UCI Financial Aid Glossary


Understand the terminology, programs, and acronyms that come with the financial aid process at UCI.

Decoding the Language of Financial Aid


Lost in the jargon? Overwhelmed by acronyms? You’re not the only one. That’s why we made a financial aid glossary to demystify the process, word by word.

AssetsFinancial information that makes up you and your family’s net worth, like investments, stocks, bonds, and more. 

Business Value: The market value of land, buildings, machinery, equipment, and inventory.

Cost of Attendance: What you pay for a year of college.

Dependent Student: Students aged under 24 whose parents’ income is used in calculating their family’s expected contribution.

Direct Loans: Student loans offered by the federal government under the Federal Direct Loan program.

Eligible Non-Citizen: U.S. permanent resident with an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551), a conditional permanent resident (I-551C), or any other eligible non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any of the following: "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Parole," or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant."

Enrollment Verification of Family Members: Claiming more than one family member in college on your FAFSA.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The portion of your and your family's financial resources that should be available to pay for your education.

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

FAFSA on the Web: How to apply for financial aid online.

Federal Methodology: A formula, defined by statute, used to determine the expected family contribution (EFC) for federal financial aid.

Federal Processor: The federal government's system that analyzes your FAFSA, calculates your family’s contribution, and sends your Student Aid Report (SAR)

Financial Aid Hold: Prevents your financial aid from paying fees or being disbursed to you.

Financial Aid Package: A combined offer of financial aid, possibly including a grant, loan, and/or work-study.

Financial Eligibility: The aid you may be eligible to receive, calculated from college costs minus your EFC. 

Gift Aid: Aid that doesn’t have to be repaid, like scholarships and grants.

Grant: Need and merit-based aid that doesn’t have to be repaid.

Loan: Money you repay over time once you graduate or leave school.

Minimum Required Units (MRU): The number of units you need to register for before receiving your financial aid.

Need-based: Aid awarded on the determination of financial need.

Net Cost:  The amount of money students are responsible for paying after financial aid has been applied.

Over Award: When you receive more financial aid than you’re eligible for.

Parent Share: Your college costs, minus what you contribute (gift aid, work study, loans, and your share). Parent share may be met with a PLUS loan.

Promissory Note: A legally-binding contract between borrower and lender listing a loan’s terms and conditions.

Revisions: Changes to your financial aid award due to changes in your eligibility, expected family contribution, or types of aid available.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): Guidelines regarding the academic progress you need to maintain to receive financial aid.

Scholarship: Gift award based on grades or other achievement.

Student Aid Report (SAR): This summarizes the information you reported on your FAFSA.

Student's Share: What you need to contribute to your school costs. This may come from your work-study, loans, savings, or summer earnings.

Verification: We may ask for information or documentation in addition to what you provide on the FAFSA.