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Parents’ Corner

Parents, the following is a glossary guide to help you understand a little more about college terms and everything that may be involved in getting your student into a University.
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A+ Schools Program
Administered by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; provides financial incentives for tuition, required fees, and books to A+ high school graduates to attend any Missouri community college or area vocational technical school.  

Recognition of a college or university by any of the regional or national accrediting bodies, indicating that the institution as a whole has been judged to be meeting its objectives.

ACT Assessment or “ACT Test”
A group of tests administered by ACT and required or recommended by many colleges as part of the admission process.  The tests measure educational development in English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning and are given at specified test centers throughout the year.

Advanced Placement
Granting of credit and/or assignment to an advanced course on the basis of evidence that a student has mastered the equivalent of an introductory course.

Advantage Missouri Program
Allows a student to borrow up to $2,500 per year in loans that may be forgiven if the student is employed in a designated high-demand occupation in Missouri after completing a designated academic program.

Aid Package
A combination of aid (possibly including a scholarship, grant, loan, and work) determined by a college financial aid office.

A group of tests developed by ACT and required at many two-year colleges as a part of the course placement and advising process.  The tests measure a student’s reading, writing, and mathematical skills and are administered by the college.

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“Bright Flight” Scholarship
Merit-based scholarships to encourage high school seniors to attend an approved Missouri postsecondary institution of their choice full time.

Candidates Reply Date
A policy among subscribing institutions that permits students to with until May 1 to choose, without penalty, among offers of admission/financial aid.

Charles Callagher Student Financial Assistance Program
Need-based grant for Missouri residents to attend an approved Missouri postsecondary institution full time.

Class Rank
A rating that compares your cumulative grade point average to other members of your class.  Class rank is often used as a college admissions and scholarship standard.

College Calendar
The system by which a college divides its year into periods of time for instruction and awarding credit.  Common systems include the traditional semester (two per year); the early semester (two per year with the first ending before Christmas); the quarter (three terms of approximately 12 weeks each); the trimester (three semesters per year, the third semester replacing summer school); and 4-1-4 (two equal terms of about 16 weeks each, with a 4-week interim term).

College Transfer Courses
Courses intended for transfer of college credit to bachelor’s degree programs elsewhere.

Cooperative Work-Study Education
A program in which a student alternates between full-time college study and full-time paid employment related to the area of study.  Under this plan, a bachelor’s degree often requires five years to complete.  However, students have valuable work experience and often get higher starting salaries when they finish college.

Cost of Attendance
Estimate of a student’s educational expenses, including tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal, and other related educational expenses, for the period of enrollment.

Granted upon successful completion of a course that meets for a minimum of 8, 100 minutes of instruction.   

Credit by Examination
A program through which many colleges grant course credit based on results of the Advanced Placement Tests (AP), the CEEB College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Regents College Examinations (RCE), DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), or another examination developed by colleges.

Credit Hour
A unit of academic credit that often represents one hour of class time per week for a period of study (semester, quarter, etc.).

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When a borrower is 270 days delinquent in making student loan payments.

Deferred Admission
The practice of some colleges of allowing an accepted student to postpone enrollment for one year.

Disability Services or Access Office
The Disability Services or Disability Support Services (DS/DSS) Office at a college or university. This office helps students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations in their classes as long as proper documentation is provided and the student requests accommodations.

DS/DSS/Access Office
The Disability Services or Disability Support Services Office at a college or university. This office helps students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations in their classes as long as proper documentation is provided and the student requests accommodations.

Early Action
An application process that permits students to make application to an institution of preference and receive a decision during the senior year, well in advance of the normal response dates in spring.  The candidate is not committed to enroll at that particular institution.

Early Admission
Admitting students of superior ability into college courses and programs before they have completed the standard high school program.

Early Decision
An application process in which a student makes a commitment to the institution that, if admitted, the student will enroll.  Only a student who can make a deliberate and well-reasoned first choice decision should apply under an Early Decision plan because the institution will usually require a nonrefundable deposit well before May 1.

Course students may select to meet total graduation requirements.  (Example:  You may enroll in an art, history, or sociology class.)

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Amount the parents and student can reasonably be expected to pay toward the cost of attendance; the amount is based on a federal analysis of the family’s financial information reported on the FAFSA.

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Federal Consolidation Loan
An option for those who wish to combine all of their eligible student loans into one loan and make one payment to a single holder.

Federal Direct Loans
Loans made by the federal government directly to qualifying students and parents through participating colleges.  Stafford and PLUS loans are available under the Direct Loan program.

Federal Pell Grant
Financial assistance awarded by the federal government on the basis of need and designed to provide the “floor” of an aid package for postsecondary education.  The grant may be used toward tuition, room and board, books, or other educational costs and requires no repayment.

Federal Perkins Loan Program
Loans funded by the federal government and awarded by the institution.  The loans feature low interest rates and are repayable over an extended period of time.

