Financial Aid Terms

STAR College Consulting provides basic financial aid information and can refer you to financial aid and planning experts when you’re ready.

Types of Aid

School (Institution)

  • Merit Scholarship
    • Free money
    • Based on academic merit (GPA/Testing)
  • Athletic Scholarship
    • Partial
  • School Grants
    • Free money based on financial need or other factors
  • School Scholarships
    • Free money based on variety of factors
  • School Loans


  • Cal Grants
    • To qualify, you must meet the eligibility and financial requirements as well as minimum GPA requirements
    • Cal grants can be used at any University of California, California State University or Community College, as well as qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California
    • Does not need to be paid back
    • Three kinds of Cal Grants help with a variety of tuition, fees and living expenses
  • Other California Grants available for a variety of programs through the California Student Aid Commission

Federal Aid

  • Perkins STUDENT Loan
    • A need-based student loan offered by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Direct Stafford STUDENT Loan
    • Subsidized Loan
      • Offered to students based on demonstrated financial need
      • No interest accrued while attending school
      • Begin paying 6 months after graduation
    • Unsubsidized Loan
      • Do not need to demonstrate financial need
      • Interest accrues from date loan funded
      • Begin paying 6 months after graduation
  • PARENT Plus Loan
    • A loan offered to parents
  • Work Study
    • Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need
    • Earn money to help pay education and living expenses
  • Pell Grant
    • A grant awarded based on demonstrated financial
    • Does not have to be repaid

Key Definitions YOU Need to Know

Example Definition
Cost of Attendance $40,000 Cost of attendance; usually includes tuition, fees, estimate for books, housing and meals, and estimate of travel and miscellaneous personal costs.
LESS – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from FAFSA $15,000 Once you file your Federal Application for Financial Aid the FAFSA will calculate the Expected Family Contribution based on parent/student income and assets. This amount is excluded from Financial Aid (Basic formula uses % of parent income/assets, % student income/assets).
EQUALS – Financial Aid Need $25,000 The school you decide to attend will confirm your Financial Aid package. This can be a combination of Federal and Institutional Loans, Grants and Scholarships, etc.
Un-met Financial Aid need $TBD While schools try to meet as much of the “Need” as possible it is not typical to have 100% of the need met.  Financial Aid resources vary greatly from school to school.

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