Financial Aid Standard Definitions

Standard Definitions

This glossary contains definitions of language and terms commonly associated with Financial Aid. These definitions will provide prospective and current students with greater clarity and understanding of the use and meaning of terms used on financial aid communications. The below definitions have been adopted by the financial aid community and these definitions are used consistently across colleges and universities.

  • Cost of Attendance (COA): The estimated cost of attending Tri-County Technical College for one academic year. This amount includes:
    • Tuition: charges for classes
    • Fees: charges for other college services
    • Room and Board: allowance for rent, utilities, and food
    • Estimated transportation expenses
    • Estimated Books and supplies expense
    • Estimated Personal or Miscellaneous Costs
  • Direct Costs: Expenses the student and his/her family pays to the college
  • Drop: Students who drop a course by the drop date will receive a 100% refund for the tuition and fees of that course and the course will be removed from their academic record.
  • Educational Loans: A form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest.
    • Federal Direct Student Loan: Loan funds provided to a student by the U.S. Department of Education, via Tri-County Technical College. The application for a loan is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Acceptance is confirmed by completing and submitting a Federal Direct Student Loan Affirmation form. There are two types of Federal Direct Student Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.
      • Students who demonstrate financial need can qualify for subsidized loans. The government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in schoool, at least half-time.
      • Students who do not demonstrate financial need qualify for unsubsidized loans and interest accrues while the student is in school.
    • Federal Parent Loan (PLUS): Federal loan program that allows parents to borrow loan funds through the U.S. Department of Education. Parents who have no adverse credit history can borrow up to the cost of attendance each year, less any financial aid. Acceptance is confirmed by completing the online PLUS applciation and submitting the Federal Parent PLUS Affirmation Form. PLUS loans must be repaid with interest.
    • Private (Alternative) Loan: A loan from an institutional lender used to pay for up to the annual cost of attendance, less any financial aid received. Private loans typically require borrowers to be creditworthy or have a co-signer. These loans carry varying interest rates, fees, and repayment options. Repayment of interest (and ofter principal) generally begins immediately, with some lenders offering the options to defer for in-school periods.
  • Enrollment Level: Basic levels of enrollment - Undergraduate (students seeking an associate's degree, a certificate, a diploma, or a baccalaureate degree). Tri-County Technical College offers associate's degrees, certificates, and diplomas. The amounts and types of financial aid a student is eligible for is determined, partially, by their enrollment level.
  • Enrollment Status: Academic workload that a student is attempting for an academic period. This relates to the number of credit hours taken by a student during a given semester.
    • Full-time status: at least 12 credit hours
    • Three-quarter time status: at least 9-11 credit hours
    • Half-time status: at least 6-8 credit hours
    • Less than half-time status: 1-5 credit hours
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC): A measure of how much a student and his/her family can be expected to contribute towards the student's edcuation for the academic year. The EFC is calculated according to a formula specified in the law. It is based on the information provided, on the FAFSA, by the student and his/her family.
  • Federal Pell Grant: A grant provided by the federal government to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. These students have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) below a threshold designated annually by the U.S. Department of Education, based on the amount of program funds appropriated by Congress.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): A grant provided by the federal government to qualified students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Pell grant recipients and funds must be awarded by the school in lowest EFC order. (Limited amount appropriated and awarded by priority.)
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS): Program that provides part-time employment to students who need the earnings to help meet their cost of postsecondary education. Program provides monthly wage to students and encourages students to participate in community service activities.
  • Grant: Aid awarded to a student that does not ned to be repaid. Grants are typically based on financial need.
  • Indirect Costs: Expenses incurred that the student and/or family may pay to a third party other than the college (landlord, business, etc.)
  • Net Cost: The amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all grants and scholarships are substracted.
  • Out-of-pocket Cost: Difference between the cost of attendance and all grants and scholarships. Out-of-pocket cost can be covered through a variety of sources- savings, income, and educational loans.
  • Scholarship: Aid awarded to the student that does not need to be repaid. Scholarships awards are typically based on merit or a combination of merit and need, such as academic distinction, talent, affiliation with various groips, or career goals.
  • Self-Help: Financial aid in the form of loans or student employment. Loans are used to help pay the remaining net cost after all other aid is deducted. Student employment earnings (including Work-Study) are generally not deducted from billed costs. Earnings can be used to help cover indirect costs and are paid in the form of monthly wages to the student.
  • Verification: The process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by the student on the FAFSA. In order to complete the verification process, students are required to provide certain documents to the school for review.
  • Withdrawal Date: Students who withdraw from a course after the drop date will not receive a refund for the tuition and fees for that course. Students who withdraw from a course before the withdrawal deadline will receive a grade of W on their academic record.

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Contact Us

Financial Aid
(864) 646-1650
Toll-free number (within 864 area code): 1-866-269-5677 x1650
Fax: (864) 646-1890

Office Location:
Miller Hall
Office Hours:
Monday - Thursday:
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.