Academic Year

The measure of the academic work to be accomplished by a student each year as defined by the school. For instance, at a school that uses terms, the academic year must contain at least 30 weeks of instructional time in which a full-time student is expected to complete at least 24 semester or trimester hours, 36 quarter hours, or 900 clock hours.


The process whereby interest accumulates on your loan. When we speak of "interest accruing on your loan," we mean that the interest due on your loan is accumulating.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

Amount of your total annual income plus or minus any adjustments recorded on your federal income tax return.

Amount of Interest That Will Capitalize

This value is an estimate of the amount of interest that will accrue and capitalize from your last interest accrual until the end date you have entered. This calculation is only an estimate based on your current account status.

Avoiding Interest Capitalization

If your account is in a situation where accrued interest is going to capitalize and you want to pay off the interest before it capitalizes, you can mail in a check for the anticipated capitalization amount or you can make a payment online. Be aware that any interest that accrues from the time your payment is applied to your account until the capitalization occurs will still capitalize. Be sure to mail your payment at least 10 days prior to your capitalization date to ensure that your payment is applied on time. Instructions and the address for mailing in your payment can be found in our Question Center. You can make an online payment simply by clicking the Make Online Payment link on the left navigation bar.


The person who is responsible for repaying a loan and has signed and agreed to the terms in the promissory note.

Calculator Results

The results that are displayed are for estimate purposes only. The actual capitalization that may occur on your loan may be different if any changes on your loan balance occur between now and the time the interest actually capitalizes. Changes can be due to variable interest rate changes, other capitalization adjustments, and balances changes due to disbursements, refunds or payments.

Capitalizing Interest

Adding unpaid accumulated interest to the loan principal. Capitalizing interest increases the principal amount of the loan and the total cost of the loan.


A person, other than the borrower, who signs the promissory note as a backup for repayment on the loan. A co-signer is pursued for collection on the loan if the borrower fails to fulfill his repayment obligations.


The process of combining a number of outstanding educational loans into a single larger, but more manageable, loan. The Direct Loan Program offers a Student Loan Consolidation Plan for those who are interested in consolidating all of their outstanding educational loans.

To gain information on Loan Consolidation, please visit the Consolidation website.


Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to when you signed a promissory note. Default occurs when a Direct Loan borrower becomes 270 days delinquent in making a payment on his or her loan(s). When a Direct Loan becomes 360 days delinquent, the loan is prepared for transfer to the Department's Debt Collection Service (DCS). The consequences of default are severe.


A deferment is a temporary suspension of your monthly loan payment. There are many different types of deferments available.

  • During deferment of Direct Subsidized Loans, principal payments are postponed and interest is not charged.
  • During deferment of Direct Unsubsidized Loans, principal payments are postponed, but interest is charged. Unpaid interest will be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of your loan(s) at the end of the deferment period. This will increase the amount you owe.

Students who wish to seek an in-school deferment status must inquire directly with their loan service provider. If you are unaware of which lender is currently handling your federal loan repayment, you should consult the complete list of all Federal Student Aid servicers for the Direct Loan program.


Your account has become past due on payment. This occurs when your payment is not received by the due date on your bill or coupon. An account remains delinquent until you bring the account current with a payment, deferment or forbearance. If your account has become delinquent and you are unable to make payments at this time, you may want to consider a deferment or a forbearance.

Dependent Student

Student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student. An independent student is at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, an orphan, a ward of the court or someone with legal dependents other than a spouse.

Direct Consolidation Loans

These loans combine one or more federal student loans into one new Direct Consolidation Loan. Only one monthly payment is made to the U.S. Department of Education. In certain circumstances, students who have loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) may consolidate them into Direct Loans.

Direct Loan Servicing Center

The U.S. Department of Education's agent contracted to collect Direct Loans and handle deferments, forbearances and repayment options.

Direct PLUS Loans

The Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students loans are available to parents of dependent students, regardless of financial need. Parents are responsible for interest that accrues during any period. These loans are referred to as Direct PLUS Loans.

Direct Subsidized Loan

Also referred to as Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loan. A loan from the U.S. Department of Education that is made on the basis of the student's financial need and other specific eligibility requirements. The federal government does not charge interest on these loans while borrowers are enrolled at least half-time, during a six-month grace period or during authorized periods of deferment.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Also referred to as Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loan. A federally financed student loan made to students meeting specific eligibility requirements. Interest is charged throughout the life of the loan. The borrower may choose to pay the interest charged on the loan or allow the interest to be capitalized (added to the loan principal) when the loan enters repayment.

Discharge (cancellation)

The release of borrowers from their obligations to repay all or part of their Direct Loans. A borrower may be eligible for a discharge if the borrower dies, becomes totally and permanently disabled, or did not receive a refund that was owed to him or her. The borrower might also be eligible for a discharge if the borrower is unable to complete his or her program of study because the school closed while the borrower is still attending or the borrower's school falsely certified the borrower's eligibility to receive a loan. In certain cases, the borrower's loan may be discharged in bankruptcy.

