There are many terms you may encounter on our website as your explore your different postsecondary pathways. Check out the following list for a definition of the most important terms related to financial aid.

Books and SuppliesThese are a type of indirect cost you can expect to incur each semester
ContributorsThe new Better FAFSA launching for the 2024-25 financial aid year, creates a new format in which "contributors" each must have their own Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID in order to contribute their relevant information. The five roles are: − Student (applicant) − Student Spouse − Parent − Parent Spouse or Partner − Preparer
Cost of AttendanceThis includes all direct costs (tuition and fees, room and board) and indirect costs (books and supplies, transportation, and any other fees) you have entered for your first year costs in our calculator. Overgrad allows you to turn indirect costs on and off when comparing awards.
CSS ProfileThe CSS Profile is an online application used by colleges and scholarship programs to award non-federal institutional aid.
Direct CostsThis refers to costs that are billed directly to you by the university while you are enrolled. This typically includes tuition and any additional fees that have been added to your semesterly bill (health fees, technology fees, orientation fees, etc)
Student Aid Index (SAI)The Student Aid Index (SAI), previously known as Expected Family Contribution (EFC), is an eligibility index number that a college’s or career school’s financial aid office uses to determine how much federal student aid the student would receive if the student attended the school. It is determined based on the information provided to the FAFSA.
FAFSAFree Application for Federal Student Aid is an application administered by the US Department of Education to provide families with any federal aid they are eligible for. It typically opens each year on October 1st, with the exception of the 24-25 application which will open by December 31st as the Better FAFSA is launched.
Federal Pell GrantA federal grant for undergraduate students with financial need
Federal SEOGThe federal supplemental educational opportunity grant, most often known as SEOG, is a type of grant reserved for students and families with the highest financial need. If it is offered by the university you may see it on your award letter.
First year costsRemember that your award letters are based on your first year of expenses and both the university fees and aid will be subject to change throughout your time enrolled in school.
Grants & ScholarshipsA type of gift aid, meaning it will not have to be repaid
Grants From StateIf your state offers financial aid assistance separate from federal financial aid, you will have the opportunity to enter any awards you may receive from them. Make sure to apply separately if your state requires it.
Housing and MealsAlso referred to as room and board, if you decide to live on campus these are the fees you can expect to pay in order to have housing and a meal plan.
IDOCsIDOC is a service run by College Board that collects family financial documents and distributes them to institutions on behalf of the student.
Indirect CostsThis refers to costs that you will incur while enrolled in university, but may not be directly billed by the school. For example, books, supplies, transportation and general cost of living expenses.
MAX Family ContributionThis is the amount your family can pay each year towards your postsecondary expenses. This number could be less than, equal to, or greater than your EFC.
Military BenefitsBenefits such as the GI bill which provide assistance to active and formerly active military members and their qualifying family members
Net CostIf you entered your family's income into Overgrad, we show you what you should expect to pay each year to attend the university/college. If you did not enter your family income, we will show you the average across the entire school. This is the average net cost for the university and is not exactly what you will pay. For public schools, net price only includes in-state students so expect the price to be significantly higher if you are out-of-state.
Non-Custodial ProfileA noncustodial parent is typically the parent the student did not live with most of the time during the past year in the case of parents that are separated or divorced.
Other CostsAny other indirect or direct cost you or the university have identified can go here
Out of PocketThis is the estimated annual bill that you will be left with after your scholarships, grants, and loans have been applied.
Parent PLUS LoanA type of federal loan available to the parents of a dependent undergraduate student enrolled in school for up to the full cost of attendance each year. Parents are responsible for repaying this loan and any associated interest and fees.
Perkins LoanA type of federal loan that is disbursed and managed by your institution for undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate the financial need.
Private LoanA loan students and their families may pursue from private lenders such as banks and credit unions
Subsidized LoanA type of federal loan based on financial need, also referred to as the Direct Subsidized Loan, for which the government pays the interest that accrues while you are in school at least half-time, on deferment, grace or any other status which qualifies.
TransportationThis is another type of indirect cost you can expect to incur each semester as a result of having to attend college. This might include the cost of your flight, public transportation, gas, etc.
Tuition and FeesThese are the direct costs billed to you by the university in order to attend
Unmet needThe amount shown here is your calculated unmet need. This means you have not yet identified where these funds will come from and you will need to find some way to come up with this money (via private loans, additional personal/family contributions, petitioning your award letter with your university, etc). You could be removed from the university after your freshman year if you cannot cover this expense.
Unsubsidized LoanA type of federal loan, also referred to as the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, for which you (the student borrower) are responsible for paying the interest along with the principal balance. Interest begin accruing the day your loan is disbursed on through the life of your loan. You can apply for just an unsubsidized loan if your parent is not providing financial information.
Work StudyThis is a federal student aid program that offers part time employment on campus for students while they are enrolled. Remember that this is eligibility for work study jobs on campus, not a guarantee that you will get a job or earn as much as your maximum award.