If you don't find the term you are looking for here, view Federal Student Aid's Glossary.

Financial Aid

We are sometimes asked why a student received only loans and “no financial aid.”  Grants, scholarships, work-study and loans are all considered forms of financial aid. It’s important to know that grants and work-study are programs with limited funding and are offered to students with the highest amount of financial need.

Student Aid Index (SAI)

Your SAI is a formula used by schools to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive, if any. It’s based on the financial information you provide through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive.

Estimated Financial Aid

We send prospective students an email with estimated financial aid to help them understand what they may be eligible for. The types and amounts of estimated aid can be different from the aid you will receive if we need to make corrections to your FAFSA or if requested information is not submitted in a timely fashion.

IRS Data Retrieval

We encourage use of the IRS Data Retrieval within the FAFSA to provide us with your parents’ tax return data (or your tax return data if you are independent, as defined by the FAFSA dependency questions).

Tax Return Transcript

We may request for you to submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript to provide us with your parents’ tax return data when the IRS Data Retrieval is not an option in the FAFSA or we need additional information to determine your financial aid award.

Financial Aid Offer

We send emails to inform students of their financial aid offer. Missing information can delay your financial aid offer, and if you are eligible for grant and work-study funding, you might miss out as funding is limited and offered on a first-completed, first-served basis.


The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records (which includes financial aid). FERPA prevents us from talking with parents about their student's financial aid once they have started attending college - unless they complete a Consent to Release to grant us permission.


Students may be asked to provide documentation in addition to the FAFSA as part of the verification process. Please only submit additional information if we request you to do so. Verification is a process to review data reported on your FAFSA and confirm its accuracy. If selected, students are required to provide any requested documentation. Failure to submit documentation by the deadline may result in a student not being eligible for aid.