Acronyms, schmacroynms! What do they all mean? As you navigate your way through the financial aid process you’ll run across plenty of three to four letter terms that may seem like a foreign language. Let us try to help make some sense of it all!
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Your or your family’s wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus certain deductions from income as reported on a federal income tax return. Commonly referred to as AGI.
Agreement to Serve (ATS)
The binding agreement you must sign to receive a TEACH Grant. By signing the ATS, you agree to teach (1) full-time, (2) in a high-need field, (3) at a low-income school or educational service agency that serves certain low-income schools, and (4) for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which you received the grant.
Cost of Attendance (COA)
COA includes tuition and fees; room and board (or a housing and food allowance); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and dependent care. It also includes miscellaneous and personal expenses, including an allowance for the rental or purchase of a personal computer; costs related to a disability; and reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs.
Data Release Number (DRN)
The four-digit number assigned to your FAFSA that allows you to release your FAFSA data to schools you did not list on your original FAFSA. You need this number if you contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center to make corrections to your mailing address or the schools you listed on your FAFSA. You find this number below the confirmation number on your FAFSA submission confirmation page or in the top right-hand corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR).
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
This is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA, the application for federal student aid. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FREE application used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans, and work-study.
The FSA ID is a username 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.
Satisfactory Academic Programs (SAP)
A school’s standards for satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate offered by that institution.
Student Aid Report (SAR)
A summary of the information you submitted on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You receive this report via e-mail a few days after your FAFSA has been processed. If there are no corrections or additional information you must provide, the SAR will contain your EFC, which is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.
To learn more about financial aid terms, check out the glossary through the U.S. Department of Education.