Disclosure Statement

A statement showing your loan term, payment schedule and monthly payment amount for your loans.


Electronic Debit Account (EDA)

If you repay your loans through the EDA repayment option, you will receive a quarter-point (0.25 percent) discount on your interest while in repayment.

Direct Consolidation Loan Discount

If you have a Direct Consolidation Loan, made between Oct. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2001, you will receive a 0.8 percent discount on your interest rate. To keep the lower interest rate, you must make all of your first 12 required monthly payments on time when you begin repaying your loan.

For details regarding new Special Direct Consolidation Eligibility, please visit the Department of Education's student loans website.

Due Date

The date during the month when payment of your current due amount must be received. If you have any past due amounts or fees/charges outstanding, these are due immediately.

Monthly payments must be received by the payment due date. Therefore, if you do not have your payments debited electronically from a bank account, you may want to mail your payments well in advance to ensure they arrive and are applied to your account(s) by the due date.

Extended Repayment Plan

Under this plan you will pay a fixed amount of at least $50 each month for 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount you owe. Selection of this plan will result in a lower monthly payment; however, total interest paid will be higher than the total interest paid with the Standard Repayment Plan.

Fees and Charges

Additional amounts/penalties that may be due on your Direct Loan account(s) if you send in late payment(s) or fail to have adequate funds in the bank to cover payments made by check or Electronic Debit.

Financial Need

Your financial need is determined by subtracting the expected family contribution (EFC) from the cost of attendance (COA). If the COA, also known as the "budget," minus the EFC is more than 0, then a student has financial need and represents the student's maximum financial aid eligibility. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).

It is important to distinguish the costs that are actually owed for Brooklyn College undergraduate and graduate tuition and fees from those that are for personal expenses. The financial need estimate figures in each of the living expense categories for CUNY reflect the amount that students could budget for the academic year based on enrollment.

In fact, most of our student's tuition and fees are fully or partially covered by financial aid grants. Typically, financial need is primarily used when determining a student's federal and third-party loan eligibility.

FFEL Loans (Federal Family Education Loans)

Direct and FFEL Stafford Loans are the department's major form of self-help aid. The terms and conditions of a Direct Stafford or an FFEL Stafford are similar. The major differences between the two are the source of the loan funds, some aspects of the application process and the available repayment plans. Under the Direct Loan Program, the funds for your loan are lent to you directly by the U.S. government. Under the FFEL Program, the funds for your loan are lent to you from a bank, credit union or other lender that participates in the FFEL Program.


A form that can be obtained and used to temporarily suspend or reduce your monthly loan payments. You may qualify for a forbearance if you are willing but unable to make loan payments due to certain types of financial hardships.

For additional information regarding a complete list of forbearances and their eligibility criteria, students must inquire directly with their loan service provider. If you are unaware of which lender is currently handling your federal loan repayment, you should consult the complete list of all Federal Student Aid servicers for the Direct Loan program.

Grace Period

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have six months before you must begin repaying your loans. This six-month period is called the "grace period."

  • If you have Direct Subsidized Loans, you will not be charged interest during your grace period.
  • If you have Direct Unsubsidized Loans, you will be responsible for the interest that accrues during the grace period. You may either pay this interest as it accrues or have it capitalized (added to the principal balance of your loan) when you start repaying your loan.

Your payment period begins the day after your grace period ends. Your first payment will be due within 45 days after your repayment period begins.

Graduated Repayment Plan

With the Graduated Repayment Plan, your payments start out low, then increase every two years. The repayment period for your loan will be 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount you owe. Generally, the amount you will repay over the term of your loan will be higher under the Graduated Repayment Plan than under the Standard and Extended Repayment Plans. However, if your income is low when you leave school but is likely to steadily increase, this might be the best plan for you.

Interest Rate

The current rate at which interest is calculated on your loan(s). Please note that this field does not reflect any incentives that may be applicable to your loan(s), such as the 0.25 percent reduction given if you are repaying your loan(s) using the EDA (Electronic Debit Account) repayment option.

IRS Form 1098-E

The IRS Form 1098-E, Student Loan Interest Statement, is used to report to you the amount of interest you have paid on your Direct Loan(s) during a single calendar year. This amount may be tax deductible. This is not an Annual Statement of your Direct Loan account.


Money borrowed that must be repaid.

Loan Fee

A fee payable by the borrower that is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.

Loan Forgiveness — Teachers

If you go into the teaching profession and teach in a designated low-income area for at least five consecutive years (these areas are listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits) and meet other eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to have up to $5,000 of your combined Direct Loan and FFEL debt canceled.

Loan Principal

The total sum of money borrowed.

Loan Type (Account Type)

Direct Loan accounts have an associated loan type:

  • Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized (Sub/Unsub) Loan: consists of loans made directly to a student.
  • Direct PLUS Loan: consists of loans made directly to a parent or guardian of a dependent undergraduate student.
  • Direct Consolidation Loan: consists of one or more federal education loans combined into a single loan.

