant programs that CCRI participates in include; Federal PELL, Federal SEOG, CCRI Grant, and the RI Promise Scholarship programs.


Interest is an amount charged to the borrower for the use of using the lender's funds. Interest is usually calculated as a percentage of the principal. The percentage rate may be fixed for the life of the loan, or it may be variable, depending on the terms of the loan. For current interest rates for Federal Direct Loans please visit

IRS (Internal Revenue Service)

The IRS is the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement. CCRI may request tax transcripts if selected for verification. For more information regarding submitting tax information to financial aid, please visit our website /oes/fa/submittaxinfo.html.

ISIR (Institutional Student Information Report)

An ISIR is an electronic reproduction of a Student Aid Report, transmitted by the Federal Processor to individual Financial Aid Offices and is just as valid as a regular SAR.


The bank or lending institution that provides the money to the borrower for the loan.

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

A master promissory note is the binding legal document signed by the student borrower before the government can disburse loan funds. The promissory note states the terms and conditions of the loan, including repayment schedule, interest rate, deferment policy, and cancellations. The student should keep this document until the loan has been repaid.

NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System)

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, and other Department of ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data.

Origination Fee

The origination fee is an up front charge deducted from the loan to pay part of the loan's administrative costs.

Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is a federal grant based on the student's financial need. For current award amounts please visit


Principal is the amount of money borrowed under the loan. Interest is charged as a percentage of the principal.

Professional Judgment (PJ)

In some cases, the Financial Aid Office may adjust your cost of attendance, or the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to take into account circumstances that might affect the amount you and/or your family are expected to contribute toward your education. Also, if you think you have unusual circumstances that would make you independent even though you have been determined to be dependent through the FAFSA process.

SAR (Student Aid Report)

A SAR or Student Aid Report is an acknowledgement sent to the student after filing a FAFSA. The SAR summarizes the information included in the FAFSA and may be requested by your school's Financial Aid Office. The SAR will also indicate the amount of Pell Grant eligibility, if any.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

A student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to continue receiving federal aid. If a student fails to maintain an academic standing consistent with the school's SAP policy, they are unlikely to meet the school's graduation requirements (Learn more about SAP).


A form of financial aid given to undergraduate students to help pay for their education. Most scholarships are restricted to paying all or part of tuition expenses, though some scholarships also cover room and board.

SEOG (Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant)

A federal grant that is awarded when a student demonstrates exceptional need and does not have a B.S./B.A. degree or equivalent.

Unmet Need

The difference between a student's eligibility for financial aid and the amount of financial aid actually received. Unmet need occurs if a school does not have sufficient funds to match a student's eligibility, or when a student is eligible for but does not want a loan or work study.


Verification is a review process in which the Financial Aid Office determines the accuracy of the information provided on the student's financial aid application. During verification the student will be required to submit documentation to support the information listed (or not listed) on the financial aid application.