Financial Aid Terms

Comprehensive fee: What it costs to attend Carleton (tuition, housing, food, activity fee), not including personal costs like transportation, clothing, and books.

Cost of attendance: Total cost to attend Carleton, including the comprehensive fee plus estimates of variable personal costs

CSS Profile: A financial aid application for all students regardless of citizenship

Demonstrated financial need or demonstrated need: The difference between the cost of attendance and your family contribution

Student Aid Index (SAI): This is what your federal aid and in some cases your state aid is based on and is the result of completing the FAFSA

FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (for U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents)

Grant: A scholarship based on financial need; no repayment is necessary

Need-based aid: Based on financial need, rather than on merit or skills

Net cost or net price: The amount of money your family can expect to pay after all financial aid has been applied

Student employment: A paid position of up to 10 hours per week during the academic term

Academic Year: Carleton’s academic year consists of three terms that include fall, winter, and spring enrollment periods.

Accrue: The process where interest accumulates on a loan. When “interest accrues on a loan,” the interest due on the loan is accumulating.

Consolidation: The process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan.

Data Release Number (DRN): A four-digit number assigned to a student’s FAFSA that allows the student to release the FAFSA information to Carleton if it was not not originally listed on the FAFSA.

Default: Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to when you signed a promissory note. For the Direct Loan programs, default occurs if you fail to make a payment for 270 days. The consequences of default are severe and can include action to recover the money, notifying national credit bureaus, IRS withholding tax refunds, or having your employer withhold part of your wages (garnishment).

FSA ID: The username and password combination that serves as a student’s or parent’s identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as a digital signature on some online forms.

Grace Period: After a borrower graduates or leaves Carleton, certain loans have several months before payments are due. This period is called the “grace period.” During the grace period, no interest accrues on subsidized loans. Interest accrues on unsubsidized loans during grace periods, and this interest is capitalized when borrowers’ loans enter repayment.

Interest: A loan expense charged by the lender and paid by the borrower for the use of borrowed money.
The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount (loan amount) borrowed.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS): NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education’s database for federal student financial aid. By using your U.S. Department of Education FSA ID, you can get information on federal loan and Federal Pell Grant amounts, outstanding balances, the status of your loans, and disbursements made.

Principal: The amount of money borrowed by the student or parent. Interest is charged on this amount.

Promissory Note: A promissory note is a binding legal document you sign when you get a student loan. It lists the conditions under which you’re borrowing and the terms under which you agree to pay back the loan. It will include information on how interest is calculated and what deferment, forbearance, and cancellation provisions are available to the borrower.

Subsidized: A loan for which a borrower is not responsible for the interest while in an in-school, grace period, or deferment status. Subsidized loans include Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loans.

Unsubsidized: A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan. Unsubsidized loans include Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Unsubsidized Consolidation Loans.

Untaxed Income: All income received that is not reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or is reported but excluded from taxation. Such income would include but not be limited to untaxed capital gains, interest on tax-free bonds, dividend exclusion, and military and other subsistence and living allowances.

Verification: Verification is a process where Carleton confirms the data reported on your FAFSA. Carleton will contact you to request documentation that supports income and other information that you reported. If the requested documentation is not provided, you may not be eligible for Title IV aid.

Student Aid Report (SAR): Your Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes the information you submit on your FAFSA and provides you with your Student Aid Index (SAI). You should receive it by the next business day after your FAFSA has been processed.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): To be eligible to receive federal student financial aid, you must meet and maintain Carleton’s standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP).

Enrollment Status: The number of credits a student is registered for during a term at Carleton. Students must be enrolled for at least 12 credits each term.