Student Loan Dictionary

If you have been researching international student loans, you are likely confused by the plethora of difficult terms on your international student loan. Have no fear; below please find enhanced definitions for a greater understanding of the useful vocabulary pertaining to your international student loan.

Accrued Interest
Interest on your loan that has been acknowledged but not yet paid or received. In the case of the borrower, accrued interest would not have been paid and in the case of the lender, accrued interest would not have been received.
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
AGI measures what portion of income can be taxed. Essentially, this is the total income less a number of nontaxable items, for example, medical expenses.
Amortization
While you might be thinking amortization has something to do with amor, unfortunately it is actually referring to a type of debt repayment. More specifically, amortization signifies paying back borrowed money in an organized fashion, via weekly, monthly or annual installments.
Amount Due
The final value owed by a certain deadline for a good or service. Particularly pertaining to taxes, the amount due is a larger sum than total tax payments made beforehand.
APR
The APR, or Annual Percentage Rate, is an interest rate calculated on a yearly basis. The APR differs according to the individual loan as well as the lender providing the loan.
Award Letter
The letter sent by a university verifying the eligibility of student for financial aid.
Borrower
The person that has successfully applied for and been granted a loan.
Capitalization
An accounting term, this refers to when the price to obtain an asset or item is included in the total value of that item. For example, if you are ordering a product online, you likely have to pay shipping costs. Thus, you are paying for the asset and the additional cost to acquire that item.
Certified loan
If your loan is certified, it means that the university where you are studying is required to confirm that the loan amount provided is correct. This serves to ensure that the amount withdrawn corresponds to need and is not in excess.
Consolidated loan
One loan results as a combination of several, separate loans. When consolidation occurs, the repayment period is often extended and the monthly payment is less.
Cosigner
If you are an international student studying in the United States, in order to withdraw a loan, you need either a United States citizen or permanent citizen to serve as cosigner. This person is equally responsible for the loan, and, thus, must repay the loans with you.
Cost of Attendance (COA)
The sum of the price for attending a university in a year. This estimated value includes tuition, room and board, as well as additional collegiate expenses.
Creditworthy
If you are creditworthy, it means that you have a positive credit rating and are a candidate for receiving credit or withdrawing loans.
Credit Report
A credit report provides a potential borrower’s credit history to a prospective lender. This report includes a variety of information, both personal and fiscal.
Credit Score
This is a grade given between 300 and 850 based on credit history and rating.
Default
Default occurs when the borrower breaks the agreement previously established with the lender. For example, default can result due to tardy or no payments.
Deferment
Deferment occurs due to postponing of loan payment or minimization of installation payments temporarily.
Delinquent
An individual or group that has refused to pay loans on time and in full. Consequences vary from a late fee to serious legal battles.
Disbursement
Disbursement concerns spending money, often in the form of payments. For students, this usually pertains to the lender issuing a loan to the borrower.
Disbursement Date
When the lender grants a loan to the borrower.
Due Date
The date when loan payment is due. This varies based on the individual agreement between the borrower and the lender.
Endorser
An endorser, like a cosigner, is a person who supports your loan withdrawal and is equally responsible under the law for repayment.
Enrollment Status
The amount of credits taken in a semester, which influences financial aid.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The estimated funding given by a student’s family annually. Financial aid is calculated accordingly.
E-signature
An online signature that signifies an agreement between two parties.
FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a document that students can complete and submit each year requesting financial support.
Forbearance
When the borrower is not able to defer loans, in some cases, the lender permits a cease or decrease of loan payment for up to 12 months time.
Grace Period
The amount of time in between missing the loan payment due date and the penalization date, during which a borrower is not yet punished.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
The average score of all classes completed.
Graduate student
A student who pursues an education in the form of graduate studies.
Gross Income
The total sum earned by a person before taxes and other deductions are taken into account.
Guarantor
A government agency that protects lenders in the case that the borrower defaults and is not able to repay the loan. Without a guarantor, it is difficult for borrowers with a poor credit rating to receive a loan.
Interest
A percentage value accrued annually based on the loan amount. It requires payment.
Interest Rate
An additional charge, which is aggregated to a loan. Directly related to the amount withdrawn, the interest rate increases based on the size of the loan.
Lender
The individual or group that approves and distributes the loan to the borrower. With the borrower, the lender determines the terms on your international student loan, especially regarding the logistics of repayment.
LIBOR
The London Interbank Offered Rate, or the loan rate paid between banks.
Loan
A loan refers to the lending of money to later be reimbursed, in addition to interest accrued.
Minimum Monthly Payment
The minimum amount that a borrower is required to pay on a monthly basis in order to maintain a positive credit rating.
Origination Fee
A fee required of the borrower at the beginning of the loan application process in order to finance the corresponding preparation by the lender.
Origination
The origin of applying for and eventually the issuance of a loan. This involves a series of interactions between a borrower and a lender, with the borrower providing both personal and financial data, and the lender using this information to determine the type of loan that is applicable.
Principal
The total amount that has been withdrawn, without interest, that the borrower still owes the lender.
Private Loans
A loan issued by a private lender. It is also known as an alternative loan.
Promissory Note
A written and signed agreement, indicating a promise between a lender and a borrower to repay a loan, including interest rates and other fees, by a predisposed due date.
Repayment
The process of paying back a loan to the lender. Normally this is done incrementally, for example, on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
Social Security Number (SSN)
A SSN is a unique number, specific to each United States citizen, as well as permanent residents, and is used to identify each person. It can also be used to view credit ratings.
Stafford Loan
A set loan value offered to higher education students in the United States.
Subsidized Stafford Loan
This loan is affirmed by the federal government and is distributed according to need. It does not accrue interest prior to graduation.
Transcript
An official document, provided by an accredited university, that indicates the coursework completed by a student and the corresponding grades for each course.
Tuition
The total cost for course instruction, as well as the credits and courses taken at a university.
Undergraduate student
A student pursuing undergraduate studies at a university.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
A loan that is affirmed and distributed by the federal government according to need. It does accrue interest prior to graduation.
Variable Interest
Interest that varies according to the state of the market and current cost of goods and services.

Now that you have an improved knowledge base concerning international student loan definitions, hopefully you can move forward feeling more at ease. While the process of obtaining student loans might seem daunting, comprehending international student loan terms is the first step to achieving a beautiful education.

Watch videos and learn more with our International Financial Aid Resources center

Find My Student Loan

Use this comparison tool to find the right international student loan, study abroad loan, or foreign-enrolled loan for you.