Admission Glossary and Financial Aid Terms (2023)

award letter– The official document issued by the Student Aid Office detailing all the study aids granted to the student. While award letters vary from institution to institution, the letter usually lists the expected family contribution (EFC), cost of participation (COA), and any terms of the aid provided. The award letter can be issued on paper or online.

Candidate Response Date- A national policy among members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling that allows a student to wait until May 1 to choose between admissions and financial aid offers.

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Common application– A general application form accepted by about 350 select colleges and universities. These institutions agree to give equal preference to students whether they apply through the joint application or the institution's own application. Students using the joint application complete the form once and submit photocopies or submit the form online to the colleges of their choice.

Cost of Participation (COA)– Student participation costs include tuition, fees and the standard allowance to cover reasonable living expenses while attending school. The cost of attendance is determined by Rhodes using guidelines established by federal regulations (also known as the cost of education or student budget).

Early action– An application process whereby a student can apply to an institution and receive a decision before the normal spring response deadlines. The student does not agree to enroll at the institution as part of Early Action.

early admission– Admit students to college courses before they have met standard high school graduation requirements.

early decision– An application process in which the student agrees to enroll in an admission at the institution. Only a student who can make an informed and well-reasoned first choice decision should apply to an early decision program.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)– An amount that a student and his or her parents can be expected to contribute to college expenses. For federal funding purposes, this is calculated according to federal specifications. The EFC is subtracted from the total cost of attendance to provide an estimate of a student's demonstrated need.

Federal Direct Loan Program- Federally sponsored loan programs, including the Direct Loan, Graduate PLUS Loan, and Parent PLUS Loan (for parents of college students).

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Federal methodology (FM)– The formulas used to determine a student's eligibility for federal Title IV funds. The formulas take into account income, some assets, expenses, family size, and other factors. FM is created by the US Department of Education, approved by Congress, and reviewed every 5 to 8 years.

financial aid packageA combination of aid (may include merit-based grants, fellowships, loans, and/or work study) provided by an institution's financial aid office and based on the FAFSA submitted by the student and his or her family.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)– This application must be completed by all students wishing to be considered for state and federal financial aid at Rhodes College. Apply online

Grant– A type of need-based financial aid that is not repaid by the student.

Institutional Methodology (IM)– A nationally recognized standard used by many colleges, universities, graduate and vocational schools, and private scholarship programs to assess a family's financial eligibility to receive funds from the school to meet the cost of the visit. IM, while similar to the federal methodology, involves a comprehensive review of wealth, income, family size, equity, and other factors. The institutional methodology also allows for more generous treatment of physician/dentist fees, elementary and secondary school fees, and alimony payments when determining a family's total disposable income to pay for attendance costs. Rhodes uses IM in his assessment of institutional financial aid.

Performance based help– Financial assistance provided on the basis of a student's academic, managerial or artistic merit or other criteria and not dependent on financial need. Achievement-based awards may consider a student's school history, test scores (if submitted), special talents, or extracurricular activities to determine eligibility. Rhodes College's athletic program follows NCAA Division III rules and does not offer athletic scholarships.

Must be analyzed– A process for reviewing a student aid application to determine the amount of financial aid to which a student is entitled. Completing a needs assessment form is the first step required to apply for most types of financial assistance.

Needs-based help– Study grants that are granted based on the student’s financial circumstances. Needs-based assistance can be granted in the form of grants, loans or student jobs. Students who believe their families need assistance to fund their college expenses are encouraged to apply for need-based federal assistance by completing the FAFSA.

parental contribution– A portion of the expected family contribution, which is calculated from family income, wealth, parents' state and federal taxes, a subsidy towards family living expenses, and the expenses of other family members in college.

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Skin-Stipendium– For undergraduate students only the first grade of high school. Eligibility is based on Federal Methodology. The scholarship amount ranges from $588 to $5,775, subject to congressional appropriations, and is reduced for students who enroll less than full-time.

rolling entry– An admissions process in which the university considers each application once all the required documents have been received. The applicant's certificates are compared with the requirements set for admission to that university. The university will then inform each applicant of the acceptance or rejection as quickly as possible. The university does not wait until all applicants have applied to compare them with each other.

grants- Monetary gifts awarded to students based on merit or other specific talents such as fine arts, athletics, community service or leadership.

self help- Self-help awards for financial assistance are available through programs that require the student to pay to attend or work for the assistance. Student loans and employment are examples of self-help rewards.

Study Grant Report (SAR)– A form mailed to the student after filing the FAFSA with the federal processor. The SAR shows the information processed and the Pell Grant eligibility. Visit for duplicate reports.

student contribution– In addition to the parents' contribution, students are expected to cover part of their own educational costs each year. A student's minimum contribution may come from the previous year's income, a summer job, savings, and educational achievements.

subsidized loan– The government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school during a deferral period. Promotional loans are granted on the basis of financial need and cannot be used to finance the family contribution.

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Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)– Supplementary study grant for students, only first bachelor’s degree. Federal subsidy according to the federal formula using the information in your subsidy application. Priority is given to students who are eligible for Federal Pell Grants.

unsponsored loan– With this loan, the state does not pay any interest during enrollment. The student has the option to pay the accrued interest monthly or to capitalize the interest (add it to the principal). In any case, the required payments do not begin until six months after graduation, or six months after the student falls below mid-term matriculation. Direct unsubsidised loans are not based on financial need and can therefore be used to fund family contributions.

waiting list– Term used by institutions to describe a process by which they can initially delay the offer or refusal of admission to allow for the possibility of admission in the future.

Study and work program– A federally supported financial aid program coordinated through the Financial Aid Office, which allows an eligible student to work part-time (as needed) on campus while enrolled at the institution.

Financial Assistance Requests
FAFSA(Rhodes Titel IV Code: 003519)

Download forms
You can find all of the funding forms hereRhodes Express Relief FormsWebsite.

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