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 SAI (Student Aid Index).

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."

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

FAFSA Submission Summary: This summarizes the information you reported on your FAFSA.

Federal Methodology: A formula, defined by statute, used to determine the Student Aid Index (SAI) for federal financial aid.

Federal Processor: The federal government's system that analyzes your FAFSA, calculates your SAI (Student Aid Index), and sends your FAFSA Submission Summary. 

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 SAI (Student Aid Index).

Gift Aid: Dollars awarded to the student that do not have to be paid back, unless the student fails to meet certain criteria, such as a service requirement that is specified as a condition of the gift aid or not completing the enrollment term for which the aid was awarded. Gift aid can include awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, awards, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based upon many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic ability, musical and/or theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups and/or career aspirations.

Grant: Gift aid that is typically based on financial need.

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:  Amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all gift aid is applied. Net cost can be covered through a variety of sources, including savings, income and education loans.

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, SAI (Student Aid Index), or types of aid available.

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

Scholarship: Gift aid that is typically based on merit, e.g., academic excellence, talent, career aspirations or affiliation with various groups, or on a combination of merit and need.

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.