• Lisa Ericson

Full List of Common Student Loan Acronyms

Guest Author - Jeffrey Lin

Finance professionals love their acronyms. Ever wondered what all these letters mean? Here is the full list of the common acronyms you're going to encounter around student loans.

For more financial terms visit our student loans glossary.

AGD: Anticipated Graduation Date

This is the date that a student expects to graduate, which begins the grace period for student loan repayments, during which, the borrower does not need to make principal payments on a loan.

AWG: Administrative Wage Garnishment

This involves withholding wages from a borrower in order to repay a defaulted loan. This is a type of wage garnishment unique to the US Department of Education and creditors of federally guaranteed student loans.

BBAY: Borrower Based Academic Year

The academic year which is individualized to each particular borrower.

BEOG: Basic educational opportunity grant

Also currently known as the Federal Pell Grant Program.

CDR: Cohort Default Rate

This represents the percentage of borrowers who enter loan repayment in one fiscal year and then default on said loans by the end of the next federal fiscal year if it is a two year rate.

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations

The set of regulations that govern student assistance/aid programs.

COA: Cost of Attendance

An estimate of a student’s total education expenses for a particular enrollment period.

DAA: Default Aversion Assistance

This is an activity performed by guaranty agencies to encourage borrowers to repay delinquent student loans.

DL: Direct Loan Program

A subsidized federal loan program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. This is the only type of federally guaranteed loan issued. The Department of Education contracts with collection agencies in order to collect on delinquent Direct Loans. An example of a Direct Loan would be a Stafford Loan.

EFA: Estimated Financial Assistance

The estimation of the amount of financial assistance or aid that a student is eligible to receive under a given enrollment period.

EFC: Expected Family Contribution

The amount that a family is expected to pay for a student’s education. This figure is calculated by the Central Processing System contained on the FAFSA.

EMC: Exceptional Mitigating Circumstances

A cohort default rate appeal option for postsecondary institutions that meet certain criteria such as having a low-income student body.

FAA: Financial Aid Administrator

FAFNAR: Financial Aid Form Need Analysis Report

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form used by the federal government, states, colleges, and other organizations that is used to award financial aid. This allows students to get access to grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and federal student loans.

FDCPA: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

A federal law that limits and regulates the behavior and actions of third party debt collectors attempting to collect debts on behalf of another person or entity. This restricts the means and time periods that collectors can contact debtors.

FFELP: Federal Family Education Loan Program

A federal program where lenders and agencies offer subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Plus loans for parents or graduate students, and Federal Consolidation loans.

FFS: Family Financial Statement

FFY: Federal Fiscal Year

The Federal Fiscal Year begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th and is the 12 month period in which financial assistance/aid funds are awarded.

FISAP: Fiscal Operations Report and Application

Allows one to participate in the Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant Program, and Federal Work Study programs.


An FSA ID is needed to view personal student loan information and history which recently became a replacement for the federal pin.

FWS: Federal Work Study

A campus-based Title IV employment program.

GSL: Guaranteed Student Loan program

Has changed to the Federal Stafford Loan Program.

HPSL: health professions student loan program

IBR: Income based repayment

A type of repayment play for the different major types of federal student loans. This caps the required monthly payment at a certain amount that is meant to be affordable given the individual’s income and family size.

LRAP: Loan repayment assistance program

NOG: notice of loan guarantee

The designation of a contractual obligation by a guarantor to assume the debt of a borrower if the borrower happens to default on that loan.

NSL: Federal Nursing Student Loans

A federal loan available to undergraduate and graduate nursing students with demonstrated financial need.

NSLC: National Student Loan Clearinghouse

The National Student Loan Clearinghouse offers services that allow students to order transcripts, track student loans, and verification of enrollments.

NSLDS: National Student Loan Data System

Database of information from guarantors, schools, lenders, and the US Department of Education.

OPE: Office of Postsecondary Education

An office of the US Department of Education including policy, planning, innovation, higher education programs, and student financial assistance programs .

OSLC: Online Student Loan Counseling

PSLF: Public Service Loan Forgiveness

This is a federal program designed to encourage students to enter careers within the government. This program allows students to qualify for tax-free loan forgiveness after making 10 years worth of payments while working for the government or a non-profit.

SAR: Student Aid Report

Produced by the Central Processing System and sent to the student showing the student’s calculated Expected Family Contribution.

SFA: Student Financial Aid

SLS: Federal Supplemental Loans For Students

Currently the unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan a Title IV loan program for graduate, professional, and independent undergraduate students.

SMA: Standard Maintenance Allowance

Figure that is deducted from Adjusted Gross Income in need analysis calculation in the Central Processing System.

UNEM: Unemployment Deferment Request

Allows an individual that meets certain conditions such as being unemployed, working less than 30 hours per week, or working at a job that is not expected to continue for more than 90 days to postpone student loan payments. Federal Direct Loans and FFEL Program Loans are eligible to be postponed for up to 36 months.

Unsubsidized/subsidized interest:

If family income falls below a particular threshold, then the interest accruing on one’s Stafford loan is paid by the US government while in school. This allows for the individual to graduate without any interest accrual. For an unsubsidized loan, interest begins to accrue immediately upon signing for the loan.

Want to become debt free faster? Money Compass allows you to easily find the best repayment plan to fit your goals. Click here to give it a try

Have a specific question regarding your loans? Send it to FreeAdvice@moneycompass.io

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