GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Your or your family's wages, salaries, interest, dividends, etc., minus certain deductions from income as reported on a federal income tax return.
A tool that allows the federal government or your guaranty agency to have your employer withhold a portion of your earnings to collect unpaid non-tax debts that you owe to the federal government. If you have a federal student loan in default, up to 15% of your disposable pay could be taken by the federal government or your guaranty agency to repay your debt.
The release of the borrower's obligation to repay all or a designated portion of principal and interest on a student loan. Also called discharge or forgiveness of a loan.
Expenses charged on defaulted federal student loans that are added to the outstanding principal balance of the loan. These expenses can be up to 18.5 percent of the principal and interest for defaulted Direct Loans or FFEL Program loans and may exceed 18.5 percent for defaulted Federal Perkins Loans and Health and Human Service (HHS) loans.
The process of combining one or more loans into a single new loan.
Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to in the promissory note. For most federal student loans, you will default if you have not made a payment in more than 270 days. You may experience serious legal consequences if you default.
A postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. All other federal student loans that are deferred will continue to accrue interest. Any unpaid interest that accrued during the deferment period may be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of the loan(s).
A loan is delinquent when loan payments are not received by the due dates. A loan remains delinquent until the borrower makes up the missed payment(s) through payment, deferment, or forbearance. If the borrower is unable to make payments, he or she should contact his or her loan servicer to discuss options to keep the loan in good standing.
A federal loan made by the U.S. Department of Education that allows you to combine one or more federal student loans into one new loan. As a result of consolidation, you will only have to make one monthly payment on your federal loans and the amount of time you have to repay your loan will be extended.
A federal student loan, made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, for which eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools. Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans are types of Direct Loans.
A loan made by the U.S. Department of Education to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.
Your income minus the poverty guidelines for your family size.
Your electronic personal identification number that serves as your identifier to allow access to personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems and acts as your digital signature on some online forms.
Under this program, private lenders provided loans to students that were guaranteed by the federal government. These loans included Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, FFEL PLUS Loans, and FFEL Consolidation Loans. Federal student loans under the FFEL Program are no longer made by private lenders. Instead, all new federal student loans come directly from the U.S. Department of Education under the Direct Loan Program.
A federal grant for undergraduate students with financial need.
A federal student loan, made by the recipient's school, for undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need.
A loan funded by the federal government to help pay for your education. A federal student loan is borrowed money you must repay with interest.
Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) Program loans that were made prior to 1992.
A period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced. Your lender may grant you a forbearance if you are willing but unable to make loan payments due to certain types of financial hardships. During forbearance, principal payments are postponed but interest continues to accrue. Unpaid interest that accrues during the forbearance will be added to the principal balance (capitalized) of your loan(s), increasing the total amount you owe.
The organization that made the loan initially; the lender could be the borrower's school; a bank, credit union, or other lending institution; or the U.S. Department of Education.
The cancellation of all or some portion of your remaining federal student loan balance. If your loan is forgiven, you are no longer responsible for repaying that remaining portion of the loan.
The process of bringing a loan out of default and removing the default notation from a borrower's credit report. To rehabilitate a Direct or a FFEL Loan, the borrower must make at least 9 full payments of an agreed amount within 20 days of their monthly due dates over a 10-month period. To rehabilitate a Perkins Loan, a borrower must make nine on-time, consecutive monthly payments of an agreed-upon amount. Rehabilitation terms and conditions vary for other loan types and can be obtained directly from loan holders.
A company that collects payments on a loan, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a loan on behalf of a lender.
An eligibility requirement for the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay As You Earn plans.
For IBR, a circumstance in which the annual amount due on your eligible loans, as calculated under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, exceeds 15 percent of the difference between your adjusted gross income (AGI) and 150 percent of the poverty line for your family size in the state where you live.
For Pay As You Earn, a circumstance in which the annual amount due on your eligible loans, as calculated under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, exceeds 10 percent of the difference between your adjusted gross income (AGI) and 150 percent of the poverty line for your family size in the state where you live.
For both plans, the amount that would be due under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan is calculated based on the greater of the amount owed on your eligible loans when you originally entered repayment, or the amount owed at the time you selected the IBR or Pay As You Earn plan.
A loan available to graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.
A nonfederal loan made by a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency, or school.
The binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. It’s important to read and save this document because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.
AA loan based on financial need for which the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status. For Direct Subsidized Loans first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, the borrower will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during the grace period. If the interest is not paid during the grace period, the interest will be added to the loan’s principal balance.
A loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.
The federal program that provides loans to eligible student and parent borrowers under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Funds are provided by the federal government to eligible borrowers through participating schools.
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