Student Loan Glossary: Know Before You Sign

Know Before You Sign: A 40-Term Student Loan + Glossary

by Alan Jackson — 2 months ago in Finance 4 min. read

Entering the empire of student loans can be unavoidable, extraordinarily for those new to the borrowing process. The following glossary will break down 40 key terms, offering clarity on the language used by lenders, financial institutions, and educational authorities. By assigning yourself with this knowledge, you will be better enabled to make suggested decisions about your student loans.

A 40-Term Student Loan Glossary

1. Annual Percentage Rate (APR): It identifies the total cost of borrowing over a year, including interest and fees. It’s expressed as a percentage, providing a complete measure of the loan’s cost.

2. Grace Period: A grace period is the timeframe after graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment during which borrowers are not required to make loan payments. It provides a transitional period before regular repayments begin.

3. Subsidized Loan: A federal loan where the government covers the interest during certain periods, such as the favor period and delay. This makes it an extra cost-effective borrowing option for students.

4. Unsubsidized Loan: Unlike established loans, unsubsidized loans collect interest from the time they are expended. Borrowers are answerable for paying both principal and interest.

5. FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): It is a crucial form for students seeking federal financial aid. It completes capability for allows, loans, and work-study programs based on the applicant’s financial situation.

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6. Deferment: Deferment is a temporary postponement of loan payments, typically granted during specific circumstances such as economic hardship or returning to school.

7. Forbearance: Forbearance grants borrowers the to nonce stop making payments or reduce payments for a specified period. Interest usually continues to accrue during this time.

8. Default: Default happens when a borrower fails to refund the loan according to the terms outlined in the debenture note. It can result in tough consequences, including damaged credit and legal action.

9. Loan Forgiveness: Certain programs pardon part or all of a borrower’s student loan debt, often in exchange for authorizing services such as working in public service or teaching in low-income areas.

10. Private Loan: A private loan is not federally financed and is provided by private lenders. Interest rates, terms, and conditions extend, and they may lack the borrower protections offered by federal loans.

11. Master Promissory Note (MPN): It is a constitutional document subscribed by the borrower, outlining the terms and conditions of the loan. It attends as a binding agreement to refund the loan.

12. Principal: The principal is the initial amount borrowed, excluding interest. Repayments go towards reducing the principal amount.

13. Interest: It is the cost of borrowing money, typically evidenced as a percentage of the loan amount. It represents the charge imposed by the lender for the utilization of their funds.

14. Capitalization: Capitalization happens when unpaid interest is added to the loan’s principal. This boosts the overall amount owed and can result in higher interest charges.

15. Direct Loans: Direct Loans are federal student loans suggested personally by the U.S. Department of Education. They include financed and unsubsidized loans for eligible students.

16. PLUS Loan (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students): A federal loan available to parents of dependent undergraduate students, helping cover education expenses not met by other financial aid.

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17. Consolidation: Loan consolidation involves combining multiple loans into one, streamlining repayment with a single monthly payment. It may also extend the repayment period.

18. Entrance Counseling: Mandatory counseling for first-time federal loan borrowers. It provides information about the loan terms, responsibilities, and budgeting.

19. Exit Counseling: Counseling provided to borrowers leaving school or dropping below half-time enrollment. It covers loan repayment options and obligations.

20. Income-Driven Repayment (IDR): It plans to adjust loan payments based on the borrower’s income, making repayment more manageable. Payments may be lower but can extend the repayment period.

21. Standard Repayment Plan: A fixed repayment plan with equal monthly payments over a specific period, usually 10 years.

22. Graduated Repayment Plan: Payments start low and increase at specified intervals, often every two years. The plan is designed to accommodate increasing income over time.

23. Extended Repayment Plan: Extends the repayment period beyond the standard 10 years, reducing monthly payments. It is available for borrowers with high loan amounts.

24. Refinancing: It includes replacing existing loans with new ones, often with extra approving terms, such as lower interest rates. It’s typically done through a private lender.

25. Loan Servicer: It is a company responsible for managing loan accounts, processing payments, and handling other executive tasks in support of the lender.

26. Credit Score: A numerical representation of a borrower’s creditworthiness, influencing the interest rate and terms offered on loans.

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27. Cost of Attendance (COA): The COA embraces the overall estimated costs related to attending a particular educational institution, curtaining tuition, fees, accommodation, meals, textbooks, and various miscellaneous costs.

28. Expected Family Contribution (EFC): It is the amount the federal government awaits a student’s family to give toward their education. It is resolved by the FAFSA.

29. Pell Grant: A federal grant awarded based on financial need, providing financial assistance that does not require repayment.

30. Federal Work-Study: A federal program suggesting part-time employment to capable students to help cover education expenses.

31. Merit-Based Aid: Financial aid awarded based on academic or extracurricular successes rather than financial need.

32. Need-Based Aid: Financial aid awarded based on demonstrated financial need, typically determined by the FAFSA.

33. Scholarship: Financial aid awarded to students based on academic, athletic, or other successes. Scholarships do not require repayment.

34. Grant: Financial aid that does not require repayment, often awarded based on financial need or specific criteria.

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35. Direct Cost: Direct expenses constitute the charges explicitly invoiced by the educational institution, encompassing tuition, fees, accommodation, and meal costs.

36. Indirect Cost: Indirect costs include non-billed educational expenses such as books, transportation, and personal expenses.

37. Fixed Interest Rate: A fixed interest rate remains constant throughout the loan term, providing predictable monthly payments.

38. Variable Interest Rate: A flexible interest rate can change over time founded on market conditions, leading to fluctuations in monthly payments.

39. Default Rate: The default rate is the percentage of borrowers entering default within a specific timeframe, often expressed annually.

40. Disbursement: It is the free of loan funds to the school or directly to the borrower, typically in multiple installments.


Equipping yourself with information about student loans is a pivotal measure in steering your financial trajectory. This glossary serves as a valuable asset, furnishing you with the vocabulary essential for making educated choices. Bear in mind that education is an investment, and grasping the nuances of student loans is fundamental in safeguarding that investment.

Alan Jackson

Alan is content editor manager of The Next Tech. He loves to share his technology knowledge with write blog and article. Besides this, He is fond of reading books, writing short stories, EDM music and football lover.

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