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Glossary of Terms

Do you know your FAFSA from your CSS PROFILE? Your Perkins Loan from your Pell Grant? You're going to run into some financial aid terms over and over again, so this glossary will help you keep all the names, initials, and acronyms straight.

College of the Holy Cross Loan

An institutional student loan program offering a fixed interest rate to students who demonstrate financial need.  The loan is awarded by the Office of Financial Aid based on demonstrated financial need, and the program is administered by the College with a limited amount of funds available each year.  The College of the Holy Cross Loan was created in response to the expiration of the Federal Perkins Loan Program.

CSS Profile

A College Scholarship Service (CSS) application that allows you to be considered for need-based Holy Cross-funded financial aid. Visit the CSS Profile website to create a College Board account and complete your CSS Profile application. Incoming freshmen applicants should submit a CSS Profile application before January 15; upper-class students should submit by November 1.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that collects your family's financial information to determine your eligibility for Federal aid programs. If you're applying for financial aid from Holy Cross, you must submit a FAFSA. To complete the application, see FAFSA's website. Incoming freshman applicants should submit a FAFSA before January 15; upper-class students should submit an updated FAFSA by November 1.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, which allow parents with good credit to borrow each year up to the cost of education minus financial aid.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan

A federally-funded student loan program, with an interest subsidy for qualifying students. To learn more about Federal Direct Stafford Loans, visit the Federal Student Aid website. 

Federal Pell Grant

The largest federal aid program, in which students receive awards directly from the federal government. You must submit a FAFSA to be considered for a Federal Pell Grant.

Federal Perkins Loan

A low-interest federal loan. Holy Cross awards Perkins Loans from a limited fund based on students' financial needs. To learn more about managing a Perkins Loan, see the Perkins Loan section on the Bursar's website.  The federal government has allowed the Federal Perkins Loan Program to expire in 2017.  Therefore, no colleges may offer new Perkins Loans in the 2018-2019 academic year or beyond

Federal SEOG

The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, a limited, federally-provided fund which Holy Cross allocates to its most needy students. Students eligible for Pell Grants will receive first consideration.


Through the Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC), the College Board collects families' federal tax returns and other documents on behalf of the College of the Holy Cross.  The Financial Aid office can then review students' documents electronically, eliminating paper in the office, and securing families' personal data.


See CSS Profile.

ROTC Incentive Grants

Grants covering standard room charges for four-year Holy Cross students participating in the Navy, Army, or Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps programs. For more on this, see "ROTC scholarships and stipends" on the Scholarships and Grants page.

Title IV

A category of federal educational aid that includes Federal Stafford Loans, Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study.


Federal Work-Study is considered need-based financial aid. Recipients work in assigned jobs, usually on campus, for hourly wages and receive pay directly. Work-Study wages are not automatically deducted from tuition.