Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

Welcome! This page is designed to help clarify the terms that are used most often by the Student Financial Services. We hope this glossary will be a useful tool in helping you manage your financial aid.

  • Appeal - A formal request to have a financial aid administrator review your aid eligibility and possibly adjust your FAFSA figures or adjust your financial aid award. For example, if you believe the financial information on your financial aid application does not reflect your family's current ability to pay (e.g., because of death of a parent, unemployment or other unusual circumstances), you should contact your financial aid counselor and submit a letter of appeal. Your counselor may require additional documentation of the special circumstances you outline in your letter.

 

  • APR  - The Annual Percentage Rate, or APR, is the interest rate that results from including the nominal (advertised) interest rate and other factors that affect the cost of borrowing, such as the repayment schedule, repayment options, fees, etc.

 

  • Borrower – The person who is legally responsible for paying back the loan.

 

  • Budget/Cost of Attendance - The total amount it costs the student to go to school, including tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. Loan fees, if applicable, may also be included in the budget.

 

  • Capitalized Interest – Unpaid accumulated interest that is added to the loan principal. Because the principal increases, so does the total cost of the loan. 

 

  • Co-borrower/Co-signer – The person who is obligated to repay the debt if the primary borrower fails to meet the terms of repayment on the loan. Repayment activity is reported on both the borrower’s and co-borrower’s credit histories.

 

  • Default - Failure of the borrower to repay the loan in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.

 

  • Deferment - The temporary postponement of loan payments. Most federal loan programs allow students to defer their loans while they are in school at least half time. You can't get a deferment if your loan is in default.

 

  • Delinquency - Failure to make loan payments by due dates, as specified in the promissory note and in the repayment plan. Delinquency can lead to default as well as negatively affect credit history.

 

  • EFC – Expected Family Contribution or the amount of money that the family is expected to be able to contribute to the student's education, as determined by FAFSA. The EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the student's dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income and assets.

 

  • Financial Need - The difference between student’s cost of attendance and the expected family contribution.  It is used in determining the student's eligibility for need-based financial aid. 

 

  • Fixed Interest Rate – An interest rate that is set for the entire life of the loan.

 

  • Forbearance - A period of time when the lender temporarily allows the borrower to postpone repaying the loan. During this time the interest charges continue to accrue and the borrower is responsible for paying that interest. Forbearances are granted at the lender's discretion, usually in cases of extreme financial hardship or other unusual circumstances when the borrower does not qualify for a deferment.

 

  • Graduate PLUS Loan - The federally sponsored student loan for graduate level students. Loan funds are disbursed directly to Northeastern in equal amounts over each term of enrollment for the academic year. Application requests are submitted to Student Financial Services.

 

  • Grant - A type of “gift aid” that is based on student’s financial need and does not have to be paid back.

 

  • Health Professions Loan - Federal loan with a 5% interest rate during repayment. Students  must demonstrate financial need and meet Northeastern's priority filing date for consideration, as funds are limited. Northeastern serves as the lender, and the loan is made with government funds. Repayment is made to Northeastern. There is a 12-month grace period prior to repayment following graduation, withdrawal, or a drop below half-time status. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in the School of Pharmacy in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences.

 

  • Interest - A fee that is charged periodically in exchange for the use of a lender's money. It is paid in addition to repaying the amount borrowed. Interest is usually calculated as a percentage of the outstanding principal balance of the loan. Interest rate may be fixed for the life of the loan, or it may be variable, depending on the terms of the loan.

 

  • Loan – a type of financial aid that must be repaid, with interest. 

 

  • Nursing Student Loan - Federal loan with a 5% interest rate during repayment. Students  must demonstrate financial need and meet Northeastern's priority filing date for consideration, as funds are limited. Northeastern serves as the lender, and the loan is made with government funds. Repayment is made to Northeastern. There is a 12-month grace period prior to repayment following graduation, withdrawal, or a drop below half-time status. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in the School of Nursing in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences.

 

  • Parent PLUS loan – This is a parent loan, where the borrower can be the biological or adoptive parent (or, in some cases, the stepparent) and must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed and extends up to 10 years. Application requests are submitted to Student Financial Services. Northeastern requires that a valid FAFSA be on file prior to our origination of a PLUS loan.

 

  • Perkins Loan - Federal loan with a 5% interest rate during repayment. Students  must demonstrate financial need and meet Northeastern's priority filing date for consideration, as funds are limited. Northeastern serves as the lender, and the loan is made with government funds. Repayment is made to Northeastern. There is a 9-month grace period prior to repayment following graduation, withdrawal, or a drop below half-time status. 

 

  • Principal - The principal or loan balance is the amount of money borrowed or remaining unpaid on a loan. Interest is charged as a percentage of the principal. It represents an agreement by the borrower to repay the debt according to the specified terms and conditions.

 

  • Promissory Note – A binding legal document that must be signed by the borrower before the loan funds are disbursed by the lender.

 

  • Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan – Federal student loan, for which the government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school and during the 6 month grace period. This loan is awarded to students based on financial need.

 

  • Supplemental Loan – A loan that is taken out through a private lending institution, a bank, or a credit union.

 

  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan – Federal student loan, for which the government does not pay the interest. The borrower is responsible for the interest on an unsubsidized loan from the date the loan is disbursed, even while the student is still in school. Students may avoid paying the interest while they are in school by capitalizing the interest, which increases the loan amount. Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need and may be used to finance the family contribution.

 

  • Variable Interest Rate - Interest rate that fluctuates with marketing conditions, and resets periodically, such as monthly, quarterly or annually.