Financial Aid Definitions

May 29th, 2012 by Jennifer Frankel

Are you confused about the financial aid jargon? If you are a student looking to get additional financing to support your education overseas, you may need help understanding the lingo. Here’s a list of financial aid definitions that commonly appear throughout the world of loans, scholarships and grants.

  • Award package – This is typically given by your college or university that details the type and amount of financial aid you’ll be offered.
  • Capitalization – Interest rates are deferred and added to the principal of the loan.
  • Cost of education – Many financial aid packages will want to know your cost of education. This includes tuition, fees, books, transportation, room and board, etc.
  • Deferment – When international students take out a loan, the deferment period is when payments of principal (the amount you borrow) are not required.
  • Departmental scholarship – Did you apply to a specific department at a college or university? This is typically an award given to a distinguished student.
  • Disbursement – Students will see this phrase commonly in international financial aid. This is the process by which funds are given to students to meet their educational and living expenses. In terms of loans, this is when the amount you want to borrow is given to the you – this is typically dispersed for an academic period.
  • Financial aid – of course we need to define this! – financial aid is the money given to student based on both need and merit in the form of scholarships, grants, employment (which is limited and restricted for international students) and loans.
  • Foreign student – When it comes to financial aid, this is a student who has their allegiance to another country other than the country they are studying in. For example, foreign students are typically on a student or exchange visa and are ineligible for federal financial assistance.
  • Need based aid – An award granted to a student based on the financial need of the student. These awards are limited for international students.
  • Tuition waivers – A handful of U.S. states are now offering tuition waivers to international students in state institutions if students contribute to the local community – this means that students don’t pay for their tuition. Keep in mind, though, that this is generally awarded to graduate students.

Is there another phrase that you’ve come across and don’t understand? Our financial aid definitions are common phrases that you’ll run across in scholarships, grants and loans – but there are many others. We have our experts ready to help you navigate the complicated world of financial aid as you study overseas.


  1. fofie mireille tazehnkeang says:

    i need some one to help me further my education abroad.i read geography in the university of cameroon.thanks

  2. fofie mireille tazehnkeang says:

    if some one can help me further my education abroad,i promise i will do my best to succeed by working hard so as the sponsorer be proud of me.i read geography in the yaounde 1 university of cameroon and i wish to further it abroad.please can some one help me to further my education abroad?thanks

  3. caleb says:

    i really need help with funds for my education in the state i just got accepted to college and i don’t have any funds for college if your guy can help me in any way i will be happy

    • Bryanna Lindblom says:

      Hi Caleb,

      Congrats on your acceptance. If you are interested in finding out your international student loan options, you can do so here. If you would like to search through scholarships, you can start by looking here.

  4. isaac leonard says:

    well thanks guys on the breaking down of these terms.i will be through with my bachelor degree in 2months.i just want to know if it is compulsory i have working experience before i can apply for schooling in the usa..also will i ever be able to get a full scholarship in the usa.

    • Bryanna Lindblom says:

      Hi Isaac,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the information.

      Each school will have their own acceptance criteria that students must meet. You would need to contact the school of your interest directly to see what these are and if you qualify. To find a scholarship that will meet your needs, you can start your search here. Good luck.

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