Monthly Payment

The monthly dollar amount due.


The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is a centralized database that stores information on all of your student loans both Direct and non-Direct. All of your school enrollment information is stored here as well. With your Department of Education PIN, you can access this information online.

Past Due

The amount that you were scheduled to pay in previous month(s) but did not. The past due amount is also called the delinquent amount. Your account is considered "delinquent" if you have missed any monthly payments. Past due amounts are due immediately.

Payment Due Date

The date during the month when payment of your current due amount must be received. If you have any past due amounts or fees/charges outstanding, these are due immediately.

Monthly payments must be received by the payment due date. Therefore, if you do not have your payments debited electronically from a bank account, you may want to mail your payments well in advance to ensure they arrive and are applied to your account(s) by the due date.

Payment Type (Payment Method)

The method used to make payments on Direct Loan accounts:

  • Mail — receipt of check or money order
  • EDA — Electronic Debiting of a bank account
  • Online Payment — submission of payment from the Direct Loan website
  • Consolidation Payoff — receipt of consolidation payoff
  • Express Refinance Payoff — receipt of express consolidation payoff
  • Correction — adjustments made by Servicing Center

Perkins Loans (formerly known as National Defense Student Loan, National Direct Student Loan)

Federal Perkins Loans are low-interest (5 percent) loans for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Your school is your lender. The loans are made with government funds with a share contributed by the school. You must repay these loans to your school.


To pay an amount in excess of the amount due on your loan.

Principal Balance

The current loan balance for your loan(s). This balance includes the original amount(s) disbursed to you, plus or minus any adjustments made to your loan(s), minus any payments applied to the principal of your loan(s), plus any interest that has capitalized on your loan(s).

Promissory Note

The binding legal document you sign when you get a student loan. It lists the conditions under which you are borrowing and the terms under which you agree to pay back the loan. It will include information about your interest rate and about deferment and cancellation provisions.


Reaffirmation is an agreement that is made by a borrower who acknowledges their responsibility to repay their loans. A borrower who does this is considered to reaffirm their responsibility to repay.


The amount of the up-front interest rebate given to Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan and Direct Plus Loan borrowers beginning with loans made for the 2000–01 program year. The rebate amount is equal to 1.5 percent of the loan amount borrowed. You must make all of your first 12 required monthly payments on time. If you do not, the rebate amount will be added back to the principal balance on your loan.

Repayment Incentive

A benefit that the U.S. Department of Education offers borrowers to encourage them to repay their loans on time. Under a repayment incentive program, the interest rate charged on borrowers' loans might be reduced. Some repayment incentives programs require borrowers to make a certain number of payments on time to keep the benefits of the repayment incentive.

Repayment Plan

The Direct Loan Program offers a range of repayment plans:

  • Standard Repayment plan — fixed payment for up to 10 years to repay.
  • Extended Repayment plan — fixed payment for 12 to 30 years to repay, depending on loan balance.
  • Graduated Repayment plan — smaller payments at first and larger payments later for up to 30 years to repay, depending on loan balance.
  • Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan — payment amount is based on your loan balance and your income (and your spouse's income if you are married) and can vary year to year for up to 25 years. The Income Contingent Repayment plan is not available to PLUS loan borrowers.

Changing repayment plans is a good way to manage your loan debt when your financial circumstances change. For example, you can usually lower your monthly payment by changing to another repayment plan with a longer term to repay the loan. There are no penalties for changing repayment plans.

Separation Date

The actual or anticipated date when the borrower will graduate, leave school, or drop to a less than half-time status. The separation date is used to determine the borrower's grace period and the date that the first loan payment will be due. You have only one separation date on a loan. If you separate from school and begin repayment on your loan, then return to school, you will not receive another separation date.

Standard Repayment Plan

Under this plan you will pay a fixed amount of at least $50 each month for up to 10 years. For most borrowers, this plan results in the lowest total interest paid because the repayment period is shorter than it would be under the other plans.


Interest that accrues on a borrower's loan while the borrower is in school, grace or authorized periods of deferment that is paid by the government.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program was instituted by the U.S. Department of Education to allow borrowers of Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) loans to have up to $5,000 discharged from their student loans. Direct Loan borrowers who are teachers with new loans after Oct. 1, 1998, and who are teaching in selected low-income schools for five consecutive complete academic years may be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Discharge.

Total Due

Total due = current due amount + past due amount + late charges/fees.


The borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest that accrues on the loan. Interest on an Unsubsidized Loan accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.

Variable Interest

The rate of loan interest that is tied to and fluctuates with a stated index.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

Also referred to as the Direct Loan Program, a federal program that provides loans to student and parent borrowers directly through the U.S. Department of Education. The loans are Federal Direct Stafford/Ford (Direct Subsidized) Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford (Direct Unsubsidized) Loans, Federal Direct PLUS (Direct PLUS) Loans, and Federal Direct Consolidation (Direct Consolidation) Loans.