Academic Year

A one year period between July 1 and June 30 although usually just Fall and Spring Semesters.


Award Letter

A notice from the financial aid office to an applicant that specifies the financial aid program and dollar amount of each award.


Cost of Attendance

The total of all costs a financial aid office estimates students will incur during attendance at the college. COA includes  direct costs that are charged by the college including tuition, fees, room and board.  Indirect costs are also included as part of the Cost of Attendance. This includes books, transportation, and personal expenses as well as an off-campus living allowance for commuter students. 

On an individul basis the cost of childcare needed during class time, a computer or other educational costs may be added.  Contact the Financial Aid Office for additional assistance. 


Debt to Income Ratio

The percentage of a loan applicant's income that is used to meet debt obligations. Many alternative loan programs use this calculation to determine an applicant's eligibility for a loan program.



Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed upon when you signed a promissory note. The consequences of default are severe.



A temporary period during which a borrower is not required to make payments. Deferments are more common in Federal loan programs rather than alternative loans.


Dependent and Independent Status

A student's status affects which loans and funding he or she may be eligible to receive. Independent students include any of the following: 24 years or older by December 31 of the award year; married; graduate or professional student; students with legal dependents other than a spouse for whom half support is provided; orphan or ward of the court; veteran of the U.S. military; homelessness. Dependent students: rely on their parent(s) for support and who do not meet the federal criteria of a self-supporting student.


Entrance Counseling

An online session that first time Federal Direct Loan borrowers must fulfill before the loan proceeds can be disbursed.  Parents who are required to use an endorser for the Parent PLUS Loan are also required to complete the online PLUS Credit Counseling.  The session provides information about the rights, responsbilities and obligations that are part of the loan.


Exit Counseling

An educational session that Federal Stafford or Perkins Loan borrowers must fulfill around the time of graduation or separation from a college.


Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The amount that a student and family can be expected to contribute towards educational expenses for the academic year. The EFC is calculated when the student submits a financial aid application (FAFSA). The calculation uses a Congressionaly-mandated forumla to determine the student's eligibility for financial assistance programs.  The family contribution may be towards transportation, personal expenses as well as tuition and fees.



Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the official application form for all federal financial aid programs. It is completed annually online at or  you may use the mobile app myStudentAid available on iOS or Android   It should NEVER cost money to complete and file the FAFSA.  Students need to reapply each year.  Income and tax information from 2019 is used on the 2021-22 FAFSA.  The school code for Wilson College is 003396.


Federal Pell Grant

A need based financial aid program funded by the federal government for students enrolled in an Associate or Bachelor's degree program. The amount of the award is based on the student's enrollment level (full time, three-quarter time, etc.) and the cost of attendance.  Eligibility is determined by the annual FAFSA.


Federal PLUS Loan

A federally guaranteed loan program that allows parents to borrow funds to help pay educational expenses. The program does require the borrower to pass a simple credit check. The loan's interest rate is a fixed rate of 7.079% for 2019-20.  The rate is reset each July 1.  Loam fees of 4.236% are deducted from the loan by the federal government prior to disbursement.


Federal Direct Loan

A federally guaranteed loan program that allows students to borrow funds from the U.S. Government. Direct loans allow the student to defer payments while s/he is in school. The interest rate for new Direct Loans is fixed at 2.750% for subsidized and unsubsidized loans for undergraduates and 4.30% for unsubsidized loans for graduate students during 2020-21.  The rates are reset each July 1.


Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

A need based financial aid program funded by the federal government. Colleges receive an annual allocation of FSEOG and, within certain guidelines, develop an awarding policy for this Fund. Only Federal Pell Grant recipients receive these funds.


Federal Work Study

Federally funded program that allows colleges and universities to create campus based employment programs for financial aid recipients. Wilson College also has State Work Study and Institutional Work Study programs.


Financial Need

The difference between a student's Cost of Attendance and Expected Family Contribution. It is the amount of financial aid the student needs to afford attendance at a particular college.



A special arrangement between the borrower and lender (at the lender's discretion) that allows the borrower to temporarily stop making payments, obtain an extension for making the payments, or make smaller payments than originally scheduled.



A type of financial aid award that does not have to be repaid. Grants are often made based on an applicant's financial need.


Loan period

The time frame that the loan will be used for based on the academic year.

Loan Servicer

The company that is responsible for managing your student loan account while you are in school and during repayment. You will repay the servicing company until the loan is paid in full.



Financial aid awards that the student (or other party like a parent) borrows from a lender, the school or other third party. Loans must be repaid by the borrower according to the terms of a promissory note, usually with interest.


Origination fee

A fee the borrower pays to the lender for originating a student loan. Origination fees are most often associated with Federal Stafford and PLUS loans. The maximum fee is 1.057% for Federal Stafford and 4.228% of the PLUS loan's principal balance in 2020-21.  The origination fees were updated for new loans disbursed after October 1, 2020.


Promissory Note

The binding legal document you sign when you get a student loan which lists the conditions under which you are borrowing and the terms under which you agree to pay back the loan.



A financial aid award that does not have to be repaid. Scholarships are generally made based on an applicant meeting certain eligibility criteria.


Subsidized Stafford Loan

This is a need-based federal student loan. While the student is in school, interest is paid by the federal government on the student's behalf.  There is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that a new student borrower can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. In general, students may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of their program. For more information regarding this 150% limitation on Direct Subsidized Loans please click here.


Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The unsubsidized Stafford loan is a non-need based federal loan program. Interest that accrues must be paid by the borrower, even while in school. The borrower may make periodic payment or allow the interest to accrue throughout enrollment and have it capitalize.