Arkansas State University - Newport

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Financial Aid Definitions

This glossary contains basic definitions and acronyms for many of the financial aid terms used in this site. Full definitions and explanations can be obtained at the ASU-Newport Financial Aid/Student Services Office.

Academic Year

A period of time, usually nine months, during which a full-time student is expected to complete the equivalent of at least two semesters.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

All income that must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service and on which taxes must be paid.

Arkansas Assistance Grant

A need-based grant funded through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

ASU-Newport Data/ Title IV Authorization Form

The information form provided to each student and used by ASU-Newport to collect needed data.


Cash on hand in checking and savings accounts; trusts, stocks, bonds, other securities; real estate, houses, income-producing property; business equipment and inventory.

Award Letter

A letter notifying eligible financial aid applicants of the types and amounts of aid awarded student responsibilities, and the conditions governing the award.


See Cost of Attendance.

System-Based Programs

The university administers federal student financial aid programs that, including Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study.

Cost of Attendance

The estimated cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses.

Dependent Student

A student who is required to list parents’ or guardians’ income in calculating financial need (see the section on Dependent or Independent in this guide).

Direct Parent Loan (PLUS)

A long-term loan guaranteed by the federal government and made to the parent of a dependent student.

Direct Student Loans

Low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution


The process by which financial aid funds are given to students for use in meeting education-related expenses.


Written statements and forms explaining the logic or steps followed in specific actions or providing proof or validation of specific actions, e.g., income tax returns, legal papers, etc.

Enrollment Status

Students are defined as less than half time, half time, three-quarter time, or full-time depending on the number of credit hours taken each semester.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The amount a student, spouse, and parents (if dependent) are expected to pay toward the student’s cost of attendance (estimated by a standard formula).

Federal Pell Grant

A federal program to provide basic education funding for undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

A system-based federal grant program available to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.

Federal College Work Study (FCWS)

A federal, system-based, part-time employment program that provides on-site jobs for undergraduate and graduate students who show financial need.

Financial Aid Award

The financial assistance offered to a student who has been determined eligible.

Financial Aid Package

A financial aid award that includes one or a combination of types of financial aid.

Financial Need

The difference between the cost of attendance and the amount the student (and parents, if dependent) can pay (EFC).

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

A financial aid application form completed by students (and their parents, if dependent) to determine eligibility for financial aid programs.

Full-Time Student

An undergraduate student taking a minimum of 12 course hours per semester.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A numerical value calculated by a standard formula from your letter grades and credit hours and used to measure your academic progress for financial aid, academic standards, and graduation requirements.


A type of financial aid, usually based on financial need that does not have to be repaid. Half-Time Student. An undergraduate student taking 6-8 credit hours per semester.

Independent Student

A student who is not required to list parents’ or guardians’ income in calculating financial need (see the section on Dependent or Independent in this guide).

Indirect Costs

Expenses related to room and board, personal costs, transportation, and other education-related expenses.


An electronic SAR generated by the Federal processor.

Legal Guardian

An individual appointed by a court to act as a legally responsible party for, and to provide financial support for, another person.

Less Than Half-Time Student

An undergraduate student taking less than 6 credit hours per semester.


Money advanced to a person under a legal contract (promissory note) requiring the person to repay the money, usually with interest, under a schedule and conditions stated in the contract.

Need Analysis

A system using a standard formula to estimate an applicant’s need for financial help in meeting education-related expenses. The primary elements of need are the Expected Family Contribution and education-related expenses. 

Nontaxable Income

Income on which the Internal Revenue Service does not require you to pay taxes.


Money paid for tuition, which is returned to a student or to a financial aid program account when the student withdraws from the university or a course before the scheduled dates for no refund.

Remedial Courses

Courses required for students who score below a designated point on entrance tests. These courses do not count as credit and are not included in grade point computations.

Regular Student

A student enrolled at ASU-Newport who has fulfilled all admission requirements and is pursuing a degree.


Excess money paid to a student who fails to complete a period of enrollment. The student must return this money to the program from which it originated.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The progress required of a financial aid recipient in credit hours taken per semester, grade point average maintained, and other criteria. (See pages 4-6).

Student Aid Report (SAR)

Document sent to a student aid applicant reporting the results of Pell Grant processing of the student’s application.

Three-Quarter Time

An undergraduate student taking 9-11 credit hours per semester. Undergraduate Student. A student who does not have a baccalaureate or first professional degree.


A process that requires the applicant to provide information such as federal income tax return transcripts to verify reported information. All requested documents must be submitted within 30 days.