The system by which an institution structures its school year. Three common types are semester, quarter and trimester.
Recognition of a college or university by any of the regional or national accrediting bodies, indicating the institution has been judged to be meeting its objectives.
A unit of academic credit that often represents one hour of class time per week for a period of study.
The person at a college or university who is engaged in teaching, research, service or related administrative responsibilities.
Any program oering opportunity for superior students to enrich their educational experience through independent, advanced or accelerated study.
Academic studies on subjects in the humanities, social sciences and sciences with a focus on general knowledge.
Courses which prepare students for later specialized or technical training. For example, “pre-med” includes pre-professional courses in chemistry and biology which are prerequisite for later specialization in medicine.
The beginning course in a series of courses. It must be taken and passed before enrolling in the next class.
The administrative officer of a college or university who maintains the academic records.
Half of an academic year, usually 14-16 weeks.
Student Support Services (SSS)
Federally funded, these programs provide services to students from first-generation, limited-income families, as well as students with disabilities. Services may include tutoring, counseling and academic advising.
A professional staff member in the admissions or enrollment services officer who provides information about college admissions, financial aid and other college services for prospective applicants, parents, counselors and others.
Admissions standards/Entrance requirements
Academic requirements for acceptance to a college. Usually high school GPA, ACT or SAT test score, essay and/or recommendation letter.
If referring to admission, deferment permits an accepted student to postpone enrollment for a certain length of time.
A fee payable within a specified date of acceptance for admission verifying their intention to enroll. The fee may or may not be refundable.
Early action application
An application whereby you apply early, receive early notification, but you do not need to accept the admission offer prior to May 1.
Permits eligible low-income students to submit college applications or test registration forms without the fee. The waiver may be granted by a high school or college.
Letters of recommendation
References written by a teacher, coach, or other non-family person that a student submits during the admissions process.
An exam given to students to determine class placement in math, science, or other subjects to align their educational needs with the appropriate coursework.
Applicants can submit their applications to a university anytime in a large time window.
Financial Aid Terms
Bank of North Dakota Student Loan
Bank of North Dakota Student Loan is a state-sponsored student loan. You do not pay fees if you are a North Dakota resident or an out-of-state resident attending college in North Dakota. Fixed and variable interest rates are available.
Cost of Attendance (COA)
The total estimated amount, including tuition, fees, books, transportation and personal expenses, it will cost to go to college. It is usually expressed as a yearly figure and is used to calculate financial need.
If referring to financial aid, deferment is a postponement or delay of payment obligation on a student loan.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan enables parents with good credit to borrow money for their dependent student’s education. Parents begin repaying the loan 60 days after the school receives the entire amount.
Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan
Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan is based on the financial needs of you and your parents. The federal government pays interest until repayment begins, as well as during approved periods of deferment.
Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan
Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan is not based on your financial need. You are responsible for paying interest from the time you receive the loan until it is paid off.
Provides part time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay for educational expenses. Programs are set up by the school with many jobs located right on campus.
Additional charges for items not covered under regular tuition, such as labs, activities, technology or parking. Fees may be added based on the credits a student is taking or have one standard charge for all students.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The primary form used to apply for financial aid.
A type of financial aid that consists of free money given to the student by the federal or state government, a company, school or charity. The North Dakota State Grant is available to North Dakota residents attending a North Dakota college.
A type of financial aid that is borrowed from a lender (bank or government) and repaid over an amount of time with interest.
A type of financial aid, like a scholarship, that is awarded to students who have demonstrated special academic abilities or talents, regardless of financial need.
Net price calculator
An online tool that allows students and families to calculate a personalized estimate of the cost of a college or university.
Offer of Financial Aid/Financial Aid Offer
A combination of financial aid (possibly including a scholarship, grant, loan or work) determined by a college financial aid office.
Financial aid policy that allows students to file the FAFSA with tax data from two years previous to the start of their freshman year. Example: Students starting college in fall of 2023 will use tax information from 2021.
Private student loans
Private/alternative loans can be used to cover financial needs not met through federal student aid programs. It is strongly recommended that you exhaust all federal funding options first.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Used to define successful completion of coursework to maintain eligibility for financial aid. Federal regulations require colleges to establish, publish and apply standards to monitor a student’s progress toward completion of his or her degree program.
Scholarships are financial aid based on academic performance, athletic skills, merit plus need or other criteria. Like grants, scholarships do not need to be repaid.
Student Aid Index (Formerly Estimated Family Contribution (EFC))
An estimate of your family’s ability to contribute to educational expenses and to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid.
Student Aid Report (SAR)
The information a student will receive approximately two to four weeks after the FAFSA has been processed. It will report the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Cost to take classes at a college or university.
A process used to verify information submitted on the FAFSA. Those selected for verification may be asked to submit copies of tax transcripts, W-2 statements or other documentation.
American College Test (ACT) is a group of tests required or recommended by most colleges as part of the admission process. The tests measure educational development in English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. ACT scores range
Advanced Placement (AP)
A test given to high school students, usually at the end of their junior or senior year, after they have completed certain AP or Honors courses. Many colleges give advanced standing and/or credit for these tests if a student earns a score of three, four or five.
A degree granted by a college or university for a program designed to be completed in two years.
Bachelor’s Degree or Baccalaureate
A degree granted by a college or university designed to be completed in four years.
North Dakota has five community colleges: Bismarck State College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Lake Region State College, North Dakota College of Science and Williston State College. The North Dakota community colleges are associated with the North Dakota University System.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. A federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate data.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
An average of all the grades a student has received on a four-point scale.
The subject of study in which the student chooses to specialize; a series of related courses, taken primarily in the junior and senior years.
A subject a student chooses to have a secondary focus in during his or her undergraduate studies.
North Dakota University System (NDUS)
Includes 11 unique campuses: two world-class research institutions, four outstanding
regional universities and five vibrant community colleges.
Room and board
Cost to live in on-campus housing and meal plan for on-campus dining facilities.
Events planned by the college to help students adjust to college life.
These institutions are funded by student tuition and private donations rather than state and federal money. North Dakota has three private colleges: Trinity Bible College, University of Mary and University of Jamestown.
In public institutions, the classification of a student as a resident or nonresident of the state in which the school is located.
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a test of verbal and mathematical abilities given by the College Entrance Examination Board. The test is required or recommended by many colleges as part of their admission process.
The official record of high school or college courses and grades, generally required as part of the college application.
Federally recognized and tribally governed colleges offering two- and four-year degree programs.