Federal PLUS Program
Provides low-interest federal loans to credit-approved parents of eligible undergraduate students.  Repayment begins 60 days after loan funds are disbursed.  Loans are available from participating banks, lending institutions, and participating Direct Lending schools.

Federal Work-Study
A government-supported financial aid program coordinated through financial aid offices whereby an eligible student (based on need) may work part time while attending class at least half time, generally in career-related jobs.

Financial Need
The difference between a student’s cost of attendance and expected family contribution; the student must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for need-based financial assistance programs.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The application required for students to be considered for federal student financial aid.  Obtain a FAFSA from a high school or college for the appropriate year (usually available in November).  The FAFSA is processed free of charge, and it is used by most state agencies and colleges.

Grace Period
Period of time before a student borrower must begin repaying an educational loan.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
An indicator of a student’s overall scholastic performance.  The GPA is computed by multiplying the number of grade points earned in each course (generally, A = 4, B = 3, C =2, D = 1, F = 0) time the number of course hours/credit hours, then dividing the sum by the total number of course hours/credit hours carried.

Graduation Requirements
Established by your local school district and must include state standards.

Awards based on financial need that do not require repayment.  Grants are available through the federal government, state agencies, and educational institutions.

Guaranty Agency (Guarantor)
Organization that administers the Federal Family Education Loan Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education.

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Honors Program
Any program offering opportunity for superior students to enrich their educational experience through independent, advanced, or accelerated study.

Independent Study
An arrangement that allows a student to earn college credit through individual study, usually planned with and supervised by a faculty adviser.

Banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions that provide the actual student loan funds for the federal student loan programs.

Money borrowed that must be repaid with interest; student borrowers must repay their loans even if they do not complete or are dissatisfied with their education.

The subject of study in which a student chooses to specialize: a series of related courses, taken primarily in the junior and senior years.

Midwest Student Exchange Program
Reduced tuition rate for Missouri residents who enroll in designated degree programs at participating institutions in Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

Missouri College Guarantee Program
Need-based grant for Missouri residents based on high school and college academic achievement.

Missouri Saving for Tuition (MO$T) Program
State-sponsored savings programs that allows state tax exempt contributions of up to $8,000 annually per contributor; for more information, call the MO$T toll free number (1-888-414-MO$T).

NCAA Initial-Eligibility Certification
In order to participate in intercollegiate sports at NCAA Division I and Division II colleges, student-athletes must submit their high school transcript, the Clearinghouse “Student Release Form,” and ACT/SAT scores to the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse.  When registering for either test, students should enter “9999” as one of the college choices to have test scores sent to the Clearinghouse.

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Open Admissions
The policy of some college of admitting virtually all high school graduates, regardless of academic qualifications such as high school grades and admission test scores.

Origination Fee
This fee is up to 3% of the student loan amount.  Your lender will deduct the origination fee from your student loan proceeds and remit the fee to the U.S. Department of Education.

A tenth-grade assessment program from ACT designed to help students improve their postsecondary planning and preparation.  PLAN contains academic tests, an interest inventory, study skills assessment, and student information section and is complementary in content and format to the ACT Assessment.

Postsecondary Institution
Any educational institution offering a course of study beyond the high school level.

A course that must be taken before enrollment in another related course.  (Example: French I is a prerequisite for French II.)

Period of time after the grace period when a borrower must make monthly payments on an educational loan.

Required Elective
A course student may select to meet a graduation requirement.  (Example: You may choose to enroll in Geometry or Calculus to meet math requirements.)

Rolling Admission
An admission procedure by which the college considers each application as soon as all required materials have been received.  The college then notifies each applicant of acceptance or rejection as soon as possible

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Student Aid Report (SAR)

Information received approximately 3-6 weeks after your FAFSA has been processed.  It reports the information from student applications and, if there are no questions or problems with an application, the SAR reports the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).


A test of verbal and mathematical ability given by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) throughout the year at specified test centers.

Awards to students based on merit or merit plus need, which do not need to be repaid.

Special Term Study
A program of concentrated study on a single topic offered by some college for short periods such as one month.  Special speakers, resources, or field experiences are often made available.

Student Support Services (SSS)
This is a TRIO program designed to assist college students. Students typically meet with a mentor, and can receive tutoring and other benefits depending on the program.

Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
Need-based loan available to eligible undergraduate and graduate students; generally, the federal government pays the interest as long as the borrower is enrolled at least half time and during the borrower’s six-month grace period and authorized deferment periods.

The official record of high school or college courses and grades generally required as part of the college application.  There is usually a cost to have your transcript released.  Please note that most institutions will not release your transcripts until all unpaid balances have been taken care of.

Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
A loan that is not need-based but has the same terms and conditions as a subsidized Federal Stafford Loan except the borrower is responsible for all interest payments.

Wait List
A term used by institutions to describe a process by which they may initially delay offering or denying admission.  Rather, the institution extends the possibility of admission in the future.  Colleges offer admission to wait list candidates if insufficient numbers of regularly admitted candidates accept their offers of admission.

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